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Volume 1 Number 3

January 2018

SPECIAL DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. EDITION WHAT WOULD KING DO?...3 DRUM MAJORS OF THE COAST...4 MLK50: WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?...9


MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR Volume 1 Number 3

January 2018

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris

GENERAL MANAGER Lawrence A. James MANAGING EDITOR Gordon Jackson

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

CONTRIBUTING WRITER Gordon Jackson ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jody Gilbert Kolor Graphix

PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Melovy Melvin

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Gordon Jackson

The Spirit of MLK Still Lives Because it Lives Within Us “Happy New Year!” seems to have taken on a whole new meaning as we transition from 2017 to 2018. 2017 became a year of shocking revelations in the name of social consciousness and racial disharmony messages that shook our values and principles to the core. The 45th President of the United States clearly sent signals to the public and country that distinctly showed about his lack of concern for people of color and other minorities. So, what better way to start off 2018 by reflecting on the works and qualities of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? His bold and unapologetic mission for America to attain total nonviolence and a peaceful multicultural society is what made him the world’s most iconic civil rights hero and – not to mention – what led to his death. That should inspire us to ask this critical question: WWKD -- What Would King Do?

If Dr. King were alive today:

How would he have responded to the summer protest in Charlottesville, Virginia that featured young white supremacists, Neo Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan marching, then sparking violence that led to the death of a young woman? How would he have responded to the President’s remarks that essentially validated racism? Would King have attempted to meet with “45?”

Would King have “taken a knee,” to express his disdain about the racial injustice effecting young black men at the hands of members of the police? How would he have engaged with Quarterback Colin Kaepernick?

Would King have taken part in the Women’s March sparked by the results of the 2016 Presidential Elections? Would he have campaigned in the pivotal Senate race between Doug Jones and Roy Moore? What would he say about the international crisis with North Korea and Russia?

Even almost 50 years after his assassination, it’s imperative for us to realize that practicing Dr. King’s qualities and principles in our own personal everyday lives is just as important than it was when he was alive fighting our civil rights battles. While we don’t have Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in person with us today, we still have him in spirit. Please remember that as we participate in MLK activities in January – as well as Black History Month activities in February – it’s our actions collectively that can turn around the climate we’re witnessing today and truly make American Great Again – again.

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 2018 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 Gulf Goast 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.

Gordon M. Jackson Jr. Editor Gulf Coast Urban Spectrum

Gulf Coast Urban Spectrum — www.gulfcoasturbanspectrum.com – January 2018

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Drum Majors of the Coast

Those who exhibited Dr. King’s qualities on the local front By Gordon Jackson

Photos courtesy of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History

W

hen a national movement cap-

tures headlines, many times, it’s actually made up in the sum of parts of local movements strung together.

Such can be clearly the case of the

Civil Rights Movement that spawned a young Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

into national and international promi-

nence. At the same time of Dr. King’s meteoric rise, many courageous citizens in Biloxi, Gulfport and the entire South Mississippi community contributed to this historic cause through their own hometown endeavors, such as the famous Wade-In protests, dangerously conducted in their quest to desegregate the Mississippi Gulf Coast 26-mile beach line. That made for a parallel historic account and how 1968 proved to be a bittersweet year for South Mississippi’s black community. South Mississippians scored a historic civil rights victory on Aug. 15, 1968 when the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a previous ruling to successfully open and desegregate the Coast beaches, in result from their Wade-In protests that began in 1959. Yet, even as Biloxi and Gulfport residents celebrated and relished the most significant historic ruling locally, they however, most likely, had in the back of their minds the devastating feeling from what took place over four months earlier, when national civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated at a Memphis, Tennessee hotel. That goes especially for those who worked on both fronts. In observance of the 2018 King Holiday Celebration, the CoastWide MLK Committee would like to reflect on and give thanks to the Coastal heroes, as they also pursued as much of a productive and happy life as possible. This article represents only a small percentage of those civil rights warriors. Here are their stories.

Gilbert Mason and wife Natalie in 1950.

Dr. Gilbert Mason Sr. is escorted by Biloxi police during one of the famous Wade-In protests.

one year old at the time. While his father finished medical school, his mother earned a Master’s degree in Social Work. “They were bound to return to Mississippi as he was obligated to a period of pay back to the state the scholarship assistance he received for his financing his education. Biloxi was considered over his hometown of Jackson, as it was promoted as a “growth area” for young professionals to move to, grow a family and a start a new business.”

DR. GILBERT R. MASON SR.

Today, he’s known as Biloxi’s most iconic civil rights hero. But it was 1955 when Dr. Gilbert R. Mason Sr. first stepped into the city as a young new doctor with a young family, simply looking for a location to open his practice. “Both of my parents were products of post-graduate training at Howard University’s professional schools in Washington, D.C.,” said Gilbert R. Mason Jr., who was only

Dr. Gilbert Mason’s office on Division Street in Biloxi is now a Historical Preservation site, thanks to the efforts of his son, Dr. Gilbert Mason Jr. Gulf Coast Urban Spectrum — www.gulfcoasturbanspectrum.com – January 2018

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A further opportunity came to Mason with a phone call from Dr. Velma Wesley, Biloxi’s first black female physician. She was leaving her practice to join her husband, who was entering medical school in Detroit. Mason ended up purchasing her equipment and taking residence at her former office. Through the years, Dr. Mason’s name grew through his work toward getting the Gulf Coast beach lines desegregated, along with founding the Biloxi NAACP and serving as its first president for 34 years. But he also was held in high regard by both blacks and whites as an excellent family physician in treating much of the black population. He proved to be skilled in several facets of medicine, winning the respect of white doctors such as Dr. Frank Gruich Sr. and Dr. Jerry Atkins, who often assisted him in surgery. Before Mason, black doctors were barred from attaining residency in Biloxi hospitals except for emergencies, a barrier he would break for all future black physicians. It wouldn’t be until 1966 when he could participate fully as a member of the hospital’s medical staff because of the traditions of segregation. The next year, he conferred full staff privileges and would later become a member of the State Board of Health, the State Board of


Medical Examiners (licensing board), and was selected chairman of the family practice section at Biloxi Regional Hospital. Dr. Mason’s practice was often threatened to be sabotaged because of his civil rights activities. Yet, he persisted and practiced family medicine until his retirement in 2002. “He earned the respect for the dignity of black patients and white patients alike and for equal status of black physicians in previously all white hospitals and the medical community at large,” said Dr. Mason Jr.

DR. FELIX DUNN

Felix Dunn poses with his family during the 1960s.

Recognized for his local, state and national activism, Dr. Felix Dunn was known for collaborating with Dr. Mason during the Wade-In protests, as well as with the martyred Medgar W. Evers, to combat injustices in the Gulf Coast sector, statewide and region-wide. He not only knew and marched with Dr. King, he treated many of the injured protesters during the Selma to Montgomery marches. But out of a modest home and medical office on 38th Avenue, just west of 19th Street in Gulfport, Dunn practiced his medicine as the city’s most respected black physician from 1953 to 2002. He gave birth to over 3,000 babies during his tenure and treated thousands more in his general practice. Among his birth deliveries was current Biloxi city councilman Felix Gines, becoming Dr. Dunn’s namesake. When Dr. King was assassinated, according to daughter, Judge Felecia Dunn-Burkes, Dr. Dunn was “Angry and felt a lot of sadness, but he did not despair. He resolved not to let the fight come to an end.” Also serving as a Gulfport NAACP President, along with helping establish public housing and HeadStart centers, organizing voter registration drives

during the King years. Jackie Elly can attest to that, looking back at his early life, along with that of and his father, Andrew T. Elly. Jackie remembers his father as a highly visible and influential community organizer, mainly in the line of voter registration campaigns. “He used to make certain that people had rides to get to go to the polls,” said Jackie Elly. “Politicians thought enough about him to always seek his endorsement for elections. He was committed to the cause. That’s how people got to know him.” Elly would have most of his community meetings at the Knights of Peter Claver Building in Pascagoula and worked closely with the Jackson County NAACP when it was headed by President State Stallworth. He worked at the city’s paper mill during the graveyard shift but toiled during the day with his own plumbing and cement finishing business. While the senior Elly never met Dr. King, the junior Elly did. It was while he was a student at Savannah State University. After King’s speech, Jackie

and other civil right activities, Dunn’s name become such a lightning rod that his clinic was once firebombed, much like Dr. King’s Montgomery, Alabama home during the Bus Boycott in 1956. Like Mason in Biloxi, Dunn broke barriers in Gulfport, becoming the first African American to serve on the Harrison County Development Commission, among many other achievements. A historical marker now stands between Dunn’s home and medical office on 38th Avenue. If still living today, Judge Dunn-Burkes said: “He would be very, very discouraged of

our current climate. Instead of coming together, we seem to be more divided. He would still resolve to make America a more perfect union.”

ANDREW “JACKIE” ELLY/ ANDREW T. ELLY

Andrew “Jackie” Elly met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. while a student at Savannah State. His late father was an entrepreneur in Jackson County from the 1940s to the ‘70s.

Moss Point and Pascagoula in Jackson County were definitely not exempt from the civil rights battles

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was able to shake his hand and introduce him. Even with that brief moment, he was sold. “I thought the world of him,” said Elly, named “Jackie” after baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson. “I thought he was someone who truly was trying to make the world a better place. He was awe-inspiring, yet he was down to earth; he did not act like he was better than others.” The younger Elly worked for 30 years at the Chevron Pascagoula Refinery and became the first African American to be employed in the plant’s Maintenance Department. If Dr. King was alive today, Elly said: “He would be very vocal about the policies of today. In terms of the Trump administration, he would be very upset at the fact that the country has not necessarily progressed any more than it has. “Additionally, I’m sure Dr. King would be doing something about changing the state flag in Mississippi, because he was not standing for just black people, he stood for everybody.” Continued on page 6


Drum Majors of the Coast Continued from page 5

tracks gave an early educational start for many before attending Perkins Elementary and Nichols High School when schools were still segregated. Mrs. Alfretta Mays was another Biloxian who had her own Kindergarten school, located on Baptist Alley. Mrs. Natalie Mason, Dr. Mason’s wife was her husband’s bookkeeper, handled communications for the Biloxi NAACP, active in the PTA at Perkins Elementary and a Sunday school teacher at First Missionary Baptist Church. “In 1967 she was hired at the Gulfport V.A. as a psychiatric social worker,” said Dr. Mason Jr. “At the time she had the most extensive training as a Master’s level professional at that facility and was later named to the adjunct faculty at USMHattiesburg mentoring several individuals who have gone on to distinction in the profession such as Mrs.

Photos courtesy of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History

ROSELL AND ABBIE HORNE

For close to half a century, from the 1940s to the ‘80s, Rosell and Abbie Horne co-operated the Streamline Beauty and Barber Shop, located in the Main Street business district in East Biloxi. “It was a place where the community would come and discuss the events of the day,” said daughter Kay Horne. “The shops were a place of gathering and sharing stories of the struggle during that era, a place to be motivated to keep the faith that better days were coming.” Streamline was also was a crucial strategic point during when tensions rose during the Wade-In protests. “It was where men would hide their weapons under the carport in case of trouble during the march down Main Street to the beach,” Kay Horne said. “Plus, civic leaders would seek support from my parents to speak with their customers regarding unity in the community during those trying times.” The Hornes also owned three nearby boarding houses that were occupied by men who came to the area to work on the highways, since they barred from the hotels on the beach because of their race. “Their white supervisors would bring them to the barber shop and pay for their stay during their work time,” said Horne. Rosell Horne further exercised the spirit of Dr. King in another endeavor: as owner of the Biloxi Dodgers Negro Baseball team. For around that same 50-year period, thousands of Biloxians rooted for the team as they played mostly weekend doubleheaders at the former Lee Street Diamond. Although they were technically a Negro League team, Horne and his manager, William Windham, allowed whites to play on several occasions. They included Dick “Lefty” O’Neal, who tells his story in his book, “Dreaming of the Majors – Living in the Bush,” and Cliff Kirkland, now a high-ranking official for the City of Biloxi. Kay Horne still has possession of a particular bench that rested at the Streamline Barber Shop, where customers sat and discussed all of the relevant and controversial topics, along with watching both the Dr. Martin Luther King and Wade-In marches on a black-and-white TV. “If that bench could talk! The stories that were shared would make for a best seller!”

Rosell Horne and friends

The Biloxi Dodgers of the Negro Leagues in the 1960s. Its owner, Rosell Horne, allowed some whites to play on the team, unprecedented in those days.

managed by the city’s first black female pharmacist. The late Mrs. Alma Pettus taught piano to several African-American children. Among her students was Clemon Jimerson Sr., who became one of the Wade-In protesters. A Standard service station in the ‘60’s stood at the corner of Division and Nixon and also the location of Biloxi’s first black taxi business. Mrs. Rubye Green’s Kindergarten on Bellman Street, north of the railroad

OTHERS

Dr. Gilbert R. Mason Jr. chronicled a list of other names and establishments that lived, worked and strived in the spirit of King. Biloxi had its own “Chitlin’ Circuit,” that included several other barber and beauty shops, restaurants like the Kitty Kat Café, clubs and lounges and black-owned hotels and rooming houses. Dr. Gilbert Mason Sr. and wife Natalie owned and ran Modern Drug Store, a pharmacy and sundries store,

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Virginia Adolph, First Lady of First Missionary Baptist Church Of Handsboro. P. Irving Green and John Pettus owned the only Laundromat in East Biloxi, on Main Street, as well as the Gas Station on Nixon and Division. . Editor’s note: Special thanks to: Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Jr., Gwendolyn Beck, Pamela Green, Ms. Laura Blokker, Tulane University and MDAH in conjunction with the City Office of Historical Administration.


Go For Congress, Young Man!

Jackson County’s Jeramey Anderson Making a Bid for Congressional Seat By Gordon Jackson

S

tate Representative Jeramey Anderson isn’t through trying to make history. One of the youngest elected officials in the country has decided to take a chase at a bigger prize that – if successful – could change the complexion of one quarter of the state. Anderson announced that he is running for the state’s 4th Congressional District. He kicked off his campaign on Nov. 11 at the Almanett Bistro Restaurant in Gulfport. While running as a Democrat, he said he’s focusing on trying to bring the entire district together. “In today’s society bipartisanship isn’t an option anymore - it is a requirement if we are to effectively confront the real crises facing not only our state but the nation as well,” Anderson said. “We’re leading the effort in our State to break through partisan gridlock to reestablish political cooperation and I would like to take that to Washington.” Anderson will attempt to unseat Republican incumbent Steve Palazzo. Anderson, 26, announced three goals, all directed toward the region’s youth community: Making a difference in the lives of kids”, “Empowering young males to reach their highest potential” and “Inspiring young people to believe in education in order to succeed in life”. He’s hoping to make a dent into what Census statistics confirm is the nation’s largest drop of millennials in Mississippi since 2010. When the Moss Point, MS native was elected as state representative to the 110th district (covering Moss Point and Pascagoula) in November 2013, at the age of 21, Anderson became the youngest African American ever elected to Legislature in United States history, as well as the youngest elected to the Mississippi Legislature. Anderson received his associate degree in criminal justice from Pearl River Community College and his bachelor’s degree in homeland security from Tulane University. At the age of 16, he founded the non-profit organization Foundation for a Brighter

Jeramey Anderson

America, dedicated to serving as a mentoring organization to young boys ages 11to18. He now serves as the program’s executive director. Earlier this year, Rep. Anderson was named as one of they the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent. “Through my travels abroad, I formed relationships with young politicians from Kenya, Nigeria, and many other places who showed me that anyone can excel if they’re passion aligns with their actions,” said

Anderson. “MIPAD brings together high-achieving people from all over who share this common pursuit of passion, and I’m proud to be honored with them at this year’s program.” The 4th Congressional District covers 13 counties and part of a 14th in the state, stretching from the three coastal counties of Hancock, Harrison and Jackson and extending toward the central and southeastern part , the most northern being parts of Clarke County. The region is 75.3 percent White, 22.6 percent Black, 1.5 percent

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Asian, 1.8 percent Hispanic, with Native Americans and others making up the rest. Currently, Anderson is the only Democrat on the ballot. Palazzo will be opposed by E. Brian Rose on the Republican ticket with William Turner running as an independent. The deadline to file as a candidate is March 1. The midterm primaries in Mississippi will be held June 5, with runoffs, if necessary on June 26. The general election will likely be held on Nov. 6. .


Gulfport Man Answers His Question of Faith

By Gordon Jackson

H

Question of Faith Cameron Lewis

ollywood hit South Mississippi for a brief but significant moment this past fall, thanks to a Gulfport native’s instrumental contribution toward the making of the latest of emerging faithbased films in the movie industry. Dr. Cameron Lewis was not in front of the camera when the film A Question of Faith was released in 660 theatres across the country. More importantly he served a critical role behind the scenes as one of the executive producers responsible for bringing the movie to fruition. A Question of Faith, following the strong trend of quality Faith and Family films over the past few years, starred renowned actors Richard T. Jones, Kim Fields, T.C. Stallings, C. Thomas Howell, Jaci Velasquez, Gregalan Williams and Renee O’Connor. The craftily written production centered on three families, one black, one white, one Latino and how tragedy in one of those families

impacted the others and challenged their respective faiths. In his everyday life, Dr. Lewis is an oral and maxillofacial surgeon in New York City. His life trail started at Gulfport, where he graduated from Harrison Central High School, before becoming a biology and pre-med student at Xavier University in New Orleans, then graduating from the Howard University College of Dentistry in Washington D.C. and landing a position as a graduate student at New York Medical College. A devout Christian since age 14, when the now 25-year old was approached with helping produce the film, Lewis admitted it was a test of his own faith but he parlayed his decision with his reason why he wanted to become a doctor: to help heal people. “I knew God would bless me, I just didn’t know how or when,” Lewis told the Sun Herald. “I believe in being a blessing to other people, to

empower them. That’s what we’re all called to do.” Naturally, during the film’s promotional tour, Lewis had to bring some screenings to his hometown in which he did. He held one screening at BelAire Baptist Church, accompanied by his family and fellow producer Angela White and Music Coordinator Nelson Jackson III. “I was motivated by working on a project that could impact lives and

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spread the word of God,” White told EurWeb.com. “When our team decided to enter into the world of faith-based movies, we knew of some films that had a good profit margin but we knew of so many others that did not do well. So, it was faith that allowed us to take a chance and work on a project that could affect so many lives and be in our personal walk with Christ.” A Question of Faith was distributed by Silver Lining Entertainment. .


MLK50: Where Do We Go From Here? The Coastwide Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee ushers in another

State NAACP; Special Honors: James Crowell, President, Biloxi NAACP; Dr. Persharon Dixon, Co-Chair CoastWide MLK Committee

annual observance of Dr. King’s achievements and impact on America and the world with a series of events and programs this upcoming weekend taking

Monday, January 15, 11 a.m.: MLK DAY PARADE - Parade Route leads into Milner Stadium, 1403 38th Ave., Gulfport;

place on several sites throughout the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The festivities culminate with a parade in downtown Gulfport on Monday, January 15, both Dr. King’s actual birthday and the date in 2018 designated as his national holiday. “The King Holiday honors the life and contributions of America’s greatest champion of racial justice and equality, the leader who not only dreamed of a color-blind society, but who also lead a movement that achieved historic reforms to help make it a reality,” said Alllytra Perryman, Co-Chair of the CoastWide MLK Committee. “The CoastWide Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Committee commemorates Dr. King’s great dream of a vibrant, multiracial nation united in justice, peace and reconciliation through a series of family friendly events.” This year’s observance holds extra meaning for several reasons. This April 4 will mark the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s tragic assassination on the balcony steps of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn. Additionally, America is now caught in the grips of a soft explosion of national headline news developments with strong civil rights implications, similar to the issues Dr. King fought against back in his heyday. They include: •The continuation of controversial deadly shootings involving mostly young black men at the hands of overly aggressive police officers; •The highly visible presence of white supremacists promoting their agendas, sparking incidents such as the August-2017 rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that escalated into violence and resulted in the death of one person; •NFL football players and other athletes “taking a knee” in protest of racial injustice, inspired by former quarterback Colin Kaepernick and further spurred by President Donald Trump’s derogatory remarks; •The reversing of immigration policies affecting members of the Latino community; •The strong wave of sexual harassment and sexual assault charges toward high-profile figures in the entertainment, sports and media industries; And others. MLK activities in South Mississippi include:

President Ronald Reagan signed the MLK Holiday into law on November 2, 1983 and it was observed nationally for the first time on January 20, 1986. Dr. King would have been 89 years old this January 15th. .

Editor’s note: For more information, visit www.mlkcoastwide.com, email mlkcoastwide@gmail.com or call Allytra Perryman at 228-209-8112

Friday, January 12, 7 p.m.: “FROM WHERE WE COME” GOSPEL CONCERT - Grace Temple Baptist Church, 13344 Old Hwy. 49, Gulfport; Featuring the CoastWide MLK Mass Choir, under the direction of gospel recording artist LaKeisha Cotton;

Saturday, January 13, 9 a.m.: MLK50 VILLAGE: A FAMILY SYMPOSIUM - Kroc Center, 575 Division St., Biloxi; 2K Walk/Run, Health Fair, Youth Summit, Women’s Talk, and Men’s Barbershop Talk; Sunday, January 14, 3 p.m.: MLK50 INSPIRATIONAL AND AWARDS PROGRAM - Biloxi Civic Center, 591 Howard Ave., Biloxi; Keynote Speaker: Dr. Corey Wiggins, Executive Director Mississippi

Gulf Coast Urban Spectrum — www.gulfcoasturbanspectrum.com – January 2018

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NAACP Takes Off “Interim” of Former Mississippi State President By Gordon Jackson

our democracy, the NAACP must be more steadfast than ever before,” said Leon Russell who is the board chairman of the NAACP. “Derrick has the vision, mobility and courage to help us meet that demand.” Johnson’s election was unanimous. He was previously the vice chairman of the NAACP Board of Directors and before that the state president of the Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP. He was elected Interim President/CEO in July, during the NAACP National Convention after not renewing the contract of preceding President Cornell William Brooks. Johnson made a brief appearance at the Mississippi State NAACP Convention, held in Columbus, MS in November, calling for the state delegation to follow his lead in moving the organization forward. . Below: Delegates of the Mississippi NAACP State Convention “lay hands” on former State President Derrick Johnson, now the permanent National NAACP President. Photo by Gordon Jackson

D

errick Johnson is on absolute full throttle, now that the NAACP Board of Directors removed the “Interim” tag off of his title, making him the permanent President and CEO of the nation’s oldest civil rights organization. The NAACP Board of Directors voted unanimously on Oct. 21, signing Johnson to a three-year agreement. “We have many things that need to be updated, our goal was to make sure that the individual who sits in the seat was as familiar with our functions as possible as we continue to transition,” Johnson told reporters after the board meeting. Johnson’s appointment comes at a time of increased racial tensions in the United States. In response, the NAACP — which at 108 years old is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization — has been going through leadership changes “as it re-envisions itself to take on a tumultuous and contentious social and political climate.” “With new threats to communities of color emerging daily and attacks on Gulf Coast Urban Spectrum — www.gulfcoasturbanspectrum.com – January 2018

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This Bloodcurdling Event Made MLK Consider Violence

W

By PushBlack

hen James Earl Ray fatally shot Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968, it sent shockwaves through the Black community and casted a dark cloud over Memphis, Tennessee for years to come. But, why was King in Memphis in the first place? Two months prior to King’s assassination, a faulty garbage truck crushed two Black sanitation workers in Memphis. The company denied responsibility for the incident and refused to pay any money to the dead workers families, spurring outrage among the rest of the Black sanitation workers. Thirteen hundred infuriated employees holding “I Am A Man” signs went on strike to protest this grave injustice and bring attention to the company’s lack of concern for Black workers humanity. Workers already felt disrespected prior to the death of their colleagues because they were paid less than $2 per hour, frequently worked 60 hours for 40 hours’ worth of pay, and remained poor enough to collect welfare despite working full-time jobs. At the time, Memphis, like most of the South, operated under a plantation mentality and treated Black workers like they were worthless and dispensable. When King caught wind of the strike and heard about the deaths of Echol Cole and Robert Waters, he crafted a fiery speech and packed his bags for Memphis. Though King had a pensive demeanor and staunch nonviolent stance, the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike ruffled his feathers and tested his patience to no end. When he arrived on March 28, 1968 he encountered angry whites breaking windows, senseless police attacks on Black workers, and the murder of a 16-year-old boy. At this point, King’s

frustration led him to consider abandoning his non-violent principles and fight back. During his trip, King added Memphis to the Poor People’s Campaign, and met with noted Civil Rights leader Bayard Rustin to devise a plan to aid the city’s impoverished Black community. Unfortunately, King died before any of those plans came to fruition. Yet, by all measures, the strike was successful and spawned the largest mobilization of Black service sector workers in history. Thousands of Black workers joined the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union and demanded not only increases in pay, but also welldeserved respect and dignity as employees. Learn more about this epic struggle for economic justice and equality by checking out /Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King’s Last Campaign. . Editor’s note: PushBlack Now provides daily inspiring Black history. For more information, visit www.pushblack.us.

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O

marosa Manigault Newman, who has resigned under duress from her public liaison job at the White House, is leaving true to form - amidst a cloud of controversy and with sparks flying. The White House has confirmed her resignation effective Jan. 20. The official White House reason was that she is leaving to pursue “other opportunities.” “Thank you Omarosa for your service! I wish you continued success,” says a Dec. 13 tweet from President Donald Trump, who had handpicked Manigault Newman - best known for her first name only. A personal friend of Trump’s, they have known each other 14 years since her national television debut on his reality show, “The Apprentice.” But the full circumstances surrounding Omarosa’s departure remain cloudy at best amidst numerous reports that she was actually fired or forced to resign amidst cursing and a heated confrontation with Trump’s Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly. She has only conceded that there was a tense conversation with Kelly in the White House Situation Room. Since his arrival last July, Kelly had limited her access to the Oval Office, where she initially had the freedom to come and go. On ABC, the only media outlet that has interviewed her since the resignation, the clearly angry Omarosa said reports that she was fired are “a hundred percent false.” But, then she added, “But when I have a chance to tell my story to tell quite a story - as the only AfricanAmerican woman in this White House, as a senior staff and assistant to the president, I have seen things that have made me uncomfortable, that have upset me, that have affected me deeply and emotionally, that has affected my community and my people and when I can tell my story, it is a profound story that I know the world will want to hear,” she said, leaving an obvious cliffhanger. Omarosa was reached to obtain responses on issues raised in this article, but she declined comment due to the fact that she is still a White House employee until Jan. 20. She was only allowed the interviews with ABC News.

Black Republicans say Omarosa blocked them from jobs.

Meanwhile, Black Republicans claim Omarosa blocked them from jobs in order to maintain her status as the “only African-American woman... senior staff and assistant to the president” as she described herself on ABC.

TriceEdneyWire.com

Omarosa’s Final Days at White House Full of Controversy, Accusations Some say she blocked qualified Black applicants; others say that’s not possible NNPA president says she may have been fighting for diversity

need and wherever we wanted to go into government and to shoot our resumes over to her and she gave us her official transition email. She said this administration has a goal of having 25 percent minority hiring. They wanted 25 percent of the work force to be Black and Hispanic...So she positioned herself as the end all be all for Black things; for Black people in the administration,” Craig said. Ayshia Connors, a former deputy director of AfricanAmerican engagement at the Republican National Committee, now a senior advisor to Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), agrees. She describes an initiative by The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and Insight America, an organization headed by former Republican Congressman J. C. Watts: “There were hundreds, probably thousands of resumes of qualified individuals in the Black community that were ready and prepared to go into any administration no matter who won the election. And when President Trump got elected, all of those names were submitted and Omarosa literally trashed those names. Nobody got a call back. Nobody got an interview.

By Hazel Trice Edney

Her actual White House title has been assistant to the president and director of communications in the White House Office of Public Liaison. But her actual job description appears not to have been clearly defined. In interviews with the Trice Edney News Wire Black Republicans blame her for blocking Black job applicants from the Trump administration including Republican stalwart Kay Coles James, who was appointed Dec. 19 as the first African-American and first woman president of the conservative Heritage Foundation. “I was blocked personally. Essentially, my file was pulled and I wasn’t deemed pro-Trump enough,” says Eugene Craig. “The official excuse was that I wasn’t proTrump enough although I was the sitting chair of the Maryland Republican Party.”

Sources said because of President Trump’s need for loyalty, that attribute loyalty - was among the top considerations for key White House positions. Craig admits that he was a “never Trumper all the way”, but that was during the campaign. Craig says he noticed that when the time came for consideration for jobs and the broad banner of Republicanism, White never-Trumpers were given consideration where African-Americans were not. “The flood gates were opened, but Omarosa held all of us to a different standard. She had say over a lot of the Black resumes. I know for a fact from promises that she made us directly.” Craig says a January conference call with the Republican National Committee and Trump transition team was held “specifically for AfricanAmerican activists and party loyalists.” He said, “During the middle of the call, she jumped on and bogarted on. And she came in and she made us these promises that this would be the most diverse administration in history. And she’ll help us with whatever we

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Elroy Sailor of Insight America and Spencer Overton of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies listen to now HUD Secretary Ben Carson on a panel. Insight America and the Joint Center worked together to in attempt to get bi-partisan resumes of African-Americans to the Trump Administration. Sources said most were blocked. PHOTO: InsightAmerica4u.com

Nobody was ever heard about again. People tried to go in. People were eager and willing to serve the President, willing to serve our country. But Omarosa, she didn’t want other Black Republicans there. She wanted to be the big shot. She wanted to be the only one. And so, everybody kind of just decided it wasn’t worth our times to keep dealing with it. And so, by February, people had just moved on from Omarosa and dealing with the White House and decided to start working with Congress and dealing some other policy matters.” Connors added that Kay Coles James, former Virginia Secretary of Health and


Human Resources under Virginia Republican Gov. George Allen and director for the United States Office of Personnel Management under President George W. Bush, received the same treatment. “She was willing and prepared to go back into the government and to help the administration. But Omarosa was such a distraction and created so much drama and confusion that Ms. James just decided not to engage it anymore. So that’s what ended up happening. That’s why you only saw Omarosa as a senior Black Republican in the White House.” In a brief interview with James upon her appointment as president of the Heritage Foundation, James was clear about why she did not go to work in the Trump White House. “When Donald Trump said that he wanted to improve the urban areas and that he wanted to make the lives of minorities in this country better, I said, wow, if he wants to do that, I genuinely want to be a part of that and I was excited and hopeful the opportunity to come in,” she said. “But that opportunity never really afforded itself. I am told that I was blocked...I don’t have specifics about how that happened, but I was extremely disappointed that I didn’t have the opportunity to serve there.” Connors said the clearest evidence that Omarosa was not going to work with other Black Republicans came in February when Omarosa was in charge of pulling together the Black History Month program for President Trump. “During Black History Month, these credible Republicans such as Kay Coles James and J. C. Watts and Elroy Sailor, they tried to engage Omarosa.” Instead, Omarosa put an event together that included her personal picks of AfricanAmericans, including Black Democrats, Connors said. “She didn’t invite any of the prominent Black Republicans. In fact, we had folks calling us from the White House calling and saying, ‘Why aren’t your names on the list for this event?’ It was very evident from the beginning that she wasn’t going to work with us and that she was just going to do her own thing.” Connors cited another event for Vice President Pence that was planned by Black Republicans to be held at West Point. “That was another example of Omarosa using her position in the White House to block that event as well. And that was actually the turning point for Black Republicans. We decided she was just too distracting too disruptive and we decided to focus our efforts elsewhere.” On the record sources willing to speak in defense of Omarosa were dif-

ficult to find. But, high placed Republican sources say it is not possible that Omarosa could have made such powerful decisions without oversight in the White House - most likely the President himself. Other high Republican sources said James was offered positions, but Omarosa fought against any Black staff appointment that would be above her own. Yet another rationale for why some Black Republicans seeking employment were rejected may have been because they had left the Republican National Committee Headquarters in protest against treatment by then RNC Chairman Reince Priebus nearing the end of the presidential campaign. Priebus then became President Trump’s first chief of staff and was likely averse to hiring the same staffers who had left the RNC, one source said. Christopher Metzler, an active member of the Black GOP Coalition, who has long worked Republican policy and strategy, had one answer when asked why there were no long time Black Republicans hired as White House staff. “It’s very simple. Omarosa,” he said. “Somebody like Kay [Coles James] who could serve as a whisperer in the President’s ear like a Condoleezza Rice; like a Valerie Jarrett, was never given that opportunity. There was a lot of back and forth pertaining to that. And Kay said, “Well, it is not going to serve the President well for me to try to cut through this thicket. And as a result of that, she did not push it any further.” Metzler concluded, “All of these things were blocked by Omarosa. At the end of the day, Omarosa is first and foremost a Democrat. She is not a conservative. She is not a Republican. She never has been. She is simply an opportunist. And that’s where we ended up.”

her departure from the White House is two-fold. First, as it pertains to those Black Republicans who felt that they earned a position due to their loyalty to Black Republicans, “diversity does not equal representation of the Black community,” he said. “That’s one of the fallacies...Trump’s agenda is a negative agenda. Fact number one is the way he dogged President Obama, the way he talked badly about Mexicans, etc. Why would anybody want to associate with that administration in the first place?”

day Black Republicans can hardly hold a candle to some of the Black Republicans who - instead of following the party line - stood for justice when it was needed most. “The brand of Republicanism that we have now is extremely out of step with the vast majority of Black people and the mainstream of Black aspirations and Black policy and the concepts of Black policy prescriptions.” Because of his working with Omarosa and his affinity for projects that she led for Haiti and for children

Omarosa (fifth from left) among this media delegation in Haiti, was a celebrity ambassador for IBW's Haiti Support Project in 2010. IBW President Ron Daniels, in cap behind her, says she has since rejected his advice to her about President Trump

Citing pioneering Black Republicans such as Nixon’s Art Fletcher, known as “the father of affirmative action,” Daniels says modern

Black Republicans Do Not Necessarily Mean Black Representation; nor Justice

Dr. Ron Daniels, president of the Institute of the Black World 21st Century (IBW) and a long-time associate of Omarosa’s Youngstown, Ohio family, has had a unique view of Omarosa in the White House. He worked directly with her when she was a Democrat. He even named her a celebrity ambassador for IBW’s Haiti Support Project after she traveled with a group of journalists to document the level of disaster following the 2010 earthquake. His view in the midst of Gulf Coast Urban Spectrum — www.gulfcoasturbanspectrum.com – January 2018

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in the U. S., Daniels now sees what he believes to have been her true agenda based on her most recent situation. “I think Omarosa, for whatever rea-


son, is somebody who had been on Continued on page 14e

former friends. But the truth about Omarosa’s tenure and final days at the White House is yet to be made clear.

Omarosa’s Final Days...

Continued from page 11 the liberal side. She had supported Hillary Clinton...She had been in Democratic politics and all that. I think Omarosa saw an opportunity to advance her own interests and that is why she was blocking everybody else in terms of the Republicans who wanted to get close. She wanted to be the Queen bee,” Daniels said. “She wanted to be able to fire folks, metaphorically speaking, or block people. That’s not a good thing. But the idea that if she had opened the flood gates of somehow having more Ben Carsons or more Clarence Thomases or people like that, [that would not have been a good thing either]. But I don’t think Omarosa was there advocating. It was really stunning to see her make that transformation.”

Black Republicans are not the only ones who say they were rejected by Omarosa

American Urban Radio Network reporter April Ryan, a White House correspondent who has covered four presidents, confirmed that now former Trump press secretary, Sean Spicer, told her that Omarosa had asked him to “stop calling on me” during press briefings. Had he adhered to that request, it could have blocked important information and coverage on behalf of millions of African-American listeners to AURN radio stations across the nation. Ryan says Omarosa also tried to get her fired by calling her boss at AURN. Many of Omarosa’s previous friends and associates, who rejected Trumpism, say they were also rejected. Daniels says he was one of them. “Omarosa is my home girl. My

roots are in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania and most of my adult life was spent in Youngstown, Ohio,” her hometown, he recalls. “I had my own television show in Youngstown, Ohio for 18 years. She said she grew up watching me and was inspired by that. I saw the good work she was doing with children in Compton and that she had a progressive vision. So we forged a friendship,” he said. “All of that was positive. Then, all of a sudden Trump came along and I saw her in and around Trump and I became very nervous. She’s my home girl. I cared about her. So at one point, I just sort of, as an elder, a friend, I just sort of called her to say, ‘Be careful. You seem to be getting very close to Donald Trump and I don’t think...’ And she just sort of went off on me, kind of like, ‘You don’t need to be telling me, nobody needs to be telling me what’s going on. I know what I’m doing. And somebody needs to be able to talk to him. And that was it. I just said bye because I did not want to see her become what she has now become in the Black community - a pariah in the Black community.” There are many such stories told by

Trump administration are far from clear. “There are two sides of the story -

Omarosa and Ben Chavis during an NNPA Black Press Week breakfast in March. She ended up walking out of the meeting after this reporter, Hazel Trice Edney, pressed her on the promised NNPA "first" interview with Trump.

NNPA Interviewed Omarosa last fall, but is still awaiting Trump interview that she promised.

Ben Chavis, president/CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, said he interviewed Omarosa last fall in her White House office, located in the Old Executive Office Building. At that time, shortly after the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Weekend, there was no indication that she would be leaving, Chavis said. However, he speculated that, based on the content of the interview - which he said has not been published - she may have been pressing for diversity too much. “She indicated broadly her determination to press diversity and inclusivity issues. She’s always maintained that posture,” Chavis said. “I think that’s probably one of the things that probably got her in trouble in the White House is that she probably was pressing for more diversity,” Chavis said. In an off-the-record meeting with several hundred Black leaders, including Chavis, during the Trump transition last January, Omarosa said NNPA would get the first interview with President Trump, a promise she later denied despite multiple sources that confirmed the conversation. In the recent interview, she indicated that the Trump/NNPA interview was still possible, Chavis said. He said NNPA will continue to request the interview with Trump. What happened in the final days of Omarosa’s tenure and the detailed reasons for her departure from the

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Omarosa’s story and those being told by other sources are two completely different stories,” said Ayshia Connors. “But based on her patterns of erratic behavior and disruptive behavior, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if she was confrontational with


The Wade-In, In Full View: Remember, Reflect and Pass It On

Deadline for the Tom Joyner Foundation Full Ride Scholarship Program Approaching

Only one student will win a scholarship to cover all expenses to an HBCU of their choice, joining an impressive group of previous “Full Ride” Scholars

T

om Joyner is reminding students that the deadline for the Tom Joyner Foundation® Full Ride scholarship program is rapidly approaching. The highly coveted scholarship will cover all the expenses of one talented student planning to attend a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in the fall of 2018. “Our full ride scholars are outstanding,” said Tom Joyner, chairman of his Foundation and host of the topranked nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning show. “We’re looking for another amazing young person who already is changing the world and wants to go to an HBCU where they can pursue their dreams.” Students will receive full tuition and stipends for up to 10 semesters to cover on-campus room and board and books. Students must meet the required academic standards each semester to renew the funds each year. Graduating high school seniors can apply for the scholarship by going to the Tom Joyner Foundation website at www.tomjoynerfoundation.org. Students must have their schools mail their transcripts and recommendations to the Foundation at P.O. Box 630495, Irving, TX 75063-0495. To be eligible, students must meet the following criteria: 1) A United States citizen 2) Current high school senior attending school in the United States (applicant must be anticipating completion of high school degree in the spring of 2018)

3) Minimum high school grade point average of 3.50 (on a 4.00 grade scale, excluding home school studies) and minimum SAT score of 1400 (combined math essay and verbal score) or ACT score of 30. 4) Applicants must apply and be accepted to an HBCU by July 1, 2018. 5) Applicants must have demonstrated leadership abilities through participation in community service, extracurricular, or other activities. The applications must be postmarked no later than January 19. Interviews will occur in March. Past Full Ride Scholars have impressive backgrounds, including last year’s winner, ZKijah Fleming of DeSoto, Texas, who is attending Howard University where she is planning to major in sports business; Morgan Taylor Brown, of Fayetteville, Ga., who is attending Spelman College, pursuing her interests to become a psychiatrist. In 2015, JoAnna Jones of Ashville, North Carolina’s Buncombe County Early College High School is attending Winston-Salem State University, where she is pursuing a degree in nursing. Another winner is Titus Zeigler, who was a top student at Atlanta’s Henry W. Grady High School. The future trauma surgeon was a member of the Junior ROTC program, tutored kids at a local middle school and volunteered at the Atlanta Food Bank. Blaine Robertson of Reserve, La. graduated from Howard University and he is pursuing his dream of teaching high school back home in Louisiana. Britney Wilson, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., also graduated from Howard University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Wilson, who passed the New York Bar exam, is now a Bertha Justice Institute Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights. Another Full Ride Scholars Cheyenne Boyce graduated from Spelman College is completing her master’s degree in international peace and conflict resolution at the American University in Washington, D.C. The Detroit-native graduated from Spelman College. She spent a year as a prestigious Fulbright scholar teaching English to families in Malaysia. . For more information, email Neil Foot at neil.foote@tomjoynerfoundation.org or call 214-448-3765.

By Gordon Jackson

Alongside the usual books, com-

The life-sized board display of the historic Wade-In protests is viewed by Biloxi Library patrons. Photo by Gordon Jackson

puters and audio/visual materials, the Biloxi Library added something extra this past summer: a portal to another time. Specifically, it was a trip to recognize the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s greatest Civil Rights achievement, known as the Wade-In. This story was told through a lifesized 7 ft. x 15 ft. display board that stood along the front corridor of the library, for all visitors to observe. Designed by the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, it consisted of a blend of text newspaper clippings, photos and an ariel map of the beach which chronicled the timeline of the Wade-In events from 1959 to 1968. Many of those who eyed the display board found it stunning to learn that the 26-mile government manmade beach line along the Mississippi coast was once strictly segregated. Blacks were prohibited from setting foot on the sand, let alone take a dip into the water. Those who tried were escorted off by local police and not all the time in a nice manner. Dr. Gilbert Mason, Sr. led a group of nine adults and children to the first wade-in on May 14, 1959 and was turned away by Biloxi police. The largest of the wade-ins took place April 24, 1960 with 125 demonstrators. Dubbed “Bloody Sunday,” violence with the police led to dozens of beatings, injuries, shootings and two deaths. Also that year NAACP Mississippi Field Director Medgar Evers gathered 72 sworn affidavits on the beatings at the beach that was forwarded to the

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U.S. Justice Department Civil Rights Division. Another wade-in in 1963 was mostly peaceful, but still 71 people were arrested. Dr. Felix Dunn of Gulfport was also an instrumental leader, braving death threats and the fire-bombing of his business office. After over 200 delays over a fouryear period, Federal District Judge Sidney Mize finally presided over the beginning of the trial, which ended in Feb. 1965. Judge Harold Cox ruled in upholding the segregation of the beach in 1967, but the decision was immediately appealed. Finally, on August 15, 1968, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Judge Harold Cox’s decision, led by an opinion by Appeals Court Judge and former Mississippi Governor J.P. Coleman and the beaches were open to the entire public. Dr. Mason would go on to form the Biloxi branch of the NAACP, where he was president for 34 years. He died in 2006 at the age of 77. The timeline board was first showcased last April, during a program honoring those who took part in the Wade-Ins. Ward 2 City Councilman Felix Gines and attorney Kiara Taite conducted the “Roll Call,” calling out the names of the close to 160 citizens – many of them now deceased – who risked their own lives participating in the protest activities. Dr. Mason’s son, Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Jr., coordinated having the display built and has been a critical source in making sure that the WadeIn will always be remembered. The board remained on display through the Labor Day weekend..


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

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle lll By Khaleel Herbert

Jumanji is reincarnated into a

video game in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. While in detention, four teens with opposite personalities discover a Super Nintendo-esque game cartridge and system. They ponder: What do we do with this dinosaur? A TV sits over yonder. After setting up (because when kids and teens see something, they can’t help but go over to it like flies to a bug zapper. There’s something wrong with their heads) and choosing their avatars, they’re plugged in…literally plugged in to the world of Jumanji. Spencer (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) gets a stellar body and is the leader of the group. Fridge (Kevin Hart) is a pint-sized zoologist and Spencer’s backpack-lugging sidekick. Martha (Karen Gillan) plays a karate master in short-shorts and Bethany (Jack Black) is an overweight cartologist who navigates the team. In order for the teens to get home and into their normal bodies, they must return a magical crystal to the eye of a stone jungle cat in the middle of the woods…and avoid Van Pelt (Bobby Cannavale), the man who originally had the crystal to control the Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

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animals of Jumanji. Welcome to the Jungle is the sequel to the 1995 Robin Williams classic. It picks up right where Jumanji left off. The board game was found on a beach and brought back to the states. It takes the form of a video game when its next victim sets it on top of a video game console. It answers the question: What was it like for Robin Williams to be stuck in the Jumanji jungle for 26 years? The shenanigans and goofiness of Robin Williams and jungle animals let loose on the streets of New Hampshire was a fun time. Kirsten Dunst and Bradley Pierce were little tykes and Bonnie Hunt almost had a heart attack when Williams tricked her into rolling the dice. Good times, good times. Asking me if I like Welcome to the Jungle or Jumanji is like asking me which set of Star Wars movies I like, George Lucas’ original trilogy or the ones Disney made. They’re both good in their own right but preferably, I like the George Lucas originals where every one is still young and Darth Vader rules the First Order with an iron fist. (Call me old-fashioned if you like. I don’t care!). There are some positives to Welcome to the Jungle. Kevin Hart and The Rock are back together again, although their relationship isn’t a bromance like 2016’s Central Intelligence. The Rock keeps his swagger, and in practically every movie I’ve seen with The Rock, he punches someone’s lights out. Welcome to the Jungle is no exception and I would not want it any other way (he’s more worthy here than in that God-awful Baywatch that came out this summer). Karen Gillan (she’s almost abnormal without her Nebula-robotic flesh and black eyes from the Guardians of the Galaxy flicks) delivers butt-whoopings through awkward flirting and dance-fighting (don’t ask). It’s a hoot to see Jack Black act as a female

throughout the whole thing, a rare and different performance for Black from the adorable Kung-Fu panda, Po. This team has a good chemistry and drive to get everyone home, including long-time resident, Alex (Nick Jonas), which is admirable and funny. Spoiler alert: Jack Black and Nick Jonas kiss. There. Now you have something to look forward to. Welcome to the Jungle is no substitute for Jumanji and I don’t believe it wants to be. Think of it as Jumanji’s younger brother who wants to be his own, but still has respect for his older brother.

Washington in a goofy position–from his looks, to his gestures. He’s not the man seeking justice by any means like Man on Fire, The Equalizer, or The Magnificent Seven. He somewhat returns to his friendly spirit from The Preacher’s Wife and political fire from Malcolm X. Instead of fighting goons or tyrants, he has to fight himself. He has to battle with the fact that he crossed the line and he can’t go back. It takes a true actor to dive into different roles. Washington is brilliant and his slight romantic chemistry with Maya (Carmen Ejogo) is a delight to watch. His ability to speak his mind

Roman J. Israel Esq.

Roman J. Israel Esq.

V

lll By Khaleel Herbert

eteran actor Denzel Washington plays the thoughtful, outspoken and somewhat goofy Roman J. Israel Esq. Roman J. Israel Esq. (Esq. is the proper designation for someone who is an attorney), follows the self-titled character diligently working as an experienced ethical lawyer of some odd decades. Roman’s world shifts when he discovers that his partner of the legal law firm he owns is critically ill after suffering a heart attack. With his partner on the verge of death, Roman is forced to find work elsewhere. No family. No car. Roman travels the streets of LA with his two feet, trusty briefcase and headphones to his iPod on his ears. George Pierce (Colin Farrell), a lawyer Roman despises because he only works for dollar signs, offers him clients from his law firm. Roman needs the money and Colin needs Roman. Roman’s beliefs in the human condition steadily slant. One decision for survival gets him a front row seat to the glamor life (no more Jif peanut butter sandwiches or records for him!) with a brand new apartment, new suits, and a slick new hairstyle (losing his signature afro). But his decision spews unintended consequences. Roman J. Israel Esq. puts

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on things that aren’t right is moving. I have to ding some points off this film for a few things. First, this story is about a lawyer fighting himself and court cases. We only see him in the courtroom once (and he was held in contempt for upsetting the judge). I would have liked to see him actually win some court cases (at least two or three). Seeing Roman and his partner in some shape or form, even if it was a photo of them side by side would not have been a bad idea either. Roman respected and looked up to his partner as a role-model for his profession. To not even get a glimpse of the man’s face ruins certain scenes for me, especially as the film wraps up. Columbia could have at least slipped in a flashback or two of him giving some ultimate words of wisdom like Uncle Ben did to Peter Parker. Roman J. Israel Esq., with its imperfections, breaks Washington out of his usual shell keeping him relevant and fresh in 2017 Hollywood.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi lll By Laurence Washington

OK, let’s get the big question out

of the way. The Last Jedi is not as good as The Empire Strikes Back (‘80), and it’s light years better than The Force


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Vancouver he met his current girlfriend, 29-year-old former Miss Vancouver, Sabrina Dhowre. And to cap off a great 2017, he stars alongside Jessica Chastain in the thriller Molly’s

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Awakens (’15). Empire set the bar for other Star Wars movies. So it goes without saying, everything else falls short. However, The Last Jedi strives to be as dark as Empire, and in many respects, it achieves that end. Baddie Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), is determined to fill Darth Vader’s shoes, er… make that helmet, and doesn’t care who gets in his way for galactic conquest. Needless to say, a lot of victims meet the business end of Kylo Ren’s light saber, Jedi’s, Siths, Storm Troopers – he makes no distinction. He’s a bad mutha clucka,’ but he’s also conflicted, which is his weakness – a problem that Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) senses. Last Jedi picks up where Awakens leaves off, with Rey (Daisy Ridley) finding Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) on a planet deep in the regions of space. You might recall cheering toward the end of Awakens, as Rey hands Luke a lightsaber. The anticipation during the past two years is, Luke will pick up the lightsaber and once again lead the fight against the forces of evil. But whoa! Hold your phasers…I mean blasters. It is not to be. Taking a page out of A New Hope (’77), Luke is now an old man who wants to live out his days in self-imposed exile. He wants nothing to do with lightsabers, Jedi’s or the Dark Side. Like a young Luke Skywalker, Rey wants the reluctant Luke to train her in the ways of the Jedi, so they both can join the resistance and fight the New Order. But, ah, there’s the rub. At the same time Rey is trying desperately to recruit Luke, Kylo Ren is using the Dark Side to seduce her to the New Order. Director Rian Johnson does a terrific job directing the traffic through Jedi’s three storylines that seamlessly come together during the film’s third act. There are twist and turns that the casual Star Wars fan might not see coming. At least I didn’t. It is a nice surprise that the late Carrie Fisher received a lot of screen time, as Director Johnson must have shot a lot of footage, or completed pri-

mary filming before her untimely death. To the film’s credit, and to the anticipation of fans, The Last Jedi checks all the boxes from Imperial Walkers to Star Destroyers. Chewy is back, ex-storm trooper Finn (John Boyega) and his new found love interest, mechanic Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) visit a Star Wars bar punctuated with a host of interesting extraterrestrials, and of course each planet has cute and cuddly creatures. But unlike Return of the Jedi (‘83), thankfully we don’t get an overdose on those damn Muppets. The Last Jedi also has the distinction of being the longest running Star Wars movie with 152 minutes. So you might want to hit the potty before the film starts. In the end, The Last Jedi is a pretty good movie that could have been edited by 30 minutes for the sake of time and plot development. But it’s a good movie nonetheless. A word of caution: Marvel films have us programed to wait for an after credit scenes in these blockbuster films. Since this is a Disney film, don’t bother.

IDRIS ELBA:

Molly’s Game is About Gender Balance and Power By Samantha Ofole-Prince Photo credit Michael Gibson

By all accounts, Idris Elba has had

an incredibly good year. First, he played the heroic Roland Deschain in Nikolaj Arcel’s The Dark Tower and reprised his role of Heimdall in Thor: Ragnarok. Then, the actor took on his first lead romantic role in Hany AbuAssad’s The Mountain Between Us, starring opposite Kate Winslet, and it’s during filming of the movie in

Game. “It has been a rather good year,” agrees the Golden Globe award-winning actor who since his breakout role as Stringer Bell, the lieutenant of a Baltimore drug empire on the HBO series “The Wire,” has appeared in well over 40 films and television projects. There has also been directing stints with just four years ago, Elba made his directorial debut with his own teleplay, The Pavement Psychologist and he also created, directed and starred in the music video Lover of Light by Mumford and Sons, which has received more than nine million YouTube views. Adding, his company, Green Door Pictures, is developing a comedy titled In The Long Run, which set in 1985 London and is about a West African family he says is loosely based on his childhood. But despite starring in some major films from Ridley Scott’s American Gangster, Star Trek Beyond, to Cary Fukunaga’s Beasts of No Nation, which earned him a SAG award, Elba admits that he doesn’t have a systematic way of approaching roles. “It really depends on the director. The Dark Tower was very much an action led film so there was some physical training. For Ben in The Mountain Between Us, there was a lot of talking about the characters with Kate and me, but in Molly’s Game, I had to memorize every single word and punctuation that was written and I don’t like to memorize words. I am more of a guy that sort of feels it and says it.”

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A film based on the true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game and became an FBI target, Elba plays her defense lawyer who discovers that there’s much more to Molly than the salacious tabloid stories reveal. “What attracted me to the role is that I play a lawyer that judges her and then decided to go against that and goes one step further and takes on the law system,” shares Elba. “Charlie is this very polished sort of seen-it-all hotshot lawyer, but I think he’s really intrigued by Molly because there is so much more complexity to her than how she initially presents. He thinks he has her figured out the minute she walks in the door and then she really challenges him with her intellect and the strength of her character and personality and I think that really draws him in.” The directorial debut of playwright and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network), poker drives the plot of this story, which follows an athlete who was in the qualifying trials for freestyle skiing when an accident sent her down a very different path of hosting illegal high-stakes poker games. She ends up getting raided by the FBI, and writing a book about the whole affair. “This isn’t a whistle blowing film,” Elba continues. “It’s actually about integrity and it’s about gender balance and it’s about power.” In the film, Sorkin brilliantly cuts between Molly’s rise to power in the backrooms of Los Angeles following her fall from grace as an Olympic skier and her meetings with her lawyer. It’s a neatly done rise-and-fall story as Molly’s brush with Hollywood royalty, sports stars and business titans give her a decade of glitzy and glamorous success, but she soon attracts the wrong kind of attention when she inadvertently engages members of the Russian mob. There’s money, power and sexism in this indelible story about a woman competing in an all-male world and it’s the kind of gritty tale Hollywood gravitates to. “Hollywood has a lot of hanging fruit for stories and there are so many different personality types in this industry. There is the glamour of course, but there is the real underbelly and the uglier side, which we are all seeing come up now in what is happening in Hollywood,” says Elba, who starred as Nelson Mandela in The Weinstein Company biopic Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom, a performance which earned him a Golden Globe nomination. .


All The MLK Streets I’ve Been To Have Been In The Hood

By PushBlack Now

repair this country’s MLK streets. The non-profit, Beloved Streets of America, works to revitalize MLK streets in St. Louis (and other cities). By fixing the physical attributes, White says it will raise self-esteem of residents and encourage businesses to bring their operations there. Though MLK streets have now come to be known for their decline, some cities boast thriving MLK streets. Minneapolis, MN; Tampa, FL; and

Chapel Hill, NC are cities whose streets honor Dr. King with bustling business and good upkeep. Atlanta, Dr. King’s hometown, pledged $20 million to revitalize Martin Luther King Drive. While many jokes about the condition of MLK streets are for a quick laugh, the conditions eerily mirror racial tensions and discrimination happening in this country. As protests

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et’s be honest. We often joke that every Martin Luther King Jr. street in America runs through impoverished areas and are pictures of urban decay. The irony that streets named after one of the greatest leaders of the Civil Rights Movement look like they’ve been neglected for decades is not lost on us. There are more than 900 MLK streets in 42 states and Puerto Rico, and most of them are in disarray. Derek Alderman, a cultural geography scholar at the University of Tennessee, says that research has shown that a majority of these streets sit in low-income areas and have higher levels of segregation than city-wide and national norms. Immediately after Dr. King’s assassination, cities commemorated him by renaming streets after him. However, because of housing discrimination and whites leaving urban areas for the suburbs, neighborhoods - especially streets named after King - were replaced with drugs and violence. The conditions of MLK streets are well documented. Shuttered stores, crime, cracked pavements, and limited public transportation options are all symptoms of the neglect that has plagued these streets. AOL Real Estate/ blog estimated that home values on MLK streets decreased 12.5 percent from 2010 to 2011. The national home value only decreased about 5 percent in that same time period. The urban decay that plagues MLK streets is emblematic of the racial divide in the country since the end of the Civil Rights Movement. However, there is one man that wants to change that. St. Louis postal worker Melvin White started an organization to Gulf Coast Urban Spectrum — www.gulfcoasturbanspectrum.com – January 2018

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against injustices against black people - like taking a knee - continue to happen around the country, these streets are a reminder that token symbols are not evidence of change, but an indictment of systems that foster racial tensions. . Editor’s note: PushBlack Now provides daily inspiring Black history. For more information, visit www.pushblack.us.


Nine Ways To Fix Your Credit before Buying a Home In 2018 Are you getting ready to buy

your own home? Great! Homeownership is one of the most important ways to build wealth over the long term. However, if your credit score is well below 700, you will have to pay a much higher interest rate. This will cost you tens of thousands of dollars in higher interest charges over the life of your loan. In most cases, it is essential to learn how to fix bad credit before applying for a home loan, at least if you want to qualify for a low interest rate and not be required to come up with a substantial down payment. So, at least six months to a year before you apply for a mortgage, you should try these 9 tips below to raise your credit score as much as you can:

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

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

Submitted by Walter E. Huff II

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

the score by paying down on the loan as much as you can. When you pay off the balance on your car loan there is a very significant chance it will improve your credit quickly. #8 Open Trade-line Six Months in Advance If you only have one credit card trade-line, you may need one or two more to qualify for some mortgages. However, you do not want to open up a bunch of new cards right when you are applying for a mortgage. If you do need to have a new trade-line to qualify for a mortgage, you should open it months in advance before you apply for a mortgage. Then, use it regularly to pay for all of your regular expenses but pay it off in full each month. #9 Become an Authorized User on a Credit Card If you have a relative who has a very high credit limit and good record paying on a credit card, you can ask them to add you as an authorized user on that account. This will raise your credit score, as long as the person con-

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

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

#7 Pay Off Your Car Loan If you still have a car loan on your credit report, you can really increase

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tinues to pay the bill regularly. Getting a mortgage is quite easy these days even with average credit, as long as you have the documented income to support the mortgage payment. But if you want to maximize your chances of getting a loan and getting a low interest rate, you should try most of the above tips to raise your credit score. Having a higher credit score can save you big time in interest over the life of your loan. . Editor’s note: Walter E. Huff II is the CEO/Team Leader of HUFF KW Real Estate Team. For comments or questions, email walter@huffrealestateteam.com, call 720-298-9095 or visit, www.thehuffhomesteam.com.

DUS 30th Anniversary Theme Song Available on CD Baby


MLK Wanted You To Be Economically Free At Last By PushBlack

There’s no doubt that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a profound impact on the lives of Black people in the U.S. and abroad. While most of us are familiar with his speeches and his leadership during the civil rights era, much of his good work has gone under the radar. As Black people in the U.S. and around the world fight to “have a seat at the table,” we are constantly seeking ways we can empower ourselves. Dr. King knew that one route to power was through economic empowerment. In the final years of his life, King turned his sight to economic development in the Black community. He understood the importance of establishing and supporting Black businesses. He taught us that “Love without power is sentimental and anemic.” There is power in the dollar. The famous March on Washington’s full name was The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The march came with a list of demands: •A federal program to train and place unemployed people for jobs at decent wages •A national minimum wage •Broaden the Fair Labor Standards Act •Barring discrimination in the Fair Employment Practices Act The Birmingham Campaign in 1963 was more than infamous im ages of police siccing dogs on protesters. It was about creating equal employment in stores in downtown Birmingham. The campaign lasted one month and, by the end, activists forced the city to change the laws regarding employment discrimination in Birmingham. During the Chicago Campaign, King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference took their energy north to focus on housing segregation. They also demanded bankers end segregation in mortgage lending. Dr. King was a part of several other movements that focused on economics. Operation Breadbasket sought to expand employment to Blacks. The Poor People’s Campaign looked for a way to change the structures that created poverty. In King’s speech, “Where Do We Go From Here,” he said “love without power is sentimental and anemic,” alluding to econ omic power. Dr. King believed we should invest in ourselves. Therefore, his speeches should not be used as casual platitudes but as an inspiration for us to improve Black communities with the Black dollar. . Editor’s note: PushBlack Now provides daily inspiring Black history. For more information, visit www.pushblack.us.

Five Ways To Get Fit, And Stay Fit, For the New Year! By Kim Farmer

fter all the holidays have passed, most of us might experience a little guilt or regret after eating all those yummy deserts and buttered rolls. No worries! Now is the perfect time to make a resolution to GET in shape and STAY in shape. Most of us have no problem starting an exercise regimen, but very few of us have the discipline or drive to make it a lifetime habit.

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Here are a few tips to help you do just that: 1. Get Motivated! At times, we all need a little help getting started or sticking with our exercise routines. It is reasonable to enlist a friend to work out with you, or to hire a trainer to get you started or keep you going. Consistency and accountability are two of the most important parts of sticking with an exercise or nutrition regimen and another person (or group of people) can be very beneficial. If you do choose to work with a personal trainer, make sure that the trainer is certified from a nationally recognized organization such as AFAA, A.C.E or ACSM. 2. First Things First! Most people have tremendous success with sticking to their exercise routines if they do it first thing in the morning. For people with small children, this time is usualGulf Coast Urban Spectrum — www.gulfcoasturbanspectrum.com – January 2018

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ly before the kids are awake which makes for precious, uninterrupted time for parents. You are more likely to stick with it if it your time for exercise is at the same time everyday. 3. Have Fun! It is easy to get stuck in a rut, doing the same thing every time you decide to exercise. Try to get creative and have fun doing the things you like to do. If you like running or walking, then it makes sense to use a treadmill or walk/run outside. Perhaps swimming is your pleasure? Find a local pool and dive in! It is important that you change your routine and add new activities to keep it fresh. 4. Make it Convenient! Does your apartment complex have a fitness center that you’ve never seen? Is your treadmill collecting dust or being used as a coat hanger? If so, it’s time to make a change and form a new habit! There’s no excuse for not exercising regularly if it is convenient for you to do it. If necessary, join a gym nearby so that you can visit it on your way to or from work. 5. Make a Commitment! It is easier to stick with a commitment if the goal is written in a clear and precise for-

mat. For example “I will lose 5 pounds by the end of February” or “I will drop a dress size by March 1st.” With a combination of good nutritional habits and regular exercise, you can achieve consistent and healthy weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week. It usually takes about 3 weeks to form a habit, so start now! It is necessary to exercise and make wise eating choices consistently in order to reap the benefits. If you need motivation to get started, a personal trainer or gym memberships are wise investments in your health. Happy New Year and Happy Exercising!. Editor’s note: Kim Farmer of Mile High Fitness & Wellness offers in-home personal training and corporate fitness solutions. For more information, visit www.milehighfitness.com or email inquiries@milehighfitness.com.


Gulf Coast Urban Spectrum January 2018  

This month the GCUS celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. like many other regions in the country. Read about the Drum Majors of the coast an...

Gulf Coast Urban Spectrum January 2018  

This month the GCUS celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. like many other regions in the country. Read about the Drum Majors of the coast an...