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Volume 30

Number 4

July 2016

Summertime in the Rockies New Beginnings Come In Many Colors

Art

Brings Life to a Homeless Community...2

Sam Adams “Dark” Sees “Light” in

United State of Women

Laughter

Summit

...4

Reaching New Heights...8 Cover Illustration by Caroline Pooler


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MESSAGE FROM THE PUBLISHER Volume 30 Number 4

July 2016

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris

GENERAL MANAGER Lawrence A. James

MANAGING EDITOR Laurence C. Washington

CONTRIBUTING COPY EDITOR Tanya Ishikawa COLUMNISTS Earl Ofari Hutchinson FILM CRITIC BlackFlix.Com

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Sharon Honore Luciana Melovy Melvin Deborah Radman Laurence C. Washington ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jody Gilbert Kolor Graphix

OFFICE & PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Melovy Melvin

MARKETING & SALES CONSULTANT Marie Weatherspoon DISTRIBUTION Glen Barnes Lawrence A. James Ed Lynch

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

Life is Fleeting

“Please don’t worry so much. Because in the end, none of us have very long on this Earth. Life is fleeting.” -Robin Williams as Jack Powell

The world was rendered speechless last month on two occasions – the Orlando massacre and the passing of the greatest, Muhammad Ali. One was a tragedy and the other was foreseeable. But the pain and the sadness were just the same. The victims in Florida ranged from 18 to 50 and Ali was 74. And no matter how young or old, they all left a mark on the world during their fleeting life. We pay tribute to Ali and talk about the reality of the massacre. This month, flipping the script, we talk about “new” beginnings with our cover story. The Gathering Place, which was founded to help homeless women and children, launched Art Restart to help them with rebuilding their lives. Comedian Sam Adams talks about how and why he enjoys making people laugh, meeting with Bill Cosby and his plans to move forward in the world of comedy. Contributor Ifalade TaShia Asante was invited to Washington D.C. to attend and participate in the United State of Women Summit. Hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey, she shares how the 5,000 attendees were educated, enlightened and inspired – and what they took away with them. And to emphasize this month’s theme, Summertime in the Rockies, read about all the summer events, entertainers and festivals that are coming to the Mile Hi City – especially Denver’s including all-time family favorite, the Colorado Black Arts Festival and celebrating 30 years. As you continue your summer fun – remember that life goes on, and until it ends, remember these five powerful quotes to inspire you in business and life from the late and very memorable and funny Robin Williams. 1. Find passion, be passionate and make your mark on the world; 2. Embrace creativity; 3. Write, speak and share your ideas; 4. Everything happens for a reason; and 5. Adjust your perspective. With that said, enjoy the rest of your summer.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Drug Discount Helping African Americans Is at Risk

healthcare providers that serve large numbers of low-income and/or rural patients to receive discounted medications from drug companies. In turn, these safety-net providers supply lowcost or no-cost medicines to the community on an outpatient basis. The program also helps fund clinics, improved pharmacy services, medication education and patient travel to the hospital. The pharmaceutical industry appears to deeply dislike the program and has spent the last couple of years doing everything possible to dismantle it in Congress. Even at a time of stratospheric prescription prices, drug companies want to gut 340B to recoup an estimated $4.5 billion in discounts each year. To give you some perspective, that’s about 1 percent of the annual US retail pharmaceutical market. On average, safety-net hospitals care for more than twice as many AfricanAmerican patients as other providers. Public hospitals serve on average nearly 30 percent African American patients. As a whole, hospitals in the 340B program deliver $25 billion per year in uncompensated care. Shrinking 340B would be disastrous for African-American communities across the country. Cutbacks would immediately impact the availability of free and low-cost medicines as well as clinics that cater to key health inequities facing African-American patients: HIV/AIDS, diabetes, hypertension and cancer. For many rural hospitals which run on tight margins, the loss of 340B savings could force them to shut down altogether. It’s important to understand that the program is not funded by taxpay-

Editor: It is well established that lowincome African Americans tend to be sicker when they arrive at the emergency room. It’s the mission of safetynet providers to treat them (and all patients) regardless of ability to pay. Unfortunately, the drug industry is working hard in Washington to make that much more difficult. At issue is a little known but enormously important federal statute called the 340B drug discount program. Hundreds of thousands of poor urban and rural African-Americans benefit daily from the program as it helps make free and sliding-scale medications and healthcare services possible. As an African American physician and CEO of an inner-city hospital system, I see the profound good it does every day. Congress created the 340B program in 1992 to allow nonprofit and public Denver Urban Spectrum Department E-mail Addresses Denver Urban Spectrum

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Rosalind J. Harris Publisher

ers. Instead, it’s paid for indirectly by the drug industry that can well afford it. I urge readers to contact their members of Congress and tell them to protect the 340B drug discount program. It’s essential to the wellbeing of low-income African Americans in towns and cities across the country – and to the fabric of America’s healthcare safety net.

Samuel Ross, MD - CEO Bon Secours Baltimore Health System Baltimore, MD

Tax Reform Energy Strategy Requested By Year End

Open Letter to Senator Bennett Editor: As an active member of Colorado’s minority community and a constituent of your office, I believe I understand the views and needs of my community on many issues that affect our daily lives, including the ongoing debate on our community’s energy needs. Colorado is a leader in both renewable energy and fossil fuel production, with natural resources that allow businesses and homes to have access to either source. But the reality of today’s energy calls for an all-of-the-above energy strategy in order to keep energy costs down. However, this reality cannot be achieved if certain interests attempt to use our tax code to play competing industries against each other through handouts and incentives on the one hand and punitive tax codes on the other. Ultimately Colorado, and the rest of our nation, is in need of comprehensive tax reform. Therefore, I urge you to help move this issue to the top of Congress’ Continued on page 26


Art Restart Investment Helps Homeless Women

T

hirty years ago this September, The Gathering Place (TGP) was founded to help homeless women and their children to be able to go to a safe place during the day, after the night shelters closed. Tagline for The Gathering Place, A Refuge for Rebuilding Lives, reminds us that to rebuild a life takes time and a great deal of inner and outer resources. TGP provides a safe place, meeting basic needs, personal growth programs, and a community of hope, respect and dignity – help members to rebuild and transform their lives. They are called “members” because the women who frequent The Gathering Place take pride in their sense of community and belonging. A special emphasis of TGP’s mission is to motivate and help members become self-sufficient. Art Restart was a logical, and fairly brilliant, concept for TGP’s social enterprise. For the past 25 years, the organization has been producing greeting cards, hand made by its members – some with commercial level talent and others with a story to tell and needing a way to express themselves. Launched in 2014, Art Restart, a non-profit social enterprise, provides customizable greeting cards from about 90 artists, who also receive services from TGP, Denver’s only daytime drop-in center for women, children and transgender individuals experiencing poverty or homelessness. Called the “Card Project,” every year TGP featured the unique and original designs of its members as a fund raising tool. Original card designs were sold to many businesses in the Denver area, and the Card Project did reasonably well. “In 2014, it came time to reinvest in the TGP mission with earned revenue that would continue to add services and job opportunities for our members who fervently want to become self-sufficient,” says Leslie Foster, president of The Gathering Place. “In the process, we have established a creative way for businesses to demonstrate a commitment to being socially responsible while directly helping women in need.” The strategy behind Art Restart is to provide corporations with an

By Deborah Radman and Denver Urban Spectrum staff

opportunity to use marketing dollars to support a charitable cause, while at the same time directly benefitting the people receiving services. Through the sale of high-end, bulk quantity reproductions of the art created by local women and transgender individuals, large companies, small businesses, politicians, entrepreneurs, foundations and organizations are purchasing cards for all types of occasions. Holidays, birthdays, wedding packages, “Thank You” notes, and more can be customized and cobranded with TGP, communicating a combined business and socially responsible message directly with key audiences. “It sends a powerful message to an organization’s audience about who they are,” Foster says. “If we know anything about consumers and customers today, it is this: when given a choice between virtually equal service and product options, almost 90 percent will choose the one that links to a social mission.” Foster has spent decades in the nonprofit sector and knows firsthand the challenges that nonprofit organizations face. Having recognized how business concepts can be brought to bear on these challenges, Foster’s team and board of directors, made the leap to take a calculated business risk and establish a social enterprise that had the potential to create a stable funding stream for the organization. “We did an immense amount of research on social enterprises and talked with our cohorts in Colorado and across the U.S. to build the Art Restart social enterprise program right the first time,” Foster explains. According to industry experts, most social enterprises and even small business start-ups struggle to reach

immediate profitable growth. Art Restart was profitable from the start, increasing net profit 61 percent by the end of its second year of operation. Even more important, Foster says, “Participating artists not only earn income, they also are learning how to produce commercially viable artwork.” The artists Foster refers to are part of the TGP community. At TGP, women, children and transgender individuals experiencing poverty or homelessness have become a community. These members are among the most vulnerable in our society, seeking a refuge to rebuild their lives – lives that have been severely challenged and damaged because of hard times, domestic violence, addiction and even sheer bad luck. Art Restart’s business goals are simple and address five key areas: Financial: Art Restart’s financial target is to comprise at least 3 percent of TGP’s operating income. Access: As with most start-ups, the ability to transact online can be essential. Art Restart launched a new website in 2015. It features an e-commerce platform, online fulfillment, full catalog of customizable designs, and bulk ordering availability. Social: Participating artists not only earn income, they also are trained in a skill that they can continue to use to earn a living. And in some cases, is

About the Cover Art and Artist

the only consistent means of income they have. Sustainability: In the first two years of operation, Art Restart landed 60 businesses, individuals, and organizations as customers. The sales team at Art Restart hopes to grow that customer base and encourage repeat business. Community: TGP’s strong reputation in the Denver community helped to encourage its stakeholders to support Art Restart. Additionally, many new clients and stakeholders who never previously supported TGP have become new donors, volunteers, and supported fund raising events. “We will grow as we touch more people, businesses, and organizations,” says Teresa Densmore, director of Art Restart. “Considering that greeting cards are often about expression and inspiration, every person or entity that uses our cards will be directly helping homeless women and their children. Just doing so may also inspire the people being marketed to through Art Restart products, to participate in this very easy, low-cost way to help change the perception that homelessness cannot be reversed, changed or mitigated.” The social enterprise business model is helping TGP generate revenue and is demonstrating that the organization can build a sustainable future. “At a time when accountability is severely-challenged,” Densmore says. “Art Restart proves that we can positively impact the lives of those we serve, help fund TGP’s mission, and be true partners with our sponsors and donors.” “But that’s not all,” Foster says. “We are also providing a simple way the public can engage and support the homeless.” Editor’ note: For more information about Art Restart, email Teresa Densmore, Teresa@tgpdenver.org or visit the Art Restart website at www.artrestart.org.

Caroline Pooler, OUI Contemporary Arts

“Caroline Pooler has been with the card project since April of 2011. She is among the artists who helped to pioneer the Art-Restart program. As an activist against the poverty and the abuse she has suffered from, Caroline partners with non-profits to not only be a catalyst for change for herself but for the community at large. Deeply philosophical the artist gravitates toward images of nostalgia, innocence and the unconditional love of dogs. Caroline's work has been exhibited at the State Capital, Denver Main Library, Redline and many other venues. She works in various mediums and loves to collaborate with others for change. Currently she studies Fine Arts Photography and Video at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design.”

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – July 2008

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The Webbs Will Host Special Reception in D.C. Smithsonian’s first African American Museum opens in September

was taken in the state Capitol House Chambers when Wilma Webb was fighting to get the King Holiday passed nationally. She also donated the last remaining pen used by Gov. Richard Lamm when he signed House Bill 1201 – sponsored by Wilma Webb – into law in 1984 that created the King Holiday in Colorado. The couple also donated programs, designed and created by Wilma Webb, when the sculpture of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Denver artist Ed Dwight was unveiled in 2003 at City Park. The couple donated 14 items each to reflect their public service in Denver.

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Webb and former state Rep. Wilma Webb will be among the first donors to host an event at the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Among the exhibits will be items from their long political history in Denver when the museum opens to the public on Sept. 24. The couple is original members of The 2015 Society, which helped raise money to build the museum. An event held on Saturday, June 4, was to recognize the group’s unwavering support of the project. Construction of the new $540 million Smithsonian museum on the Mall began in 2012. More than 34,000 items, some centuries old, were donated to the museum. In 2014, the Smithsonian accepted a 28-piece collection donated by the couple that includes Wellington Webb’s famed tennis shoes he wore when campaigning in 1991 for his first term as mayor. Considered a longshot in the polls, he captured voters attention by walking each segment of the city and the couple staying overnight in residents’ homes. Also donated are yard signs and other items from the campaign. He won a run-off election in 1991 and became the city’s first African American mayor. He served three terms until 2003. Wilma Webb, who served in the state legislature from 1980-1993, donated a photograph of her with Mrs. Coretta Scott King, wife of Dr. Martin Luther King. The photograph

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Sam Adams, Enjoying the Spot-LIGHT Denver

By Laurence Washington

comedian Sam Adams walked into Bill Cosby’s dressing room. Cosby was lying on the couch watching the Denver Broncos/San Diego Chargers game. During an interview with Cosby earlier in the day, he revealed that he does stand up too. After which Cosby tells Adams to come and see him with pen and pad and he would give him a free lesson. Then he said, “If I were you, I wouldn’t look at the screen.” Adams says he couldn’t help himself. “When someone tells you not to do something, what do you do? I looked. And this running back from the Chargers was running up the sideline.” “See I can tell already that you don’t pay attention,” Cosby says. “I told you not to look!”

Adams says, “At that point, I thought, ‘Oh shoot. I have messed it up.’ For about five minutes I felt like a 2 year-old in a high chair with dangling feet that couldn’t touch the ground. I finally relaxed.” That was 2007. Adams says he remembers one piece of advice from the now embattled Cosby, and that is it doesn’t matter the size of your audience; whether it’s three, 30 or 3,000 people – your job is to make the audience laugh. “You don’t make them laugh,” as Cosby leaned over pointing an accusing finger, and said, ‘F’ (meaning Failure)!” Denver sports fans might remember Adams who was born and raised in Cleveland as a columnist for the

late great Rocky Mountain News. His sports career begin in the 1980s as a stringer covering high school sports for the Denver Post – a gig that tuned into a full-time job. He left Denver for a year and returned landing a job at the Rocky where in stayed until the paper folded in 2009. But Adams’ heart was stand-up comedy. After the Rocky closed its doors, Adams took a leap of faith to pursued comedy full-time performing for two-minute open mic nights at places such as The Comedy Works in Lo Do, to landing corporate gigs – where he’s found his niche of working clean. Adams says friend and fellow comedian Darrell Collier told him, “I’m not going to tell you how to do your comedy, but if you keep it clean, you’ll get more corporate gigs. If you stick around long enough, you’ll see what I mean.” Adams has been able to work as a full-time comedian because, “I do a lot of corporate and not a lot of clubs,” he says where he started off trying to get work. “But corporates pay better and their audience is set for you. It’s usually a company that is having an event or something. They don’t want you offending their workers, clients or whatever with foul language,” he says. Adams underlines the point that he made up his mind on how to perform

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as though his mother was sitting up front and proudly says he rarely bombs, because he prepares. He says the temptation is to do something different every time you go out. But every audience is different. “If you got a joke and you get a lot of laughs,” he says, “keep working on that joke. Make it better. Keep working on it and find another one. That just comes with time.” But, there was one time, however, when Adams didn’t prepare, and he really bombed. He says while exiting the stage, he didn’t even get a sympathy clap. He made up his mind then no matter the size of the venue, or audience, he was going to be prepared. “I wasn’t ready that night and I got what I deserved,” he says. “I have many mini-note pads. When I’m driving, I write things down. When people see it, they say, ‘Oh you write short hand.’ I say, ‘No that’s drive hand. I’m keeping my eyes on the road.’” Recently celebrating his 15 year anniversary and performing at Comedy Works on May 15, Adams says he sometimes uses a recorder to record what he’s thinking, “Because you never know when a thought is going to come up.” He adds that he’ll think of something and say, ‘Can I make myself laugh?” Then he feels the audience will probably laugh at it too. “I’m focused on where I’m at in life.” Adams explains, “I’m 56 and I see all these young kids and they got all these things they know about – that I still don’t know about. I take my age and relate it to what used to be. How it used to be.” Those familiar with Adams shows remember his introduction about his name being Sam Adams like the beer. “But I am Sam Adams Dark,” he says. Or the familiar joke about fans saying, “I read your sports column all the time, followed with, “I didn’t know you were Black” – even though his picture was included in each column. One of Adams current shtick is the barrage of pill commercials. He says the commercials are not talking to the kids, they are talking to him. They say he needs a pill for everything. “I make fun of the pills names,” he says. “They sound like names of girls I dated back in high school.” Adams says he likes to make fun of the pill names we hear on a day-today basis. But one thing stays constant. “Every show I see Cosby’s finger pointing in my face,”saying ‘F,’ and, that reminds me that my job is to make them laugh.” Editor’s note: For more information on Sam Adams and upcoming performances, visit www.samadamscomedy.com.


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family, jazz musician Tony Exum Jr. has lived in Germany, Mississippi and Louisiana —before permanently moving back to his roots in Colorado Springs. Exum proclaims himself now a ‘semi-native.’ As a youth living in Colorado’s dry climate, proved beneficial for his persistent asthmatic condition – which was aggravated by the humid weather in the south. Exum has toured and recorded smooth jazz for more than 15 years. He now considers himself seasoned with an expanding appeal. Exum is booked through the 2016 summer season with shows in South Carolina, Los Angeles, Dallas and Detroit and will showcase at many events in Denver. However, he believes that Colorado Springs is an ideal location to integrate his musical career with a stable family structure. Businesswoman Glynis Albright and wife of jazz saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist Gerald Albright, sees Exum as “a rising star” with a definite promise to make a statement in the musical genre of smooth jazz. “He has a good Colorado-based following,” she says, “and I can see the determination to make his own pathway in the Smooth Jazz world.” With the convenience of social media and the internet, Exum enjoys the best of two worlds: the fast-paced music industry and home life in Colorado. At 38 years old, surrounded by friend, fans and family, he recognizes that being a local celebrity, with

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Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – July 2016

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By Denver Urban Spectrum Staff

the subtleties of national recognition is in itself a blessing. Exum lives in the local area, but according to Indy music website CD Baby, he was catapulted onto the national music scene more than six years ago. For example, Exum recently joined the world-renowned jazz saxophonist and flautist Najee, on stage in a jam session at the Soiled Dove in Denver. Exum’s music style has been compared to the “soulfulness of a David Sanborn, the sultry sounds of the late great Grover Washington, Jr. and silky smoothness of the late George Howard.” It’s been five years since the release of his CD The One and six years since his debut CD Finally! Exum is currently immersed in his newest project, single “She’s Bad,” and extended play Dance Close, and the summer release of his CD X. Out of the studio, Exum is committed to the African-American community and residents of Colorado through his contributions to functions such as the Burnie Leggett Foundation and the Red Carpet Charity, which raised awareness for victims of human trafficking. Exum also performs impromptu mini concerts for the senior residents of Balfour on the Riverfront in Denver. His roots may be steeped in the local community, but he projects an international flavor for the discernment of great jazz. Editor’s note: Sharon Honore contributed to this article. For more information on Tony Exum Jr., email saxy719man@ gmail.com or visit www.tonyexumjr.com.


CPRD Celebrates 46 Years with 7th Annual Dancing With The Stars

Cleo Parker Robinson Dance (CPRD) will celebrate its 46thAnniversary with its seventh annual anniversary gala, “Dancing with the Denver Stars” on Saturday, Aug. 27. This year’s event will be held at the Marriott City Center Hotel located at 1701 California S.t in Denver. For the past seven years this elegant, black-tie event has put a local spin on the Emmy®-winning television program as Cleo Parker Robinson’s professional dancers match up with local political, business, and community leaders who will perform diverse dance routines to various styles of music from past and present. This year’s roster of stars represent a significant group of civic, business, and community leaders who have come together to raise funds for CPRD. Individuals who will be performing in the “Dancing with the Denver Stars” event include: • Brian Allen, Chief Strategy Officer, Epiphany • Courtney Hutchinson, SVP, AON Hewitt • Eric Hiraga, EVP at DIA • George Sparks, President and CEO, Denver Museum of Nature and Science • Kim Locker, Director of Finance, Xcel Energy • Lisa Hogan, Partner, Brownstein Hyatt • Mark Clemency, General Manager, Delaware North • Michele Lucero, Chief Administrative Officer, Children’s Hospital • Monica Rosenbluth, Attorney, Butler Snow • Nick Metz, Chief of Police, Aurora • Simone Ross, Director of Business Development, Delta Dental • Terrance Carroll, Former Speaker of the House, Colorado • Tracey Bentley, Executive Director, Colorado Petroleum Council “It is a remarkable milestone that the CPRD has been in existence for four and a half decades,” said Cleo Parker Robinson, CPRD’s founder and artistic director. “We are especially proud of our arts-in-education programs that serve 34 schools in six metro Denver counties and impacts more than 15,000 students per year. And we are grateful to our Denver Stars, for helping us raise funds so we can expand our education programming to the Front Range by participating in our 7th Annual Dancing with the Denver Stars gala!”

Cleo Parker Robinson Dance (CPRD), formed in 1970 and launching its 46th season, is one of Denver’s most cherished cultural resources. Each year, the organization serves 40,000 patrons through performances and educational programs. In addition to operating an internationally-renowned modern repertory company, Cleo Parker Robinson

Dance operates on the belief that dance is a universal language which everyone can learn to speak. In the year-round Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Academy, people of every age, culture, ethnicity, and level of technique, gather to learn ballet, modern, jazz, tap, West African, hip hop, and Zumba. During the summer, master teachers and students from around the world participate in the International Summer Dance Institute, a four-week intensive program for dancers of all skill levels. Editor’s note: For more information, call Rhetta Shead at 303-295-1759 x14 or email Rhetta@cleoparkerdance.org

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – July 2016

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303-819-7784


First Lady Michelle Obama and Media Mogul, Oprah Winfrey Usher in a New Era of Women’s Empowerment at United State of Women Summit By Ifalade TaShia Asanti

In collaboration with Civic Nation,

the White House held the inaugural United State of Women Summit, a global gathering for women June 1315 in Washington D.C. Hosted by the First Lady, Michelle Obama and media mogul, Oprah Winfrey, speakers for the Summit were recruited

from every walk of life from celebrity figures, to political leaders and grassroots activists. Just days before the Summit convened Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama were confirmed as speakers, delivering poignant messages to women. Biden spoke on domestic violence, an issue he has always been passionate about. “When women and girls are physically abused, they live with those scars the rest of their lives. There’s been a great deal of progress, but the work is not over. We have to get men involved in the fight. We have to get them to take the pledge to speak up and speak out when women are victimized.” He also talked about the role college campuses play in keeping women safe in a space where it has been statistically proven that sexual assault is rampant; and men taking a stand in the midst of misogynist con-

versations and doing their part to dismantle cultural and religious systems that support and promote violence against women. After a plenary by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 11year-old CEO of Me & the Bees Lemonade, Malaika Ulmer took the stage to introduce, President Barack Obama. President Obama began his address by declaring himself a “feminist,” which was welcomed by cheers from the 5000 women in attendance. “Of course I have no choice (about being a feminist) in my house,” he said and went on to talk about the great loves of his life – his wife, his daughters and how he counts the strength, confidence and openness of his children among his greatest successes. “I see a future where women will lead half of our businesses and make up half of the positions in congress – a world where our girls know they can hold any job, run any company, com-

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – July 2016

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pete on any field, perform on any stage and science the heck out of any challenge. The good news is, this is the future my daughter’s generation already believes in. They believe every door is open to them. They’re not engaging in any kind of self-censorship. They’re not going to hold themselves back. It couldn’t occur to them they couldn’t rise to the top of whatever field


they choose. It wouldn’t occur to them not to accept all people no matter how they identify or who they love. They think discrimination is for losers. They think it’s weird we haven’t already had a woman president,” said Obama. He also talked about equal pay for women, an issue he has been especially passionate about and the importance of legislation that protects women and mothers in the workplace and supports affordable childcare. He said the role of Hilary Clinton as America’s first female presidential nominee “could play in keeping the momentum for women’s rights going strong.” While having speakers from America’s elite was impressive, the United State of Women Summit also created space for attendees to interact with top business leaders. The first day of the Summit was hosted by the United States Small Business Association. Key sessions were led by women executives from every field. Fortune 500 CEO’s, technology czars, best-selling authors and successful entrepreneurs were among the women who graced the stage. The opening keynote address was given by Maria Contreras Sweet, Chief Administrator for the SBA. Contreras Sweet, the daughter of a blue collar worker, shared her story of growing up Latina and being selected by President Obama to help usher in a new era of women in business. “The model for business I wanted to create was based on empowerment. I didn’t want to just teach women to buy the hamburger I wanted to help them buy the restaurant. You have to do something every day toward fulfilling your goals. If women can commit to that they have a good chance of being successful,” Sweet said. The SBA also invited Ulmer to participate in an arm-chair discussion with Sweet about the success of her company and her rise to fame. When asked about the recipe for her success, Ulmer said connecting her business with a cause she was passionate about made a huge difference. It was protecting bees that drew the attention of mega distributor Whole Foods who quickly signed on to carry her product. But Ulmer’s biggest break would come from her participation on the Shark Tank TV Show where her project was selected for $60,000 in financial backing by FUBU CEO, Daymond John. “My family’s support was a primary factor in the success of my business. My mother is my marketing manager. My brother is the cool geek guy that manages the IT part of my business and my father keeps it all

together,” she said. The dialogue with Malaika segued into a powerhouse conversation about money and specifically, how to get investors to back your project. A panel of high-powered entrepreneurs convened to share strategies on getting investors on board including Lisa Price, CEO Andrea of Carol’s Turner Daughter, who Moffitt, started her Bestselling Author and multi-million dollar bath and Finance beauty product Expert line in her kitchen. The

their vision and ultimately landing a reality TV show on the TLC channel. The secret to their success? They don’t give up in the face of small setbacks. “We view our challenges as temporary. Sometimes you fall short of your goal. That doesn’t mean it’s a wash, it just means you might have to take a different path to get to your destination,” said the owners. A panel discussed the challenges women face in

Micro lenders, spoke in depth about securing funding for start-ups and nonprofit projects. Evans encouraged women business owners and non-profit professionals to link up with SBA’s and non-profit centers in their area. “Mentorship and collaboration is key to moving a business or project forward. If you have a business or organization that probably won’t qualify for traditional financing, you may want to search for missionbased lenders who are interested in community development,” she said. The Summit also featured grassroots activists and speakers from the entertainment industry who are makBamby Salcedo, President and ing strides in women’s empowerment CEO-TransLatin Coalition that included creator and executive producer of the televised gala, Black Girls Rock, Beverly Bond who gave a riveting message to attendees, a message that had some women in tears. Bond said, “Black Girls Rock is at the forefront of a paradigm shift where Black women’s narratives are becoming more prominent in mainstream media. Our overall presence in society is being elevated. However, there is still so much work to be done to advance equality for Black and other marginalized women.” She continued, “We live in a world where 60 percent of Black girls have Women Leaders in Politics experienced sexual abuse before reaching the age of A group of African American businesswomen enjoying the Summit 18. We live in a world where our reproductive rights continue to be challenged and our rights to make decisions about our own bodies continue to be infringed upon. We live in a world where a Stanford University swimmer receives only six months for sexually assaulting an accessing venture and other forms of unconscious woman. And, we live in a capital to help business owners susworld where a front runner for the tain their company. According to staUnited States presidency can hurl crass tistics released by the SBA, in the insults toward women about everything United States, women control $11.2 from their looks to their menstrual cycle. trillion of the $28.6 trillion investable Our society remains deeply entrenched assets in America. Women are, howin misogynistic and chauvinistic norms ever, sorely underrepresented in angel that denigrate and dehumanize women. investing, venture capital and the priIf we want to see transformative change, vate equity industry. we must be the change.” Speakers included Sara Wilson, The Summit concluded with a hissenior director of Walmart’s Women’s toric conversation between First Lady Economic Empowerment Project who Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey offered insight on the ways mega corwhose visibility and bravery have porations such as Walmart support redefined what it means to be a new and existing businesses. woman in America. Their collective “Walmart and other corporations stories have moved women to strive offer funding to support training and for goals that the world might’ve mentorship of women business owndeemed unreachable simply because ers. Research, collaboration and projof their gender. ect excellence are key making a busiFirst Lady Michelle Obama opened ness successful,” Wilson said. the dialogue with a tribute to the 49 Connie Evans, president of the slain LGBT Floridians killed at the Association for Enterprise Opportunity Pulse nightclub by a religious extremOrganization (AEO Works) and organiist and homophobe. zation that links business owners with Continued on page 10

Maria Contreras Sweet, Administrator, US SBA and Malaika Ulmer, CEO Me & the Bees Lemonade Muslim Sistahs enjoying the Summit

success of the Carol’s Daughter brand attracted investors like Jada Pinkett Smith and garnered distribution through national retail outlets like Target and Ulta. Price’s foray on the Home Shopping Network ultimately made her products a household name. After recording mega earnings to the tune of more than $20 million in sales, Carol’s Daughter was acquired by L’Oréal who wanted a line that drew a multi-cultural consumer base. “It’s important to never give up when you’re on the path of success. Crises will happen, you can’t avoid it but the storms do pass. And you and your business are stronger for having survived them,” said Price about her incredible success over the last two decades. Kathleen Berman and Sophie La Montague, founders of Georgetown Cupcakes served up yet another example of successful women entrepreneurs who had small beginnings with starting to bake in their mother’s kitchen. Weathering the storms of the up and downs of their early years in business helped them grow and expand

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – July 2016

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Continued from page 9 “I want to start this conversation by remembering those who were lost and injured in Orlando, Florida. In tragic times like these, we must come together to support each other, love each other – not put each other down.” Oprah opened the conversation by asking Obama Michelle on how she deals with the pressure of living life in the public eye. “Michelle, as you know, we live in a world where we are constantly bombarded by images that encourage us to try to be liked by people. It’s a lot to live up to. Particularly you, who has had to face this both as your own woman and as the President’s wife, what can you share that will help us stand more inside of ourselves and own that space?” Michelle Obama replied, “Our first job in life as women is to get to know ourselves. We spend our time pleasing, satisfying, and looking to the world to define us. If we live by limited definitions, we miss out on a lot of who we are. I came into this situation with a pretty clear sense of myself. Some of that came with age; some of it came from experience. Some of it came from being fortunate enough to be raised by a loving mother and strong father who loved me dearly. When you hear the smack talking from the outside world it’s easy to

brush that off when you know who you are. If you’re going out into the world as a professional and you don’t know who you are, don’t know how much you’re worth – you end up counting on the kindness and goodness of others when you should be getting it for yourself.” With a nod of understanding, Oprah continued. “You’re talking about self-value. Self-value is the thread that runs through everything. It’s the thing that allows you to stand in your own truth. One of the things that Maya Angelou always used to tell me was, ‘Baby, you need to know that you alone are enough – that you in and of yourself are enough.’” “I hope that [selfvalue] is one of the big takeaways from this summit,” First Lady, Michelle Obama said during the closing remarks. Editor’s note: For more information on the United State of Women Summit visit www.unitedstateofwomen.org. Many of the sessions can be viewed on-line at http://www.themarysue.com/united-stateof-women/ Editor’s note: Ifalade TaShia Asanti is an award-winning journalist and contributing editor to Denver Urban Spectrum. For more information on her work, visit

UNC Center for Urban Education Offering programs that lead to Colorado licensure in Elementary Education with ESL Concentration, Early Childhood Education or Special Education.

• Take one five-week course at a time • Gain your bachelor’s degree and work in a paid teacher apprenticeship at the same time • Visit our website for more information

Mingle and Sip With the Stars L

By Luciana

ast month, Denver Urban Spectrum highlighted Norman Brown and Richard Elliot who will be performing at the 32nd annual Genuine Jazz & Wine event on Aug. 19-21 at Copper Mountain Resort. In addition to live jazz music in the intimate ballroom, festival goers can sample some of the country’s best wines. This month, DUS looks at the other performers who will be performing. Born in West Virginia, saxophonist Marion Meadows grew up in Stamford, Conn., where he began playing clarinet and studying classical music at age 8. He gravitated to the soprano sax in his high school years, and his passion for various types of music led him to appreciate numerous jazz musicians. Meadows took a few trips to Europe with his high school band. Originally planning to enter a college pre-med program, he considered the saxophone a hobby until he saw the way audiences reacted to him and his fellow student performers in Holland, Italy and Austria. After studying jazz with Anthony Truglia, Meadows attended Berklee College of Music, where he majored in arranging and composition. He later went to the SUNY Purchase School for the Arts, where he studied under Ron Herder. After finishing school, (drummer) Norman Connors recorded his song ‘Invitation’ and then asked Meadows to join his band. Meadows first hit the airwaves in 1991 with For Lovers Only, but his career really began one day in the late ‘80s at New York’s Grand Central

Change is Good. unco.edu/UrbanEd

For More Information: Rosanne Fulton, PhD - Director rosanne.fulton@unco.edu 303-637-4334

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – July 2016

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Station. While waiting for a train, he pulled out his horn and began playing and caught the attention of TV composer Jay Chattaway, who he hooked Meadows up with legendary keyboardist Bob James. James signed Meadows to a deal with his TappanZee label, putting him on the road to his eventual success. Less known is the fact that Rick Braun’s been a singer, and a good one (backing Rod Stewart and Sade among others, with vocals as well as his stellar trumpet) for most of his life, as well. Rick Braun Sings with Strings brings both those skills front and center. And it does so in a way that dips back into the music he’s been captivated by since he first picked up a horn. What Braun and producer/arranger Philippe Saisse have put together in this eminently listenable recording is a gathering of tunes unlimited by boundaries of origin or style. Some are familiar songs such as “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was,” “I Thought about You” and “The Things We did Last Summer.” All have been memorable themes from the soundtrack of American love life for decades. Rick’s not the first trumpet player to match instrumental prowess with engaging vocals. He’s preceded by – among others – Louis Armstrong, Bunny Berigan, Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Eldridge, Chet Baker, Clark Terry and Jack Sheldon. An inspiration to Braun, Miles Davis once said that the notes one doesn’t play are as important – maybe even more so – than the notes one does play. And that, as much as anything, is what makes this album so fascinating. At a time when the male jazz vocal field has been far too sparsely populated, Rick Braun Sings With Strings makes a convincing case for the arrival of a potential new star of the jazz vocal art.


Generation NeXt

Twenty-two year old keyboard phenome Nicholas Cole displays the technical proficiency and artistic vision of those twice his age. Cole’s 3rd release Night Sessions is the follow up to last year’s #1 Billboard hit release Endless Possibilities. Featuring guest appearances from label mate Julian Vaughn and sax man Steve Cole, Night Sessions is an exploration into all that makes Cole tick, artfully colored with the flavors and styles that have influenced his sound. A leader in Soul-jazz and R&B, Detroit trumpet master Lin Rountree returns with his 5th studio CD Soulfunky. The release features the hit “Amplified” and appearances by Julian Vaughn, Nils, Mike Phillips, LeBron and Nate Harasim. With 10 Billboard chart-topping singles, Lin was showcased in the 2012 Whitney Houston film, Sparkle, and has performed with icons including the late George Duke, Marcus Miller, Tim Bowman and Kem. Phoenix saxophonist Lebron’s debut record, “Shades,” took the world by storm in 2013. In a sea of sax players, it stood out as one of the top releases of the year; yielding three top 10 Billboard radio singles. “Groove City” featured Paul Brown’s impeccable guitar work, peaked in the top three and was named in the top 20 Contemporary Jazz songs of the year by Billboard Magazine. Combining for 15 chart-topping singles, these world class musicians and rising stars from Trippin ‘N’ Rhythm Records/Cutmore Entertainment are at the cutting edge of contemporary jazz with R&B/soul influences.

Boulder, Colorado native, keyboardist/ composer Lao Tizer— throws down a high-powered collection of 12 brand-new originals on this scintillating release of fresh instrumental music from one of today’s rising stars of the world-fusion genre. Establishing themselves in the contemporary jazz world over the past few years, TIZER has spurred comparisons of a modern twist to the 70s and early 80s heyday of jazz fusion, when trailblazing ensembles like “Return To Forever,” “Mahavishnu Orchestra” and “Weather Report” set the aesthetic standard. “Every day I am grateful for the

gift of creative energy,” says Emmywinning and Grammy-nominated guitarist Chieli Minucci (pronounced Keyeli Mee-noo-chee). With an enviable list of chart-topping radio hits, Chieli Minucci along with the late master percussionist George Jinda masterminded the ground-breaking ensemble Special EFX. Chieli Minucci was born in NYC, and grew up in nearby Forest Hills, Queens, where he still resides.  Editor’s note: For more information on the 32nd annual Genuine Jazz and Wine Festival, visit www.GenuineJazz.com. For tickets call 970-444-2202 and lodging specials call 866-837-2996.

Tizer Featuring Chieli Minucci

Driven by an explosive mix of jazz, rock, classical, jam band influences and Afro Cuban and world rhythms, Downbeat—the first studio album by TIZER, a multi-cultural band led by Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – July 2016

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African Bar and Grill Serving: Jollof Rice, African Beer and, Specialty Dishes from Africa

18601 Green Valley Ranch Blvd. Denver, CO 80249

720-949-0784 or 303-375-7835


Colorado’s Premier Celebration of

Black Arts & Culture

Celebrating 50 Years Of

By Melovy Melvin

Diversity

CBAF founder Perry Ayers(left) with Ken Grimes and festival guest

September 24 • 10 AM to 6PM Montbello Recreation Center - 15555 E 53rd Avenue, Denver, CO

Food • Live Entertainment • Chili Cookoff Carnival • Parade • Healthy Living Activities

T

Festival Opportunities:

M O N T B E L L O

C Celebrating ating 50 5 years years

For more information: Chris Martinez Call: 720-251-6525 Email: cm80239@gmail.com

he first festival took place in August 1987. It rained the full two days of the festival when a small audience of determinedly fixed believers refused to go home. The next year the festival was moved to July - not to be vulnerable to Colorado’s August monsoons. In 1988, the second annual festival drew an audience of more than 30,000. By 1990, attendance reached 60,000. In 2009, the DBAF changed its name to Colorado Celebration of African American Arts and Culture, dba Colorado Black Arts Festival, an appropriate name in light of the statewide reach. The Colorado Black Arts Festival has attracted patrons and artists from around the world. The festival has received many awards for its outstanding festival presentation including the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. The Colorado Black Arts Festival will celebrate its 30th annual event on July 8-10, at Denver’s City Park West, the fifth largest event of its kind in the United States. This year’s theme is “Origins” to acknowledge the roots CBAF visual artist

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – July 2016

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and the origins of African American art and culture that is prized, enjoyed and owned by African-Americans and others. Organizers plan to present a visual feast of color, movement and pageantry. Three dynamic stages will present music that includes jazz, blues, soul, gospel, hip-hop, reggae, and traditional African drum and dance. Noted African-American visual artists will showcase their work. In celebration of a 30 year history, fine visual artists look forward to returning to meet up with friends and exchange ideas and build community. Festival 2016 Highlights House Music in the Park. Some of Denver’s most soulful House deejays will be throwing-down to the audience’s delight. These brilliant Deejays will use their skills of disk jockeying and introducing old hits to ensure that aficionados of music, from the 1950’s to present day, will get their dance on as they listen to their favorite tune It’s going to be dancing in the park. The Opalanga D. Pugh Children’s Pavilion for Art and Learning is a fun and interactive learning experience for children ages 2 to 13. Join Denver’s


CBAF entertainment with the Gregory Goodloe band

major arts, education and cultural institutions who will present special exhibits. This year’s hands-on educational activities will feature beadwork and masks of West Africa. Children will be able to make their own jewelry and masks to take home. There will be a storyteller showcase by local storytellers and community leaders. Boogaloo Celebration Parade organizers are excited to have Denver’s renowned deejay Al Your Pal emcee the parade this year featuring the Las Vegas High Steppers form Las Vegas, Nevada, Bella Diva Dance, Samba Colorado, and colorful floats designed by CBAF founder, Perry Ayers. This highly anticipated festival event proceeds down 22nd Avenue between Downing and York Streets. It is a festive, colorful, and elaborate showcase of community pride that thrills thousands of parade spectators both young and old alike. This year the parade will end at the main archway of Denver City Park. Crowds flock to claim their spot to witness the pageantry of the parade participants. The crowds are never disappointed as they feel the energy and excitement while watching drill and drum teams, youth groups, civic groups, and colorful themed floats. Scavenger Hunt will have festival attendees of all ages hunting for answers to “clues” about renowned African American visual and performing artist, as well as questions on little known facts about the African

CBAF parade

Diaspora. In addition to being an educational experience, this activity encourages exploration of all the festival’s offerings as no stone is left unturned. Prizes will be awarded. A Community Mural will be a prominent venue within the Visual Arts Pavilion area. The Community Mural is part of the festival 2016’s art sharing project where the professional and amateur will work together to create an 8’ by 32’ artwork. This engaging activity will allow the festival-goer to learn art techniques used by professional artist. This activity is anticipated to be one of the biggest audience draws of the festival. The creative performing art Kuumba Stage features a ReggaeFest on Saturday and rhythm and blues and jazz on Sunday. Many talented local bands and vocalist will also grace the stage to make this a truly dynamic weekend of performing arts including Ron Ivory, the ArtisTree Orch/Band and Coco Brown. The Louise Duncan Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in the Arts is a community service based award that is presented to AfricanAmericans in the Colorado community for their talent and contributions. Named for the first recipient, the award has become a treasured tradition of CBAF. This year’s honor goes to James “Dr. Daddy O” Walker, founder of KDKO Radio, a mainstay for African-American music listeners for many years. The award ceremony is Sunday July 10, at 5:30 p.m. on the Kuumba stage when the festival will recognize Walker, as well as, 29 years of past recipients. The Colorado Black Arts Festival’s goal is to unite and enlighten the entire Colorado community through visual presentations, music, dance, special exhibitions and food that showcase the African-American and African Diaspora experience.  Editor’s note: Admission to the Colorado Black Arts Festival is free, but donations are accepted at the gate. For more information, visit www.colbaf.org Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – July 2016

13


Remembering Meeting

“The Greatest”

When someone passes who has been a historical figure, those of us who have been lucky enough to have met that person fondly recall our encounters. Before I met Muhammad Ali, my first memory of him was following his boxing career when he fought with his birth name, Cassius Clay. His first heavy weight championship had Denver ties because he wanted to fight champion Sonny Liston who lived on Monaco Street in Denver. I had seen Sonny at the Horizon Bar and Lounge one night and I was struck by his height, weight and the size of his hands, which looked as large as a steam shovel that extracted dirt to build Denver International Airport. Shortly after Sonny Liston agreed to fight Clay, Clay bought a bus with a banner that read, “Liston Must Go in Eight.” Clay, already known as “The Louisville Lip,” came in the bus to Denver, parked it on Sonny’s lawn and was screaming at him to come out and fight him. Sonny called the cops. Like most boxing fans, I thought Sonny and his enormous hands would kill Clay in the championship bout. But Clay shocked the world when he won after Liston quit in the seventh round. When he changed his name to Muhammad Ali and refused to fight in Vietnam, I began to see Ali as more than an athlete. I admired his political stances and the way he carried himself as a Black man. So, I was thrilled when I was working on President Jimmy Carter’s second campaign in 1980 and Ali was going to join me campaigning in Illinois. I picked up Ali at O’Hare Airport in Chicago with a driver and his security guard in the front seat and Ali and I in the back seat. Then the fun began. Ali would tell the driver to slow down when we approached another car driven by an attractive woman. He’d roll down the window, smile at the woman and when she recognized him and started to roll down her window to speak, Ali would tell the driver to speed off. When he saw a group of kids he would ask the driver to stop and we get out and he would shadow box with the kids. On the campaign trail, Ali said Carter “was the right white.” Only he could get away with that! My other boxing memories of Ali include when he fought Joe Frazier the first time. My friend, Chuck Williams, and I went to a movie theater in downtown Denver to watch the broadcast of the fight. We both teared up when Ali lost because practically every Black person was cheering for Ali while every white person in the theater was rooting for Frazier. We felt it as our personal loss. I also learned from Denver’s own heavy weight champion Ron Lyle that Ali was a gracious competitor. When they boxed, Ron said Ali gave him a real shot to win. Ron held his own, but the fight lasted one round too long with Ali once again the victor. After I was elected mayor in 1991, Ali and his longtime photographer Howard Bingham visited me in my office. Ali was still the entertainer, doing magic tricks with false thumbs. There’s no question Ali was “The Greatest” boxer of all time. But what also is unquestionable is his true greatness as a man. He was never afraid of being himself. He was never ashamed of being Black. He was never reluctant to fight for his constitutional rights. He was a great American. May he rest in peace. The Honorable Wellington E. and Wilma J. Webb Former Mayor and First Lady of Denver

Float

oc

po

c

u


t like a Butterfly...Sting like a Bee!

Rest in Peace Champ

I had the amazing fortune to be with the Champ on three different ccasions. I learned that the greatest of all times was all also an actor. An actor, in the sense that his antics and entertaining and artistic oetic rhymes were really a cover for his extreme humility and need to love every man, woman and child no matter their race, status, social class, or monetarily importance but a genuine care for a better world. I had the intimate experience of sitting right next to the Champ and discussing the writings of different versions of the bible. The Champ carried a satchel of bibles and loved having discussions of the ultimate greatness, God Almighty. I believe Muhammad Ali knew that he was a direct servant of the King of Kings.

God Bless this amazing man of men.

Chester C. McSwain, Chicago Illinois

Celebrating Muhammad Ali By Glenn Mollette

Thousands are heading to Louisville, Kentucky this week to mourn the death and celebrate the life of Muhammad Ali. Ali will never be forgotten. He shook up the world and the world is a better place. I drove by the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky Saturday and Sunday. People were standing in the rain with umbrellas. Flowers left at the center could be seen from the highway. I’ve been in the center before. It’s an astonishing museum built to honor an astonishing individual. I grew up watching Ali on ABC television. He was a real eyebrow raiser. I had never seen anyone brag like Ali before. Humility was not in his vocabulary and it was okay because he was a thrill to watch. The Internet and libraries are yet to see the mega volumes of columns, books and opinions still to be written about Ali. Few people have accomplished so much in such a short period of time. He is the greatest boxing champion in the history of boxing. Ali’s universal appeal is intriguing. He was a Muslim and I haven’t heard anybody say anything against him because of his religion. People of all religions and nationalities seem to embrace Ali. I realize there are always a few holdouts who hate everybody, but overall Ali was embraced and loved around the world. We should love all people and all religions should promote love and peace. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. We know there have been times back when things were not so great for Ali. For three years he was banned from boxing because of his objection to Vietnam and his refusal to serve in the military. This still bugs people to this day. My wife’s grandfather was held as a prisoner of war in the Philippines for almost four years. He survived the Bataan death march and endured a cruel and tortuous experience at the hands of the Japanese. One thousand Americans and nine thousand Filipinos died during this barbaric 65-mile walk without food or water. Many were bayoneted or shot along the walk. Eleven thousand five hundred Americans, who survived the walk, died during their imprisonment. Nobody liked this. Fortunately, Lyle Harlow survived the imprisonment to come back home. My brother spent a year in Vietnam. None of us enjoyed those 12 months. My neighbor down the road from me was killed in Vietnam. We wept and grieved through that experience. I don’t remember anybody craving to join the military when I was in high school. I don’t remember anybody hoping to be drafted. People went to college all the time hoping to avoid the draf,t but then were drafted as soon as they graduated. Most everybody hated the Vietnam War. People still suffer today who had to go there or who lost family members in Vietnam. Ali was just more brash and determined to resist the status quo in his day. He refused to go and paid a small price of missing three years of boxing. Many others went and never lived to come home to their families. Ali’s sacrifice pale’s greatly in comparison to what so many have given for this country. Ali did what every American is entitled to do and that is freely state his opinions. He made a determination to not serve the military and everyone else has the freedom to form their own opinions about him. Today, he is iconic. Because of his phenomenal boxing success, his charisma, his ability to entertain and put action behind his words he will forever be a world figure and a sports hero in the eyes of so many. For many years, Louisville will be a destination to celebrate and honor Ali as the greatest sports figure of all time. I agree with this and I’ll be one of those in the masses sharing in that celebration. Editor’s note: Glenn Mollette is an American Syndicated Columnist and Author. He is the author of 11 books and is read in all 50 states.


Oh What a Night When

Actors ( Joshua Ray and Kennedy Waite ) the Supporting Actors ( myself included ) the Producers (Art, Alicia, Taj, Justine. ) and the outstanding Crew. We made a great full-length feature film with a mini-budget. Hopefully, this SAG-AFTRA Film will encourage more production of film and televsion in Colorado!” Rod Grier, Actor

Producers Heather Webb, Alicia Cole, Terrell Lamont, and Justin Lewis

Hush Money

Screened In Denver

“I had an opportunity to crew on the production of Hush Money and to see it on the big screen was amazing.”

On Saturday, June 4 crowds

Submitted by Main Man Films

gathered at the Sie Film Center to attend a private screening of Hush Money, a 90-minute dramatic thriller filmed entirely in Colorado. The motion picture, written and directed by Terrell Lamont and produced under his gritHouse Films banner, attracted an audience of nearly 300 people. Arriving guests were able to walk the Red Carpet after receiving their crentials, mingle with other guests and take photos before entering the cocktail reception held in the Henderson Lounge. The film was followed by a Q&A with Lamont and actor Joshua Ray. Taj Nahar of Noir Concepts served as the moderator for the event. Lamont described the film’s plot as, “Burdened with the pressure to provide for his family, unemployed art teacher, Douglas Shaw finds himself desperate and out of options. He owes thousands of dollars to a ruthless mob boss and has less than 12 hours to get him the money,” he explained. “Doug decides to kidnap Kennedy Joseph the daughter of a professional baseball player and hold her for ransom. As things start to go awry, Doug struggles to maintain control of the situation. With time running out, he realizes the consequences of his actions could be detrimental to everyone involved.” This film was a true collaboration between Hollywood and Denver. When Lamont shared the script with Art Thomas, founder of Main Man Films, their belief in the project fueled immediate action. Thomas promptly reached out to his contacts in Hollywood, including producer David Waite, and pitched the idea of casting Los Angeles-based actress, Kennedy Waite, in the film. As they say, the rest is history. “Our groundbreaking partnership between Denver and Hollywood is ignited through its first project, Hush Money. Film producer and academic Art Thomas identified two remote elements, and by combining, has performed alchemy,” David Waite said,

Yaritza Figueroa, writer / producer

“As a female controlled production company, we were inspired to see what gritHouse Films was able to accomplish.” Carrie L. Gomez, SCY Pictures

Art Thomas, producer and Rod Grier, actor

Director/Writer/Producer Terrell Lamont

“Hush Money is an incredible testament to the Colorado’s Film industry, and what it’s capable of. From the cinematography to the post-production, every bit of the final product served the story to its best. Everything had an emotional motivation and reasoning behind it. This film is powerful, and will definitely leave its mark on the independent scene.” Kevin D. Wilson CEO – 29 Frame Productions

“Strong performances, beautifully shot, with an amazingly soulful grit throughout.” Jason H. TuckerJHTDesign Studios, LLC

“Simply put, Mr. Thomas recognized an incredible Denver talent, writer and director Terrell Lamont, and jumped across country to Hollywood to marry an incredible synergy with a young starlet, Kennedy Waite and the team behind her. This project bodes the first of many between this partnership of Hollywood and Denver that Art Thomas, gritHouse Films, and Jupiter/Xponent is embarking on.” The team behind Kennedy Waite includes: Stan Rogow, known for Lizzie McGuire (2001), The Lizzie McGuire Movie (2003) and Men of War (1994); Hush Money executive producer Harry Lennix, co-star of NBC’s hit series the Blacklist, whose long list of credits include the Matrix trilogy, Man of Steel, Ray, and Five Heartbeats; and writer/producer Paul Eckstein, producer of the popular Netflix hit series Narcos and also co-producer with Harry Lennix and David Waite on the musical entitled Revival which is currently in post-production. The cast consisted of 25 crew members and 31 actors including actor / artist, Rod Grier whose credits include the hit film, Foxy Brown, starring his

sister, actress Pam Grier. His paintings were prominently featured and subsequently destroyed in the fight scene between Vivica A. Fox and Uma Thurman in Quentin Tarantino’s classic film, Kill Bill, Volume 1. Thomas first worked with Rod Grier on a TV Pilot, called Urban Spectrum Live, which is based on the newspaper of the same name. “Grier is someone I look forward to collaborating with on future projects,” Thomas said. Several industry guests were among those fortunate enough to get a sneak peek of Hush Money. When asked for his candid reaction, chef and TV personality Keith Jones said that he loved the movie. “It was very intense and humanistic. We got a feel for the main characters Doug and Kennedy, the kidnapped girl. The team did a fantastic job in bringing it all together and putting it on the screen,” Jones said. Others shared comments were: Hush Money is an example of the “un- exposed” Outstanding Movie making talent in Denver. From the Director ( Terrell Lamont ) The Lead

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“Hush Money is the perfect example of the old axiom: prepare so that when opportunity arrives, you are ready. The filmmakers behind this tense drama have been honing their craft for years, and despite the film’s low budget, the result is exceptional. Acting, shooting, sound, editing — this is professional level storytelling, and it’s damn entertaining!” Trai Cartwright Consultant - Craftwrite

“The results were outstanding” Tom D. Audience Member

After the overwhelmingly positive response from the recent screening, producers are discussing the next steps for the film. Producers Alicia Cole Heinrich and Justin Lewis, along with Lamont and Thomas will be entering Hush Money into notable domestic and international film festivals while continuing discussions with potential distributors.  Editor’s note: For more information on gritHouse Films, visit www.grithousefilms.com; Noir Concepts, visit www.noirconcepts.com; and Main Man Films, visit www.mainmanfilms.com


Cirque du Soleil’s TORUK – The First Flight Debuts in Denver

Cirque du Soleil’s TORUK – The First Flight is a live immersive multimedia spectacle that brings to the stage the breathtaking world of James Cameron’s AVATAR performing at Denver’s Pepsi Center July 21 to 24. Through a riveting fusion of cutting-edge visuals, puppetry and stagecraft buoyed by a soaring cinematic score, Cirque du Soleil applies its unique signature style to James Cameron’s imaginary world and “makes the bond” between two kindred artistic visions that capture the imagination. This live immersive experience also bears the distinct signature of directors and multimedia innovators Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon. It is a living ode to the Na’vi’s symbiotic coexistence with nature and their belief in the basic interconnectedness of all living things. Narrated by a “Na’vi Storyteller” and populated by unforgettable characters, TORUK – The First Flight is a mythical tale set thousands of years before the events depicted in the film AVATAR, and before any humans ever set foot on Pandora. When a natural catastrophe threatens to destroy the sacred Tree of Souls, Ralu and Entu, two Omaticaya boys on the brink of adulthood, fearlessly decide to take matters into their own hands. Upon learning that Toruk can help them save the Tree of Souls, they set out, together with their newfound friend Tsyal, on a quest high up in the Floating Mountains to find the mighty red and orange predator that rules the Pandoran sky. Prophecy is fulfilled when a pure soul rises among the clans to ride Toruk for the first time and save the Na’vi from a terrible fate. Gabrielle Martin, who joined the creation of TORUK – The First Flight in July 2015, makes this her first production with Cirque du Soleil. Raised in Vancouver, BC, Martin is an aerialist, contemporary dancer, and emerging choreographer. She came to contemporary circus and dance from the unconventional background of sports, competing in AAA women’s ice hockey. In her late teens, Martin began movement training in contact improvisation, butoh, and somatic practices such as Authentic Movement, Release Technique and Body Mind Centering. Simultaneously, she dedicated herself

to training and performing ‘street circus’ with Nucleus, a collective of actors, musicians, and self-taught circus artists, and also trained in fire manipulation, stilt walking, and character animation.

Desiring more formal training, Martin attended Concordia University and earned a BFA in Contemporary Dance along with independent training in aerial arts at La Caserne. While at Concordia, she presented her own aerial choreographies at professional dance festivals through Floating Seed, an aerial-contemporary company she co-founded. Upon graduating in 2009, she continued to choreograph her own work, presenting in Montreal, Toronto, Geulph, and New York. In 2010, Martin’s choreography, ‘Box’, was short-listed to top ten in the Sadler’s Wells Global Dance Contest. From 2010-11, she was selected,

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through a competitive process, as a choreographer in four different mentored creation residencies, including: the Regroupement Québécois de la Danse – Creation Workshop for Emerging Choreographers (Montreal), and Dance New Amsterdam’s RAW Material program (New York). From 2011-2015, Martin toured with Cavalia, an equestrian and nouveau-circus production, performing aerial rope/corde lisse, bungee trapeze, aerial hoop, dance, and harness dance numbers.  For tickets and more information for Cirque du Soleil’s TORUK – The First Flight, visit www.cirquedusoleil.com/toruk.


Genuine Jazz & Wine or A Funk Above the Rest! Congratulations to Regina Jones - Grand Prize Winner for May!

Two !ckets (weekend) to Genuine Jazz & Wine in Copper Mountain on Aug. 19-21 for Norman Brown, Richard Elliot, and Rick Braun OR to A Funk Above the Rest to see The Whispers on Aug. 20

2 Lucky Winners will be selected on July 17


Orlando Massacre Won’t End the NRA’s Terror Grip on the Senate

The ritual is by

By Earl Ofari Hutchinson

now well-known. There’s a hideous massacre, followed by loud calls from much of the public for Congress to do something and do something fast about passing tougher gun control legislation. The calls for action are backed up by polls that show once more that a majority of Americans back comprehensive gun control legislation. A legion of Senate Democrats again demand a vote on a series of modest gun control proposals that in one form or another have languished in the House and Senate seemingly forever. The proposals include tightening regulations on automatic weapon sales, more stringent back ground checks on gun buyers, and making sure that those on the terrorist watch lists, or those who could or should be on the lists, be barred from getting guns. The ban on gun sells to terror suspects is the one proposal that on the surface would seem to be a no-brainer and might have a shot at Senate passage. The odds also seemed to jump that the Senate would give it serious consideration when presumptive GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump appeared to put his seal of approval on this common sense proposal. The prospects for some action seemed to look even better when a couple of Republican senators gave a favorable nod to the measure. This is likely where it will end. In fact, the NRA is so confident that the Senate will again do nothing on any gun control measure that it didn’t even bother to make even its usual perfunctory public denunciation of the proposals. It’s supremely confident for two reasons. One is that it’s seen public passions, anger and clamor for Congress to do something about the virtual unchecked proliferation of guns soar time and again after a heinous massacre, and just as quickly pass when a few days go by and the news cycle shifts to shove the gun debate out of the headlines. Even if

that didn’t happen, the polls that show a majority of the public wants tougher gun control legislation tell a soberer story about just how much the public really wants it. The spike in demand for tougher legislation after the Orlando massacre took only a modest jump to a bare majority. This wasn’t much higher than after the San Bernardino massacre last December. The other reason is the make-up of who sits in Congress hasn’t changed much in the past few years. The same Republican and Democratic senators who took varying amounts of campaign cash from the NRA in the two presidential and national elections since 2008 are still for the most part there. The NRA’s scorecard of wins with them is still nothing short of phenomenal. The NRA has a well-oiled, wellversed, labyrinth of PACs, lobbyists, legal counsels, divisions, funds, and a foundation to make sure that these senators faithfully tow the NRA line. The assumption that the NRA is basically a front for conservative GOP business and political interests is another bad misread. A big share of the NRA’s campaign dollars went to Republicans; it has been adept at spreading the largess around. In 2012, Democrats received more than $2 million in NRA campaign contributions. The NRA has gotten a stupendous return on the $17 million it spent on federal elections in 2012 and the tens of millions it spent on past elections. In the decade since the assault ban expired in 2004, nearly 20 strong gun control bills have died still born in House and Senate committees. There hasn’t been much movement in the states either to get tougher gun control laws. Thirty-three of the states have the barest minimal gun checks. A dozen others have only slightly more restrictive controls on guns. Then there’s the plight of the one weapon that Orlando shooter Omar Mateen and other mass killers have used and that has drawn more attention, ire, and demand for restriction on than any other. That’s the various make assault rifles. A ban on their sale is not even on the Senate docket. There’s no indication that it will be any time soon, if at all. Some Democratic Senators who know the score when it comes to trying to get some action, Orlando or no, on gun control, pretty much concede

that it’s a dead letter for now. However, the talkathon that they engaged in in the Senate after the Orlando massacre, and their angry public saber rattle of the pro NRA Senators to take action has shelf value in that it at least keeps alive the debate in the place where it counts the most, and that is Congress. In a more cynical vein, they show their constituents that they are willing to go on public record backing tough gun control checks. After each fresh mass bloodletting, Obama, Clinton, and now even Trump and a majority of Americans scream loudly for Congress to do something, anything, to stop the gun carnage. The Orlando massacre, tragically, like the others, won’t end the NRA’s terror grip on the Senate that makes that impossible for now to do. Editor’s note: Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is the author of How the NRA Terrorizes Congress, (Amazon Kindle) He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is a weekly co-host 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.

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COMMUNITY NOTES

Mentors Wanted for Boys Day Summer Camp

The 3rd annual Boys Day Camp or African-American boys 7 to 11 is seeking mentors who are willing to commit for 3 months. The program include wildlife experiences, nutritional meals, physical activities, read-a-book and receive-a-book. Your time, stories, outdoor experiences, skills, support, and a listening ear is all that is needed for these young boys. Have you ever wanted to give back and make an impact? Want to have fun in the great outdoors? Do you want to share your stories?

If you can commit to one day a month, call Morrise Luckey at 720366-9179 for the next orientation or download the Mentor’s application at boysdaymentors.org.

Vintage Theatre Presents Intimate Apparel

beauty salon where African American women will receive the same quality of pampering and care as her wealthy white patrons do in theirs – remain unfulfilled. She does marry a man who turns out to be an opportunist and takes her money using it destructively. Yet, rather than take these setbacks and obstacles as defeat, Esther, with the same grace and character with which she has lived her entire life, begins again. Lisa Young plays Esther. Other cast members include Colette Brown as Mrs. Dickson, Seth Maisel as Mr. Marks, Allison Learned as Mrs. Van Buren, Simone St. John as Mayme, Cris Davenport as George and Tashara May plays Mayme U/S.

Set in 1905, Intimate Apparel tells the story of Esther, a 35-year old AfricanAmerican woman moves from North Carolina years prior to seek her fortune as a seamstress in New York City. She is excellent at her trade, humble, religious, frugal and discrete – all of which make her successful and a confidante and friend to wealthy white women and prostitutes alike. In spite of her success, her two dreams – of love and marriage and of owning a

Intimate Apparel is written by Lynn Nottage and directed by Seth Rossman. Playwright Lynn Nottage received a Pulitzer Prize for her play Ruined and numerous other awards for her work. Her writing often focuses on the lives of women – African American women, female victims of war in the Congo, women’s rights and struggles for fair and equal treatment.  Editor’s note: Intimate Apparel runs through July 10 at Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., in Aurora. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.; Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $24 to $30 and available online at www.vintagetheatre.org or by calling 303856-7830. Group discounts for 6+ are available.

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Ground Rules

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

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

Finding Dory 1/2

By Samantha Ofole- Prince

A

s the highly forgetful blue tang in 2003’s Finding Nemo, she made a memorable impact so it’s no surprise she now has a film of her own. In a sequel which surrounds Dory’s attempt to find her own parents, director Andrew Stanton delivers a delightful film full of charm, and heartfelt emotion. Disney Pixar’s Finding Dory finds the forgetful fish living happily in the reef with Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (Hayden Rolence) about a year after their life-changing adventure when she suddenly remembers that she has a family out there who may be looking for her. Recruiting Marlin and Nemo, the trio set off on a life-changing adventure across the ocean to California’s prestigious Marine Life Institute. Once again, family is the key theme in this flick, which although isn’t as great as its predecessor still delights. As the film begins, a massive stingray migration which cruises through their neighborhood triggers Dory’s (Ellen DeGeneres) memory and we are treated to a flashback showing baby Dory being schooled by her doting parents (Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy) in how to manage her memory problems. But an undertow whisks her away and she’s never able to find her way back. Once she begins to recall scraps of her past, she vows to find

REEL ACTION - WWW.BLACKFLIX.COM

the parents she lost. In the effort to seek them out, she has amusing encounters with several eclectic characters that include; a cantankerous octopus, a beluga whale, a nearsighted whale shark and two Cockney sea lions (voiced by Idris Elba & Dominic West) who clearly deserve a sequel of their own. With rapturous imagery, the filmmakers maintain the feel of the world established more than a decade ago and once again it’s a stunning underwater adventure with even more memorable characters.

That said, it’s still the same episodic storyline with a blue tang replacing the orange clownfish and certainly feels like a reheated sequel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oddWuCH BmzA

Central Intelligence 

W

By Samantha Ofole- Prince

hile hardly raising the bar in action-comedy, Central Intelligence is still a fun, irreverent, laugh-out-loud film. The story follows a one-time bullied geek, Bob (Dwayne Johnson), who grew up to be a lethal CIA agent coming home for his high school reunion. Claiming to be on a top-secret case, he enlists the help of former “big man on campus” Calvin (Kevin Hart), who was once the smartest and popular guy on campus, but is now a selfloathing accountant stuck in a dead-

job and longing for his glory days. Within hours of Bob’s seemingly casual request for Calvin to analyze some financial data, things takes a suspicious turn and Calvin’s soon caught up in a whirlwind caper that involves gun-toting agents, stolen encryption codes, espionage, and numerous double-crosses. The plot may be as predictable as the California weather, but the pairing of Johnson and Hart is what garners the most giggles. As unlikely former high school friends, and even unlikelier spy-busting, world-saving, accidental partners on the run, director Rawson Marshall Thurber (We’re the Millers, Dodgeball) offers a fun explosive action-comedy flick. Referencing the stars’ 12-inch height differential is an ongoing visual punch line and gags on subjects from Taylor Swift’s dating dilemmas to lines from John Hughes’ Sixteen Candles add a nice dose of hilarity. Johnson is definitely the big surprise here. Decked out in a tight fitting unicorn T-shirt, a knee-length pair of denim cut-offs and a black fanny pack, his timing is impeccably spot-on and so endearing it quickly becomes the more engaging and amusing of the two. There’s a hilarious scene where he squeezes into a set of Hart-sized pajamas and refers to Hart as a “snack-sized Denzel.” All of this is funny and proof of the quiet career intelligence of one who knows when it’s smart to play dumb, and is canny enough to acknowledge some crossgender appeal. Hart unsurprisingly, continues to play Hart: reliably amusing with short spurts of his trademark improvisation, which we’ve seen in his past flicks. With a supporting cast that includes Amy Ryan as the CIA agent on their tail, Aaron Paul (TV’s Breaking Bad) and Danielle Nicolet (TV’s The Game) as Hart’s wife, it’s all easy to take in, thanks to the engaging performances from the two leads. The plot isn’t original, but the humor works because the characters are so likable and the humor is the reason we see these films. As much as the movie is about these two guys dodging the CIA, underneath it’s a character story about who we become as adults. The movie plays on a reversal of expectations – both for its main characters and the actors who bring them to life. By offering a snapshot view of these two in their younger days before joining them as adults in the here-and-now, the story packs a measure of truth that anyone who has lived through that time can relate to.

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Chaotic and far-fetched Central Intelligence is still funny enough to have audiences rolling in the aisles.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUMZviyl jUI

Going Back to Wonderland in Alice Through the Looking Glass 

T

By Khaleel Herbert

ime is not on Alice’s side as she returns to Wonderland through a mirror in Alice Through the Looking Glass. Alice Kingsleigh (Mia Wasikowska) returns to London after a year of captaining her father’s ship (the Wonder) around the world. Alice’s mother Helen (Lindsay Duncan) accompanies her to a soiree hosted by her spurred Bo, Hamish (Leo Bill). Alice has a preposition for Hamish, now in high power, to go on more voyages and do business with other countries. Hamish, who seems a little sore at Alice because she refused his hand in marriage in Alice in Wonderland (2010), declines her preposition and asks that she sign over her bonds and the Wonder to him since her mother had set up the arrangement. While storming off in anger, Alice notices her old friend Absolem (Voice of Alan Rickman) the smoking caterpillar turned butterfly from Wonderland (2010). She follows him into an old room filled with dusted antiques including a mirror sitting on the wall. With the door locked, Alice steps through the threshold of the mirror and once again enters Wonderland. Most of Alice’s friends including the White Queen (Voice of Anne Hathaway), the White Rabbit (Voice of Michael Sheen), and the Cheshire Cat (Voice of Stephen Fry) look glum. They say the Mad Hatter (Voice of Johnny Depp) is not his jolly self. Alice goes to his house to talk to him. Continued on page 22


Continued from page 21 Hatter, happy to see her, believes his family is still alive although they were killed by the Red Queen’s Jabberwocky long ago. Alice knows she can’t bring back the dead, but the White Queen says she can visit Time (Voice of Sacha Baron Cohen) and ask him to help her travel back in time to save the Hatter’s family. Like Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass is visually stunning in showing various parts of Wonderland, Time’s headquarters and London. The story has great elements. When Alice travels back in time, there are flashbacks and origins of how some of the characters grew up including the Red Queen (Voice of Helena Bonham Carter). There are also good moments when Alice flaunted her independence like Superman flaunts his ‘S.’ She captains the Wonder well in tough times, and refuses to let men hold her down, similar to Wonderland. The missing element was that we never see Alice’s father. They could have included flashbacks with him and her playing together and that moment before he died and she never saw him again.

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What might bother people about Through the Looking Glass and Alice in Wonderland is that the story has been done multiple times with different versions. In this version, Alice goes to Wonderland as a woman with a different storyline from the classic Lewis Carroll story. To hardcore fans, that can hurt. But if you look past it, you’ll enjoy this movie. This version is different, but in a good way. Alice Through the Looking Glass is a film that is visually mesmerizing and its famous line ticks on long after the credits: “You can’t change the past, but you can learn from it.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3IWwnN e5mc

Michael Hyatt: TV’s Hardest Working Actress By Samantha Ofole-Prince

If Michael Hyatt’s face is a familiar one, it’s because you’ve seen her in several television dramas. Whether it’s The Wire, Shameless, Castle, CSI, Dexter, The West Wing, True Detective, Ray Donovan, or more recently belting out a song on the musical comedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, she is television’s hardest working actress having been on more than 50 shows.

“I am a limitless energy,” laughs the genial performer who we caught up via phone from her Los Angeles home. “There’s a lot of stuff I have learned from the women that I’ve played and there are aspects of these women in me,” says Hyatt actress whose screen roles have largely been authoritarian. “If there is a role that’s offered to me that doesn’t speak to my spirit I just don’t do it.” On CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Hyatt plays the unconventional Dr. Akopian, a straight-laced no nonsense doc who is always armed with a dose of reality for her patients. “She’s very hippy on page, is very liberal and very clear. She is not the kind of doctor that would prescribe medication to get over what it is you are going through, but wants to talk about,” shares the actress who carefully seeks out her screen roles. “I am not so interested in the type of character, but in the story that is being told and the message and overall writing of the character and story. It has to speak to my spirit. The energy of the story is more important.” A show now in its second season, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, follows the exploits of Rachel Bloom (played by Rebecca Bunch) who abandons a choice job at a law firm and her life in New York in an attempt to find love in the unlikely locale of West Covina, California. It’s a show, which immediately struck a cord with audiences when it premiered last year due to its relatable theme. “Rachel really is the woman next door or the next cubicle and is someone you can identify with. She is so simple and awkward and full of mistakes that everyone one of us has made at one point in our journey,” adds Hyatt. With over two decades of work in movies, theater and television, the Caribbean/British actress has enjoyed a successful acting career, and knows all about the grind of being a working black actress in Hollywood. Whether

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it’s the gripe about the glaring lack of diversity on screen or the discrepancy in pay between her and her male counterparts, Hyatt’s seen it all but feels these are issues that are slowly changing. “I am so grateful to have Ava DuVernay, Shonda Rhimes, Oprah Winfrey and all of the creators and producers of African descent that exist now in American television. That is a great change from what it used to be. There is certainly more work now than there was in the ‘80s and ‘90s, but so much more needs to be done. Diversity needs to happen across the board and in terms of pay we are going to get to a point where that will change.” One of modern TV and moviedom’s most sturdy and reliable character actors, Hyatt, who returns as the gritty Sheila Muncie on the Showtime series Ray Donovan where she stars alongside Jon Voight, can also be seen in the independent film Dara Ju, a drama about a young Nigerian American man trying to balance the true understanding of being an African American and the challenges he experiences along the way. “People who need to adjust to a new life, country and culture will be able to relate to this man’s journey,” continues the actress who plays Ife Ogunde, a Yoruba mother and relished taking on a Nigerian accent. “I am Jamaican and lived in London and then America and remember having to adjust as a child to the new accent that I was asked to live in. I have learned over the years how to manipulate the sound and adjust and found it flattering when I came to set and they thought I was Yoruba. Hopefully my Nigerian brothers and sisters will feel the same way when they see the film.” Ray Donovan returns to Showtime on June 26. Check out a clip of Hyatt on CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, https://youtu.be/YlrynHRC0pA.


There’s Something for Everyone at the 6th Annual CAAH Destination Health 5K Run/Walk

Denver’s Center for African American Health (CAAH) announced it’s the 6th Annual Destination Health Run/Walk/Learn. The 5K and 1-Mile event is scheduled for Saturday, July 23 at The Pavilion at Denver’s beautiful City Park. According to CAAH’s CEO/Executive Director Deidre Johnson, “Our staff and contingent of dedicated volunteers have worked to create a morning of activities to appeal to every member of the family.â€? She says, “We’re fully committed to delivering fun!â€? Destination Health is an annual multi-generational, family event benefiting Denver’s Center for African American Health (CAAH), a community-based organization dedicated to improving the health and well-being of African-Americans living in the Metro area. Launched in 2005 CAAH partners with many health, education and delivery organizations to provide disease prevention and management programs. Highlights and activities this year include: •Group warm-up led by Yoga instructor Tyrone Beverly of Im’Unique •New this year - Kid’s Dash •Mile markers music by popular Deejays Skip Rip, Desiree and SD •DJ Slim from FLO 107.1 as the morning grandstand emcee •TaRhonda Thomas from 9News as the grandstand emcee •Funk and R&B sounds from the Diane Castro Band •Health Education Expo offering a variety of health screenings and information •Line dancing instruction led by Thrill Sergeant Mr. Charles •Children’s games and activities •Cooking demonstrations â€˘â€œHow to Shop Properlyâ€? presented by Cooking Matters •A variety of food trucks Churches, fraternities, sororities, families, schools, community groups and social clubs are encouraged to form teams and compete for prizes and awards. Customized bibs for teams of four (4) or more receive a reduced rate.  Editor’s note: Online registration for Destination Health is available at www.caahealth or by calling 303-3553423.

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2016 Colorado Beautillion-Cotillion

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Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – July 2016

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Photos by Sheeba Wheeler


Volunteers Sought to Serve on Mayor’s Commissions

Are you passionate about serving community and up to date on issues affecting the city’s Latino or aging populations? Both the Denver Latino Commission and the Denver Commission on Aging are accepting applications to serve as volunteer commissioners. Appointed by the Mayor for a twoyear term, commissioners meet monthly and have the opportunity to recommend and influence policies that affect the Denver community. Both commissions are interested in individuals with an understanding of the Denver low-income housing market. The Aging commission seeks individuals with a passion for working on issues facing Denver’s aging population. Knowledge of demographic trends is helpful, as is experience working with residents 60+. Experience in strategic thinking and planning, special events, data collection and dissemination, or communications would also be beneficial. Interested applicants should contact the Denver Office on Aging at 720-913-8456 or email Amanda.Gregg@DenverGov.org. App lications are available at Denvergov.org/Aging. Deadline to apply is Friday, July 8. The Denver Latino Commission is specifically looking for individuals with a background in finance, budgeting or accounting as well as business owners or entrepreneurs. Interested individuals should complete the application at Denvergov.org/LatinoCommission and submit it with resume to Anthony Aragon at 720-865-9032 or via email at Anthony.aragon@denvergov.org. Deadline for applications is Tuesday, July 5.

Free Healthy Meals For Youth

Denver recreation centers offer free meals for youth, ages 18 and younger Many students received healthy meals during the school year, and the City and County of Denver, through the Office of Children’s Affairs, wants to ensure our youth continue to have access to healthy food during the summer months, as well. Even during the summer, providing youth with nutritious snacks and meals is critical to “fueling” their academic success and physical wellbeing. It’s during the summer months that children are at a higher risk of both obesity and hunger, which makes Denver recreation centers the perfect healthy meal sites. Youth will have opportunities to engage in recreational

MAYOR’S CORNER

Colorado Must Be Heard on Criminal Justice Reform

With outdated drug laws and policies of incarceration proving to be a failure, the time is ripe for change in our criminal justice system. Colorado has recognized the necessity for change and has taken some steps to address it, but we must do more to alleviate prison overcrowding and mass incarceration. We must extend our reform efforts to criminal justice policies that have had disastrous effects on our communities of color. It’s troubling enough that between 1980 and 2008, the number of people incarcerated in America quadrupled from 500,000 to 2.3 million. What’s worse, however, is that 58% of prisoners in 2008 were Latino or African American. In Denver, we’ve started a top-to-bottom reform initiative in the Sheriff’s Department and have established needed changes within the Police Department. And when looking for new ways to reduce homelessness and find solutions to chronic mental health and substance abuse challenges in our community, we’ve looked to innovative ways to place these individuals in services, not jail cells. My administration is committed to eliminating these inequalities in our criminal justice system and will continue working to create opportunities for all. Fortunately, there is a chance to support these priorities on a federal level. The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 (S.2123), currently in the United States Senate, would reform the federal mandatory minimum sentencing laws that have resulted in overcrowded prisons and wasted taxpayer money. This bill would support treatment programs for inmates, reducing recidivism upon release. With four federal prisons located in Colorado, the bill would allow federal resources to be directed most effectively in order to keep our communities safe. The Denver Police Department, under Chief White, has become a model for criminal justice reform across America. It has been a driving part of an International effort to address the concerns of those most impacted by the justice system. While recognizing that there is a great deal of work to accomplish, it should be encouraging to the citizens of Denver that we are considered a leader in the transformative changes taking place. From the training of officers in regards to dealing with citizens in crisis to proactive de-escalation of force and community focus - Denver stands ready to move forward on these important issues. Sentencing reform is a piece of that overall effort. I continue to work with Colorado Senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner by providing them the opportunity to see firsthand many of the reforms we have implemented in Denver and how these efforts positively change the lives of those touched by our criminal justice system. Supporting the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 is an opportunity for Congress to enact the change on a federal level that their constituents already support on a state level and local level, and it is vital for Senator Cory Gardner to join the bipartisan group of U.S. Senators in supporting this bill. In my years of service in Colorado, from Denver Housing Authority to Denver City Council and now the Mayor’s Office, I’ve remained committed to improving the lives of all residents of the Mile High City. The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 would improve the lives of millions of Americans and I urge Congress to pass this important piece of legislation.

Michael B. Hancock Mayor of Denver

fun, such as swimming, basketball, social games and enrichment activities, all while having access to free meals in a safe environment. Free Healthy Meals for the summer are available now through Aug. 19. The Office of Children’s Affairs is sponsoring 20 meal sites at Denver recreation centers. Dates, times and types of meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack) may vary at each location. All youth, ages 18 and under, are eligible and no income requirements or documentation necessary. Up to two healthy meals are served at each site, each day. The Summer Food Service Program is administered by the Colorado

Department of Education and funded by the USDA. Meals will be provided to all children at no charge regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. For more information, visit denvergov.org/YouthEatFree for a complete listing of meal sites, menus and more food resources.

Deals Begin on Fresh, Locally Grown Fruits and Veggies

Denver Human Services and the Denver Botanic Gardens today kicked off the annual fresh foods farm stands at DHS. Every week through October, fresh fruits and veggies grown at the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield will be available at DHS offices in Sun

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Valley and Montbello on specific days and times and for low prices. Everyone can take advantage of the fresh, locally grown offerings at the DHS offices and on Saturdays at the Union Station Farm Stand. Individuals who use their SNAP food card at any of the three locations get a Double Bucks discount – meaning they get twice the food for the same price. “Fresh fruits and vegetables are a vital component of every healthy diet, but in some areas of our city, they can be difficult to access,” said DHS Executive Director Don Mares. “We are so pleased to again partner with Denver Botanic Gardens to bring locally grown, fresh fruits and vegetables to our neighbors, particularly those in Montbello and Sun Valley.” The Fresh Farm Stand will operate weekly through October on the following days and locations: •Mondays - DHS Richard T. Castro Building, 1200 Federal Blvd. from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. •Fridays – DHS Arie P. Taylor Montbello Office, 4685 Peoria St. from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. •Saturdays – Union Station, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. DHS and the Botanic Gardens launched the Farm Stand partnership in 2014 at the DHS main offices on Federal Boulevard. In 2015, more than 5,500 pounds of fresh produce was distributed into the community through the program. This year, DHS is also partnering with Cooking Matters to provide interactive cooking and nutrition education demos at the DHS Castro and Montbello Farm Stands. Cooking Matters helps families to shop for and cook healthy meals on a budget as part of Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. Also new this year is a partnership between the Denver Botanic Gardens and Veterans to Farmers. Veterans to Farmers, through partnerships with local farms like the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield, trains veterans in farming techniques and works to ensure graduates have sustainable career options after completing the program. The Fresh Farm Stand at Montbello will be staffed by students participating in the Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK) program, which is based in Montbello and works directly with local schools, teachers and community groups to provide a wide variety of outreach activities with a goal of helping young people become educated, active participants in their communities. The Farm Stand runs through the end of October.


NEWSVIEWS

McCann Cracking Down on Charitable Fruad

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Hick Signs Bill that Implements Harsher Penalties for Scammers Who Steal Money in the Name of Charities A bill by Rep. Beth McCann, DDenver, and Rep. Polly Lawrence, RRoxborough Park, to crack down on charitable fraud was signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper this afternoon. HB161129 strengthens enforcement against charitable fraud, which is the use of deception to personally profit from people who believe they are donating to charity. “This bill strengthens our law to protect our well-meaning Coloradans from criminals who prey on them for their own monetary gain by pretending to collect money for charitable organizations,” said Rep. McCann. “It is important for the penalty to match the crime and be significant enough to serve as a deterrent.” HB16-1129 is the result of recommendations from the Attorney General Consumer Protection division to strengthen the Charitable Solicitations Act. It increases penalties from a $2,000 fine per violation with a cap of $5,000 for a series of violations to penalties up to $10,000 per violation and a $3,000,000 cap for a series of violations. The money collected in fines will be distributed to charities with similar purpos-

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Rep. Beth McCann, D-Denver; Rep. Polly Lawrence, R-Roxborough Park; Sen. Larry Crowder, R- Alamosa; and Gov. John Hickenlooper at the signing of HB16-1129

es. The bill places additional requirements on paid solicitors when registering with the Secretary of State’s office to ensure the solicitor will perform in good faith. The bill also makes it an offense to solicit on behalf of an organization that purports to have significant membership of a certain type, like firefighters, when the organization does not.

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Continued from page 1 agenda to be addressed before the end of this year so that our government can treat all sectors equally. Not only are minority communities, small businesses, and your constituents of Colorado suffering from the overcomplicated and unnecessary tax code, but they are also feeling the resulting outcomes of an unfair tax system in the form of fluctuating energy costs. This affects many Coloradoans who are on a fixed income and could stand to lose on account of such inconsistent costs. Taxes should not be a game that affects the lives of Coloradoans. I urge you, once more, to encourage an agenda before the end of the year that will accomplish tax reform. My community is already dealing with high per household basic communication cost i.e. cable, cell phone and Internet services. Adding taxes, energy costs, still high unemployment underemployment and low wages makes recovery still unattainable.

Akilah Graham Cleopatra Jones Investigations, LLC Co-Chair Justice Or Else Lock And Community Activist cleopatrajones.investigations@gmail.com

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The Piton Foundation Awards Warren Village Community Investment Grant

The Piton Foundation, which is part of Gary Community Investments, has awarded Warren Village a $200,000 community investment grant over two years to further develop the organization’s two-generation approach that positively impacts the economic security goals of low-income families. This investment in Warren Village is part of The Piton Foundation’s strategy to build a community of organizations across the region that support vulnerable families as they struggle with volatile income and housing challenges. Warren Village serves low income, single parent families in the Denver area by providing safe affordable housing, quality education and care for children, after school and summer programming for youth, and family services that include college-tocareer opportunities, education and career counseling, workforce development and parenting classes. The Piton Foundation’s investment will significantly impact the work at Warren Village that addresses needs related to community development, educational opportunities, workforce development and youth engagement. With the support of this grant Warren Village will move families onto the path to economic self-sufficiency. Warren Village will be measuring the impact on each family’s economic security through 18 self-sufficiency indicators. In addition, it will track the impact on parents through academic and workforce indicators, including course completion and job placement, and it will measure impact on children’s cognitive, physical and socio-emotional ability. “It is crucial to provide single parents with access to education and career training so they can earn a living wage and get on the path to selfsufficiency. Equally important is the investment in the early learning and development of our children. The Piton Foundation is making a lasting impact in our community and we are honored to be awarded this generous grant,” said Ethan Hemming, president and CEO of Warren Village. The demand for low-income families to have safe, affordable housing, along with access to wrap-around supports and services in Denver, has increased since 2009. This two-year grant, which supports the expansion of Warren Village’s two-generation approach to moving families out of poverty through post-secondary edu-

cation and programs to bolster growth in children, aligns with multiple strategies within Gary Community Investments’ quest to impact family economic security outcomes. In addition to providing housing and workforce support, Warren Village helps ensure that all children have access to safe, affordable highquality childcare so they can become school ready. According to the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, Warren Village’s model is a nationally recognized example for creating sustainable stability for families, and other organizations across the region are expanding their programs

with a similar focus. This investment is an important step in building a regional platform of family economic security providers that are dedicated to the two-generation approach.  About Warren Village: Warren Village has been a trusted partner in the Denver community since 1974 and exists so that low income, single parent families achieve sustainable personal and economic self-sufficiency. Warren Village offers a safe place to call home; wrap-around family support services including workforce training, educational advancement, and life-skills classes; and a early learning center for children six weeks to 10 years of age. For more information, visit www.warrenvillage.org.

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About The Piton Foundation: The Piton Foundation, which is part of Gary Community Investments, is a private foundation established in 1976 by Denver oilman Sam Gary. It is committed to improving the lives of Colorado’s low-income children and families by increasing access to quality early childhood, youth development opportunities and fostering healthy family and community environments. In addition to investing in Colorado’s low-income families, Piton operates its own programs, including the Data Initiative, Tax Help Colorado, and the nation’s largest Earned Income Tax Credit public information campaign. For more information, visit www.garycommunity.org.


CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING

Employment Opportunities

Metro Caring is Colorado’s leading hunger prevention not-for-profit organization. Annually, Metro Caring rescues over 2 million pounds of nutritious food (70% fresh) and makes the food available to hungry individuals and families through its free market. Metro Caring’s diverse approach to fighting hunger includes a free, fresh-foods market, nutrition and gardening education, and tools for self-sufficiency such as financial literacy education, ID procurement, and food production/grocery job-training. Over 300 weekly volunteers contribute to daily operations. For future employment please visit http://www.metrocaring.org/

HIV Prevention Outreach Specialist

Fulltime. Responsible for providing HIV testing, outreach and HIV prevention services for HIV positive women and high risk HIV negative women. Bachelor’s degree in counseling, human services or related field and a minimum of three years experience working in the Latino/a communities of metropolitan Denver. Must be mature, willing to work on a team effort to eradicate HIV in Latino/a communities and able to effectively communicate with other DAHPP members. Send resume to: carollease@empowermentprogram.org.

Freelance Writers

Denver Urban Spectrum is lookin for experienced freelance writers. Send resume to editor@urbanspectrum.net.

More than 150 refugees attended the first Cars, Bikes and Buses safety fair at the ECDC/African Community Center on June 18 to learn practical tools and knowledge to safely navigate their new community in the Denver metro area. The event included CarFit checkpoints to make sure drivers fit in their cars properly (from proper use of side mirrors to best positioning of the steering wheel) and child passenger safety checks to ensure parents were placing their children properly in car seats. More than 1,700 refugees relocate to Colorado annually, and face new ways and laws regarding safety.

Sylvia Cordy of the ROAD (Reaching Older Adults Program) tests a driver's vision using their side mirrors at the first Cars, Bikes and Buses safety fair on June 18. More than 150 refugees attended the fair at the ECDC/African Community Center to learn practical tools and knowledge to safely navigate their new community here in the Denver metro area. The event included CarFit checkpoints to make sure drivers fit in their cars properly (from proper use of side mirrors to best positioning of the steering wheel) and child passenger safety checks to ensure parents were placing their children properly in carseats. More than 1,700 refugees relocate to Colorado annually, and face new ways and laws regarding safety.

Countdown to 30!

Join us as we prepare for our 30th anniversary celebration in 2017. Email your most memorable story or experience with the Denver Urban Spectrum to editor@urbanspectrum.net so you can be included in the celebration festivities! Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – July 2016

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Denver Urban Spectrum July 2016  

Denver Urban Spectrum, the premier publication about communities of color, has been spreading the news about people of color since 1987.

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