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the chocolate voice

February 2011

positive news that sweetens

the soul

Black History is Beyond American History

On the cover: a local artist paints the colorful lives of afro cuban slaves

On the heels of Valentines Day! Tips on making your relationship last a lifetime

Outstanding interviews from theatre and film professionals

Hopkins Barbershop haircuts with form

Find the look that’s right for you! For over 40 years Hopkins Babershop has provided service to the community of Tucson.

+ balance

cuts shampoos

eyebrows coloring

Located in the historic south park area, the shop has maintained its character and has continued to please the many customers that come through its doors everyday.

Walk-ins are Welcome!

hours Tuesday Thru saTurday 9:00am – 6:00pm

2032 south Park ave, Tucson, aZ 85713


TableofContents In Every Issue

4 Publisher’s Note 5 Dr. Sprinkles Point of View 8 Faith & Inspiration with Dr. Amanda Goodson 11 In Ernie’s Mind 15 Out and About

A stunning mural depiticing 19th century Afro Cuban slaves


6 Bold Colors

Shanda gives us tips on how to incorporate colors of the African Flag into your wardrobe

7 Black History Update

Artress Cornmesser updates us on Sakofa!

9 At the 2011 San Diego Film Festival

TCV interviews Al Thompson!

16 Anthony B. Phillips

An interview with Actor Anthony B. Phillips, Star of Superior Donuts

12 Happily Ever After

Ci Ci Foster gives you tips on how to live a romantic life!

18 All in Good Wine and Taste

13 Forks Over Knives

TSFL Coach Sonya Fakelman gives us lessons on eating healthy

TCV’s Gwen shares her experience at Orfila Vineyards and Winery

14 Keith Jefferson

TCV interviews U of A Alumni and Actor co-starring in Superior Donuts

15 2221

Ambrose Brodus, Jr. gives

readers a history lesson .


the chocolate voice Publisher & Managing Editor Gwen Pierce

Contributors Lula Hunter Ernie McCray Dr. Shirley Sprinkles, Ph.D. Dr. Amanda Goodson, Sonya Fakelman, Ambrose Brodus, Jr. Artress Cornmesser, Ci Ci Foster

Interns Emily Kohlheim

Marketing P.O. Box 211234 Chula Vista, CA 91921

Graphic Artist Shanda Pierce

Ad Sales 619.507.9237 Photos courtesy of: The Chocolate Voice San Diego Reperatory Theatre - Daren Scott Katrina Rohr - KRohr Photography Al Thompson, Valdean Entertainment For Subscriptions and Back Issues Call 619-507-9327

The Chocolate Voice P.O. Box 50614, Tucson, AZ 85703 Fax: 619-421-8187 The Chocolate Voice is

Published monthly, January through December.

The publisher assumes no responsibility for claims or actions of its advertisers. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher, its staff or advertisers. ISSN 1944-7698

©2011, The Chocolate Voice All rights reserved.

Sweet Honey Child is a place for exploration and celebration of your African-American child. Here you will find products for your special one that reflects her culture and celebrates her beauty as a ‘sweet honey child’. P.O. Box 4864 Oakland, CA 94605 p-510.473.7423 f-510.295.2649 info@

Publisher’s Note

It’s Black History Month and we’re on a Soap Box!

, -In Chain ican Read er m A an Afric Tucson, AZ

By all accounts, one month of celebrating the historical contributions that black Americans have made has clearly been understated yet still, isn’t it remarkable how many people make an effort to come together and plan month long events to honor the memory of our rich heritage? If you’re a social media user like myself isn’t it wonderful to see technology savvy individuals who take time to embrace February by; tweeting and publishing facebook postings which reflect quizzes and important timelines relating to black history facts. Through all the celebrating and media hype regarding February as Black History month, what’s still puzzling for me are some of the direct questions I’ve had to answer pertaining to black pop culture, so to speak. Let me share with you a few (1) Why do black magazines exist? Now this next one is a doozey! (2) Why is there a need for a Black Entertainment Network (BET)? There’s not a White Entertainment Network? Isn’t that discrimination? (3)Why is there a black film festival? Starting with the first question, why do black magazines exist? My answer is simply because we need to see more images of people of color portrayed in a positive light. It’s important that we read more materials written by us and about us. We need more of a variety of articles relating to issues that affect our community. Sure, there are plenty of magazines hence; fashion, entertainment that have that so called “universal appeal” however, articles or photographs relating to people of color are still far and few in between. In saying that, bravo to national organizations such as; The African American Read-In Chain on their mission to promote reading the work written by black authors! Next, I’ll address the question that I refer to as the doozey. Why is their a need for a Black Entertainment Network? Here are my thoughts, whatever opinion one has of B.E.T. this network represents progress. As for discrimination, come on now! B.E.T. features a wide range of shows from gospel to drama to situation comedy that reflect a diverse group of extremely talented individuals who may or may not have the same opportunity on other major networks. Personally I truly enjoy the award shows. Truth be told, without networks like BET or T.V. ONE, many of us resort to channel surfing to find a hint of chocolate, particularly on award shows. In my house it’s party time when an African American is nominated for their work in television, theatre or film. Recently I had the honor of interviewing three talented young men in the entertainment field all of whom expressed similar sentiments regarding their struggles, when it came to auditioning and getting their projects out there etc. At some point in the conversation with all three men each mentioned the lack of representation of positive African Americans in mainstream media. One of the young men the talented Actor/Film maker Al Thompson who has actually had a film screened at the Sundance Film Festival mentioned during our chat that he was grateful for the opportunity to have his films screened at Black Film Festivals because, in his words, “My films show brothers with good credit, living in the new Harlem in the Obama era, brothers who own a condo, or maybe two.” As Al so clearly states, we don’t see or hear enough positive influences as it pertains to black culture. In this issue, sit back and enjoy some of the fantastic interviews with some very positive and talented individuals. We’re also delighted to welcome Artress Cornmesser back as a contributor. Check out her article on black history contributions made by her very own family. By the way, have your heard of 2221 Negro Infantry Volunteers of WWII? Check out the article inside by Ambrose Brodus, Jr., and become familiar with history that most Americans no little about. Also, with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, check out Happily Ever After, Tips on how to make your relationship last a lifetime by new contributor, CiCi Foster. Take some time to check out the events and participate in black history celebrations and enjoy Valentine’s Day. Just a thought, maybe we should celebrate Valentine’s Day for a month, wouldn’t that be sweet!

Gwen Pierce


An Essay By Shirley Sprinkles, Ph.D

“What’s his name?” –yes, that’s the question all of the network reporters were asking as they frantically scampered about, jumping over people with their microphones and cameras—each trying to be “first” with the news reports they would file about the horrific massacre they were covering in Tucson, Arizona---my hometown.

For these sophisticated, largely East Coast, folks, names like Hernandez, Rhee, Grivalva, and Morales would need to be spell-checked to get right before submitting copy on the biggest story of this decade; the attempted assassination of a United States Congresswoman, and cold-blooded murder of six others—including a nine-year-old child. As painful as it was to watch the unfolding of such a monumental, senseless tragedy, I couldn’t help noting who came up as the heroes and heroines of the day. A Mexican intern to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who plugged her head wound with his hand and held her close in the position that saved her life, several Mexican good Samaritans who overcame their own fears in order to attend to wounded victims of the shooting rampage, and yes, a Chinese doctor named, Peter Rhee, who is credited with organizing the bloody chaos at University Medical Center so proficiently that many lives of the wounded were saved, including Mrs. Gifford’s, and seeing to it that professional services were rendered at the highest levels of efficiency. Few people in mainstream America are aware, as I am, because I grew up there, of the irony of these names co-mingling in the history being made today. It is not commonly known that Tucson hosts a large contingency of Chinese as well as Hispanic citizens—an outcome of days gone by when clusters of this cultural group were brought to Arizona to build the railway system that traverses the state and connects Arizona with the rest of the country. These industrious, entrepreneurial-minded people remained there and opened businesses like grocery stores, dry cleaners, and restaurants, and bought up much of the land on which many of Tucson’s existing commercial, industrial and residential properties were erected. I was not at all surprised to see a Chinese Chief of Trauma and Emergency Operations at the University of Arizona’s world-class hospital and medical center, although I’m sure it’s a job he could not have had when I lived there, even if he deserved it. As to the courageous Hispanic heroes of the sad event, my mind would not behave as it conjured up images of a scenario wherein someone would have shouted:

Wait! Don’t touch her! What is your legal status?

”Wait! Don’t touch her! What is your legal status? Are you a documented U.S. citizen, or an illegal alien? We have to know this before you can be trusted to help these true-blue American people!” If Daniel Hernandez had answered in the negative, admitting that his citizenship was yet to be determined, we would be contemplating a whole different conclusion than the hopeful one we now entertain. I don’t know whether or not this brave young man, who used his nursing training and personal fortitude to preserve the life of Gabby Giffords until EMS arrived, is a first, second or third generation Mexican. I could care less whether or not he qualifies for “temporay immunity” if he is not already a natural-born citizen. All I know is that I sure as hell wish we had more people like him in this country! Jared Loughner, by all accounts, is a United States citizen by

Daniel Hernandez birth and education-the type we say we want here. But, in my opinion, he was failed by someone, somewhere—perhaps everywhere. I doubt that Daniel Hernandez was brought up as privileged as Loughner, socially and economically, I know I wasn’t. In Arizona, the stigma of race is still alive and well after all these years. But, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that Mr. Hernandez is a decent human being who learned somewhere to earn his way in the world by saving lives; not by taking them. He is a contributor, not a destroyer. I hope that those who have harbored and spewed the deep animosity dispatched in broadcast and print news media against this segment of our society these days will step back and reflect on what the world has just witnessed.

d l Bo

th, I ry mon lors of o t s i h lack e co rit of b und with th i p s e In th lay aro d to p n Flag! e t n a w ca n-Afri the Pa

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Black Black leather jackets are not only fierce, but they never go out of style!

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It’s still winter and pea coats are still in! Keep it classic and colorful with a nice shade of olive to compliment brown skin tones.

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Long knit scarves are always in, even if it isn’t winter! It’ll add pizzazz and layers to your outfit to complete it.

Red Red makes a bold statement! Liven up your wardrobe with a “thriller”esque jacket -- it’s sexy, retro and chic!




In the mid 1960’s, the schools in San Bernardino County were court ordered to desegregate, and they did. Since then, almost 50 years later, the students of color still lagged behind. In 2005, the school board in San Bernardino Unified School District, decided to do something about it. The community drew the line and got behind the educators. The Board of Education saw the light and created a department to be headed byTanya Fisher. The intent was to create positive changes that would lead to improvements across the district. At the time Tanya had her hands full as principal of a large elementary school. Yet she rose to the challenge, took the position at the district level and went to work bringing our children up to standard. Do you know what the letters SANKOFA stands for? Sankofa is a taken from Western African culture. It means you have to know where you come from to know where you are going. On a trip to West Africa, Tanya saw the word SANKOFA everywhere, even on tee shirts worn by the people. Tanya learned that we did indeed come from Kings and Queens, and decided to instill this knowledge in the young African-American school children, in San Bernardino County. Here’s how: S-students A-accumulating N-new K-knowledge O-optimizing F-future A-accomplishments Sankofa, a program overseen by Tanya Fisher, is a research-based, targeted instructional approach that focuses on the academic needs of African-American students. In Sankofa classrooms, students are taught the same California academic standards as other public schools, the stark difference is the method used to deliver the information. Specially trained teachers create classroom environments that value students, affirm their experiences, and promote academic excellence. In December 2008, Sankofa was awarded the prestigious Golden Bell Award by the California School Board Association, a prize that recognizes exemplary education programs. When we celebrate Black History Month, the list of our heros should be updated to include this amazing woman who is doing so much to educate our children. Tanya Amerson Fisher first started school under the direction of Miss Dorothy Inghram of San Bernardino who Oh, I could go on and on beis 105 years old and whose teaching still influences the cause we are a large proud family, big people of color in San Bernardino County today. on education. When I told Tanya how proud Tanya Fisher is my niece, the oldest daughter of my we were of all she had accomplished, and asked sister Liz. her what she wanted as a reward, she gave me a shy smile and said, “Auntie, I would like to have one of your apple pies.” I made her TWO from the following recipe. MY BEST APPLE PIE 6 or 7 tart apples 3/4 to 1 cup sugar 2 Tablespoons flour 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 1/8 teaspoon salt 2 Tablespoons butter Pastry for 2 crust 9 in. deep dish pie Combine sugar, flour and spices Peel and slice apples very thin and mix well with spices. Put apples into pastry-lined pan and dot all over with butter. Adjust and seal the top crust. Cut a Author Artress Cornmesser is few steam vents the author of 3 books. She currently lives in Bake at 375 degrees for one Northern California. hour and five minutes

Sankofa >



Go From Here

Where Do We


Lord, t I haveoday, I make a mounta faith that statement. over m ins. Today I will move I have liy home, city loose peace abunda fe and I will and nation. forwardntly in Chrislive it more that I a from her t. I move in Jesu m covered an e knowing d prote s. cted

By Dr. Amanda Goodson


e as a people, a community, a nation, and global world citizens, are now facing some very unique times and situations. The good news is that on a higher level we have learned to face our difficulties together; joined in prayer to an omnipresent, omnipotent, God. So when asked in the face of unexplained tragedies “where do we go from here” we find consolation in a collective answer “we go to God in prayer”. Prayer unites us not only with each other but more importantly with God. In the name of Jesus we learn to love each other as we are loved by God. It is in His name that we lift up prayers for those most affected when chaos strikes. In early January, Tucsonans were placed at the fore-front of global recognition. In the blink of an eye without even a moment’s notice, our lives were transformed along with those who experienced the tragic events that took place on that quiet Saturday morning. In the aftermath, we are reminded to be kinder and gentler with each other in light of our differences and differing opinions. In the days that followed, Tucson was quieter. People were shaken and shocked, but most importantly, they were praying. In the silence of very of cool mornings, the warmth of the noon sun and at evening candle light vigils, people gathered to mourn the fallen and to pray for a those that were hurting and in need. We were praying not only for healing but for understanding, love and grace for our city, our country and our world. We were not alone. Nations and people all over the world came to pray with us. The president of the Unites States, Barack Obama, one of the most influential men in the world today, came to Tucson accompanied by his wife and

other dignitaries to deliver riveting and spiritual messages to honor the fallen and to move our city in the direction of healing. Scripture after scripture was cited, during the memorial ceremony to remind us that despite our pain and disarray, God is still in control. God is our hope, our salvation, and our light in the darkest times. God blessed us with a love for Him that we can share with others. In January 2011, we were once again reminded that tragedies such as this have a far reaching effect on individuals regardless of age, gender, or race. Events like this remind us that there is a shaking and a shift taking place in the spiritual realm. Each encounter and each action points to the fact that we must think higher, greater, and reach out farther, to attain the heavenly mandate that has been placed in our care. As ambassadors our focus must be on truth peace and love that speaks to unmerited favor and purpose. On January 8th, Tucson was subjected to change. When asked, “Where do we go from here?” Our answer is to follow the mandate that has been placed on those of us who believe that we have authority and power to make a change in our community, the world, and our personal lives. As the Apostle Paul taught in Romans chapter 8, what then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Dr. Amanda Goodson is the Pastor of Trinity Temple, CME in Tucson, Arizona and, Never The Same Ministries

At The 2011 San Diego Black Film Festival with.... Harlem native, Actor/Film maker and naturally comedic Al Thompson says he didn’t realize how much he enjoyed the arts until, he was fortunate enough to be cast in some really cool films and, had two films screened at the Sundance Film Festival. This is the second year that his films have been screened at the San Diego Black Film Festival. In a meeting at the hotel lobby in San Diego, Al shares the importance of black film festivals and, his plans to bring back quality film on the web.

TCV: Can you share with the readers your professional training? Al: Sure! Well, I was born and raised in Harlem, NY and, I’ve been acting for about 10 years. I studied acting at an Independent school New York Performance Works, which no longer exists, but a really cool school. I got into acting through a couple of friends of mine who were in the school play and was like, “You should try it.” And I was like, ‘I don’t know how you memorize all this stuff, it just too much!’ And they said “You don’t have to act you can work behind the scenes; production designs; art director, lights.” I said, ‘lights, that’s cool nobody could see me if I messed up.’ (Laughs) I just wasn’t into it acting at first. TCV: Would you consider yourself shy? Al: No, no! I just wasn’t ready to be in front of the camera. Gradually I got into it and realized I could act! What ended up happening is that I had two short films which were accepted into the Sundance Film Festival (“Muse 6” and “3D”) and right afterwards, I was cast in some really cool films, “Royal Tenenbaums” and “A Walk To Remember.” In 3D, Kerry Washington (“Ray”) played my girlfriend. TCV: Tell me about the creation of the web series “Johnny B. Homeless” for which you won The Peoples Choice Award at the New York Television Film Festival. Al: It’s more of a comedic reflection of myself as a New York Actor going to L.A. for pilot season and not being able to afford a hotel. So, I would crash on couches from anyone from my broke friends to someone who said, “You want to stay in the guest house.” I was like sure, we can do that” I’ve crashed on everyone’s couch from Mandy Moore to Wilmer Valderrama. (Laughs)

TCV: Any relatives in the entertainment business? Al: Well my brother didn’t listen to me, so yes. I told him, “You’d better keep your job with benefits!” He left his sales job at Xerox. He’s very talented. His name is Steven Hill and he won an award for acting at the American Black Film Festival. When my nieces and nephews say they want to get in the business, I say, “No! Here’s a quotable, and you know I have a lot coming from Harlem, “If film making and acting is something you truly want to do, you have to be obsessed with the art. People compare it to football if you want to be in the game you have to know the players, bottom-line.” TCV: Did your Mom have a hard time with your decision to become an actor? Al: In the beginning, she was like, “uh?” Then one day she was in the super market and someone came up to her and said, “I saw your son on “Law and Order” he was so good.” And she was like, “Yeah he was!” ( Goes into character in a Mom’s tone) TCV: So she’s a bandwagon fan? (Laughs) Al: (Laughs) My Mom is awesome, a great supporter. At one point I had braids and she said, “You need to cut those braids so you can get some commercials.” ( Goes into character in a mom’s voice) TCV: Let’s talk about The San Diego Black Film Festival, what do you say to people who ask, why a black film festival? Al:I think really for me, black film festivals and The San Diego Film Festival in particular which was one of the first festivals to accept my film, “Lenox Avenue,” gave me the opportunity to show case my skills as a film maker and a director. “Lenox Avenue” is more of a personal piece because, I’m born and raised in Harlem and t h e film follows three individuals at different stages in their relationships who are living in the Obama generation

or the New Harlem. We’re telling stories of black characters in a positive light, guys with good credit, who maybe own a condo or two. I’m at a place now where thanks to the exposure, this project has a good chance of being distributed. This year, I have 4 films accepted; “14085”, “Baby Daddy Memoirs” “Tilt a World” and “Three Blind Mice.” TCV: Can you briefly explain the Web film process? Al: In a preparation aspect as far as the script and structure, each episode ranges from 5-6 minutes. So in actuality, you have to be extremely disciplined because you have to be able to tell a story episode in 6 pages. Because, the attention span for the web user is much shorter. You have to be not only creative but, visually skilled and quick to tell a story or, you’ll lose your audience. TCV: What’s up next for Al? Al: Right now, I’m in Pre-Production on a new web series, a Sci-Fi film called “Odessa,” we start filming in the beginning of March. Also, just continuing to make good quality online web content for people to enjoy. I want to bring back good television on the web. Remember when we used to beg our parents to stay up late to watch all the really cool shows with the cool theme songs? “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”, “Good Times”,“The Jefferson’s”, those shows that had good catch phrases? I loved it when that type of film content existed. TCV: Me too! Is there any other information that you want to share with the readers on any of your projects? Al: I’m a big advocate for being in touch with supporters and fans so people can get in touch with me on; facebook.comalThompsonInc and twitter. comalThompsonInc. Also, check out on the web. TCV: It’s been a pleasure and good luck with everything! Al: Thanks for taking the time. After our conversation, Al went on to win 2 awards at the 2011 Black Film Festival for Best Actor, for “Tilt-A-World” and “Baby Daddy Memoirs.”

Life is a Dance


and Everyone Wants to Cut a Rug on the Dance Floor


By Ernie McCray

ith all the negative vibes flowing through Arizona regarding Latinos I’m reminded that it wasn’t so long ago, around 1994, California passed Proposition 187. I remember it especially because it demanded that I play a sinister little game wherein I was supposed to check on the status of the Latino students at my school - and that was a game I, along with four other school principals would not play. Somebody said to me, at the time: “Oh, Ernie, what you’re doing takes so much courage.” Not really. Courage, for me was driving my skinny self in the lane against Darnall Haney of Phoenix Union High, a dude who ate scrawny basketball players for lunch. Standing up for what’s just and right is something I just can’t help doing. It’s in my DNA. I mean, hey, what would it be like for me, a black man who grew up in a “We don’t serve nigras here” world to try to lord it over somebody? There’s just no way on this green earth that I could ever treat fellow human beings with such disrespect that I would ask them to prove to me their right to be in this corner of the world, like I’m La migra or somebody. Come on, life is a dance and everyone wants to cut a rug on the dance floor. Don’t they? Besides, what was I, as a principal, to say to a family with whom I had bonded, who just happened to be here “illegally?” Was I to smile and say: “Adios, it’s been good to know you”? Was I to look a little child in the face and say: “I really appreciate how you’ve improved in your school work and how you’ve been such a good citizen on campus, but I’m going to have to turn you in. It’s nothing personal, you understand. Te amo, mijo/mija. Just remember all the high fives and hugs we gave each other every day and all the wonderful conversations we had along the way and if you’re ever in Guadalajara could you say hello to some friends of mine?” A parent asked me, in that way adults who have no decent

core values would: “What are the children supposed to think if their principal breaks the law?” I told him I felt that the law is immoral, and I would have absolutely no problem explaining to a child why I couldn’t honor an immoral law. For, a moment, I thought I might have to practice what little CPR I knew on the dude. And I guess that’s what’s missing in this anti-Latino environment that’s coloring our nation right now: a set of core values that would allow us to see our brown brothers and sisters as human beings who just want to move and groove to the music of life. Such thinking occurred to me when a friend of mine said, in part, in a reply to “Knowledge is Power,” a piece I had written: “Many people actually believe that different groups-races, particularly -are of different species... Individuals cooperate with individuals with whom they identify; and they compete with outsiders.” Such a premise, I think, is right on and it allows us to hate and live in fear of people who are unlike ourselves. But, oh, what a beautiful world we could have if we could cease pinning names on each other like illegal immigrants and accept deep in our hearts and consciences that all people deserve to live in peace and dignity in a just world and then pursue, via all the avenues at our disposal, making such a reality come true. Well, the words I’ve shared in this piece is part of my contributions to such a notion of love and understanding. It was something I just had to do as I cannot take part in the destruction of people’s hopes and dreams. As far as I’m concerned there’s a lot of room on the dance floor and the music is jamming - and I, particularly dig me some: cha cha cha and mambo and meringue and salsa...


By Ci Ci Foster


Let’s face it, love is important, but it’s not enough to make your relationship go the distance. If only it were that simple. A relationship has to compete with many other aspects of life including kids, school, work, errands, etc. It’s important to understand that a healthy relationship takes a tremendous amount of effort of both parties. So how do you make it last? Trust and communication is a vital component to the longevity of any relationship. Both partners must completely trust each other on all levels in order for the relationship to work. You must be able to say what you mean and do what you say. Express your needs, desires, and goals for the future with your partner to keep the connection strong. Say “I Love You”, and say it often. Everyone wants to feel loved and appreciated. Make time for quality time. Sometimes hectic schedules will only allow spending a short period of time together. Plan something you both enjoy on a regular basis. This will give you both something to look forward to. Maintain a life outside of your mate. Avoid suffocating your partner by trying to spend every waking moment with them. Remember, absence makes the heart grow fonder. Fight fair and listen. Don’t be so quick to throw in the towel when conflict arises. Look at the role you played in it and share the blame. Be willing to forgive and move forward. Don’t keep score on your mate’s mistakes and throw it in their face whenever you get angry. Sometimes it’s best to agree to disagree. Support your mate. It’s important for your partner to know that you are in their corner and you believe in them. Do something romantic just because. Write a love letter or give your mate a sensual massage. Pay attention to what your partner likes and do it. Romance does not have to cost an arm and a leg. It’s the little things that mean so much. Give your mate’s ego a boost by paying them a compliment. Ladies, he needs to know you still find him attractive. And men, she will never get tired of hearing how beautiful she is.

Maintain an active sex life. When things start to fizzle off in the bedroom try sensual games, or lingerie to spice it up. Do you remember all those things you did to woo your mate? Now is not the time to slack off. Building a healthy relationship is tough. Making it last, is even tougher. With equal efforts from both parties, it is quite possible to have a fairy tale romance. When you place your mate as a top priority in your life, and mix passion, respect, pleasure, commitment, communication and unconditional love in your relationship, the fire will never fizzle out. Making love last may seem like a mystery to some, but with the proper ingredients, love can truly stand the test of time.

Ci Ci Foster is the acclaimed author of Sunny Rain, a romance novel based on black relationships. Happily married and the mother of two, Ci Ci resides in Los Angeles. For more information, please visit her website at

Forks Over Knives As a Health Coach I always keep my eyes and ears open to anything related to health and healing. I live in the beautiful city of Portland, Oregon and I wake up every morning feeling blessed because we have magnificent farm fresh and locally grown produce that would knock your socks off! We also have plenty of organic produce and meats to boot! Many of the locally owned cafés in Portland make every effort to partner with our local farms to bring us the freshest, least traveled produce available. My favorite grocery store is New Seasons because it is community focused and gives first preference to local growers, fishers, farmers and ranchers. When I saw the trailer for the film Forks over Knives I wasn’t a bit surprised that Portland was one of the cities chosen to debut it January 7, 2011. The film was supposed to be shown for a one-week engagement, but it had such an amazing response that they have held it over for nearly 5 weeks! I was lucky enough to get seating for the very first show thank goodness— because after the word got out, tickets were hard to come by. What makes this film different from Food Inc, or Supersize me is that it takes the work done by T. Colin Campbell, PhD, nutritional biochemist and internationally known nutrition researcher and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., M.D. and makes a compelling case for the need to eat a plant based diet verses one that embraces animals and their byproducts. Dr. Campbell co-authored the book, “The China Study” which is spoken of in the movie, and Dr. Caldwell is a former surgeon who came up with a program to help prevent and reverse heart disease. The hypothesis presented in this feature film suggests that each and every one of us have cancer cells in our bodies and that there is something that we are eating that is turning on these cancer cells—and that thing is meat!: animal protein. The reason why this film has made an effect on me is because I could see that

Dr. Campbell and I are doing similar work: coaching. In the film he takes on at risk clients who are on various medications for obesity related diseases and works with them to reverse their eating habits. He advocates for a completely vegan diet. A vegan diet includes all grains, beans, legumes, vegetables and fruits. His clients cannot consume any processed foods or anything that comes from animals. At the beginning of the film you watch these people who look like they have lost all hope, take pills and shoot their selves with poisonous drugs that you know were never intended to create health, become transformed into healthy hopeful individuals in control of their health. On a recent Oprah Winfrey show, Oprah and some of her staff decided to take the vegan challenge. They were asked to eat nothing that came from an animal (that means sea food as well) for 7 days. It was difficult for some staffers but some of them really enjoyed the weight loss that occurred and others felt much healthier and saw that their acid reflex symptoms had subsided. The most important thing that vegans are supposed to watch out for is that they don’t become junk food vegans, eating things like cookies and potato chips, instead of whole foods. It may not be necessary to become a vegan if that isn’t your cup of tea, but it is important to learn as much as you can about all aspects of health, because no one can create health for you but yourself. Once you have learned what you should be doing, all you have to do is practice it. Being a vegan some of the time is a lot better than being a meat eater all of the time. If you would to know more about the research and theories put forth in this article I encourage you to read the “China Story”. If you would like to see a trailer of the feature film please visit: <http://www.> .

chatting with

Keith Jefferson Originally from Houston, Texas 40 year old Actor Keith Jefferson returns to the San Diego Rep as Officer James Bailey in the Stage Play, Superior Donuts. Jefferson turned down 15 scholarships to pursue his dream of becoming an actor. In a phone interview Keith shares his upbringing in Texas and his confrontation with the famous actor who he hated as a child.

TCV: So, I understand that you’re from Houston? How did your experience growing up in Texas help to shape you as an Actor? Keith: Houston is a great city. I grew up in a close-knit family. And, the fact that at an early age my parents had me involved in the arts; I was also involved sports; I loved basketball and football. One of the big things that some of my friends still tease me about today is that, they can’t believe that I turned down 8 football and 6 basketball scholarships to pursue acting. TCV: You’ve had the opportunity to work with Oscar/Grammy winner Jamie Foxx who also went to USIU, Singer Brandy and Actor’s Danny Glover and, now currently seasoned actor Robert Foxworth, who was the most intriguing? Keith: Danny Glover. At 10 years old I hated Danny Glover as “Mister” in “The Color Purple.” Back in 1998, I was cast in the film Buffalo Soldiers which was my first speaking role with Danny. We had our first meeting at TNT studios where all of the actors had to read and when Danny walked into the room I walked up to him and said very candidly, “Just for the record as a kid I didn’t like you. But the role you played as Mister is the reason why I’m still pursuing what I do.” He was so gracious. Now, Foxx on the other hand, is a personal friend. We both studied at U.S.I.U., and he’s HELLA talented. It’s my first opportunity to work with Robert Foxworth and he’s solid, as solid of an actor as they come. TCV: On that note, let’s talk about your current project at the SD Repertory Theatre, Superior Donuts and your role as Officer James Bailey? Keith: The director Sam Woodhouse is someone who I’ve worked with in the past and, we both have a mutual respect for each others work. One day he called me up personally and asked if I would be seen in call backs. Superior Donuts is written by the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning author Tracy Letts. My character, Officer James Bailey is an upbeat cop from uptown Chicago who everyone around the neighborhood knows. My role is very intricate to the rising climax of Arthur (Robert Foxworth) and Franco (Anthony B. Phillips) through

the healing condition. It’s a beautiful story. TCV: How did you prepare for the role? Keith: With any character, you start from ground zero: how they talk, walk and how they function in a day. I have two very good friends who are LAPD. I get to see how they are on and off of the job. The way I’m portraying James is that he’s a very straight laced officer who is all about business. TCV: Do you ever get stage Fright? Keith: I don’t get stage fright just butterflies on opening night. The anticipation and excitement of that first show is a similar feeling to Superbowl kick-off. TCV: Superior Donuts deals with race relations in urban culture, in your opinion how has America changed in the last 10 years? Keith: Tracey Letts very intricately explores racism in her writing through the eyes of the patrons of this run down donut shop. What’s interesting about living in the inner cities and places like uptown Chicago is that, you have no other choice but to communicate with each other no matter what race you are if you want to get things done. This play brings out a new way of thinking when you mix in a young black kid with a polish guy. Have we made progress in the last 10 years? Absolutely 110%. Is there more progress to be made? Of course. There are still pockets of racism throughout the world because lack of exposure to other cultures. Take the entertainment business, although we’ve come along way there’s still far and few opportunities for black actors. Black Hollywood is very small. I have white friends who get two and three auditions per day, whereas as a black actor might not get an interview for two or three weeks. We need more Tyler Perry’s, Spike Lee’s, Will and Jada’s. Did you know that Jamie Foxx has launched a new film company, No Brainer Films? So you see, there is progress. Superior Donuts by Tracy Letts and Directed by Sam Woodhouse runs February 5 - March 6, 2011 at the Lyceum Theatre, call 619-544-1000 and visit

The Association of the 2 By Ambrose Brodus, Jr.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share with you a few facts of American history that most Americans know nothing about. The facts involve American military history. It all began to unfold in Europe in the harsh winter of 1944. American Forces and allies were slugging it out the German army across Europe when suddenly the enemy, under direction of the Nazi leader Adolph Hitler, launched a massive counter offensive in the Ardennes of France that caught the American forces off guard. The extremely bad weather grounded allied support and casualties mounted. The American army found itself short of infantrymen. The source of replacement manpower in Europe was the African American segregated support units. An officer in General Eisenhowerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s command, Lt. General John H.C. Lee, had the guts to suggest using the African American soldiers as volunteers. For the first time in history a call went out to the segregated units asking for volunteers to join white infantry men in the effort to win the war. Within a short time 5000 African American soldiers from those segregated units volunteered. The number was overwhelming. About half, 2221, were taken. All volunteers for this duty were required to give up their rank, so as not to out rank any white soldier in their midst.. This would be the first time black and white soldiers would fight on the front lines together. One might call this a test of integration. Whatever, this fact is clear, condition on the ground necessitated the action- and African American soldiers responded with overwhelming conviction. Within a few days of volunteering to face death in support of country this band of 2221 were engaged in rigorous combat training in special places in Europe. Soon they were facing some of the best the German army had to offer and they did it with distinction. The volunteer project provided substantial proof that equality, tolerance, and common sense can promote the building of a more efficient military force. The volunteers were assigned to ten (10 different army units â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 1rst division, 2nd, 8th, 9th, 12th, 14th, 69th, 78th, 99th,

2221 Negro Infantry

and the 104th). They performed gallantly with their comrades until the enemy surrendered, unconditionally. What happened to these courageous African American soldiers after the German soldiers surrendered is not pretty. As orders came for redeployment, these men were removed from their infantry units and moved to a variety of service support units. This came as great disappointment to everyone as they anticipated returning home with their highly decorated army divisions to receive the acclaim that is given to returning heroes. They had lost buddies on the battle field and they had looked forward to sharing that moment with them Then America the beautiful said, not yet! These black men of valor were improperly denied their military awards and some decorations they had rightly earned. Perturbed as they were, these men decided to move on with their lives and take advantage of those rights that did not discriminate. They knew that change would come. Although the army did

not act immediately to the call for integration of the military, in July 1948 President Harry S. Truman issued executive order 9981 decreeing the integration of the armed forces. It was half a century later that these brave men began to receive recognition for the sacrifices they made. J. Cameron Wade, founder of the association of the 2221 Negro infantry volunteers of WWII said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;We caused the end of one era and beginning of another.â&#x20AC;? When William Jefferson Clinton came in to office he heard of the plight of the 2221 Negro Infantry volunteers of WWII and he took decisive action. These men began to receive the awards they had earned. The fact that Americans do not know about these issues is not likely a surprise to you. There is so much more to learn about American military history. This is American history. It behooves all of us to become aware of the facts of American history. 86 year old Ambrose Brodus Jr. was one of the 2221 volunteers to integrate infantry units in Europe in WWII. He is currently retired and living with his wife in San Diego, CA

Anthonyb. phillips by Gwen Pierce

The talented Anthony B. Phillips makes his debut at the San Diego REPertory Theatre as the witty Franco Wicks in Superior Donuts, a dark comedy that celebrates diversity at the neighborhood donut shop in up town Chicago. Most recently he’s appeared in the River Niger directed by Ben Guillory at the Robey Theatre Company. A native of Southfield Michigan a suburb of Detroit, he received a Bachelor of Science from the School Of Communications at Grand Valley State. Anthony tells The Chocolate Voice what influenced him to become an actor and the importance of giving back to your community once made it.  TCV: When did you decide you wanted to become an actor? Anthony: Umh? I think I was around 8 or nine years old and had just seen the movie “Ninja Turtles.” After seeing it, I knew that I wanted to move to California and be on T.V. TCV: I did some research and found out that your cousin is actor Ben Guillory who played Grady (Shug Avery’s husband) in the movie The Color Purple and, who’s also one of the founders along with Danny Glover of the Robey Theatre Company in Los Angeles. Anthony: He’s ‘my second cousin and a great guy! TCV: Did Ben have any influence in your decision to become an actor? Anthony: Both my cousin and Aunt Emily Phillips who’s a set designer living in Germany sparked my interest in the Arts. I would see my cousin on T.V. And say, “Oh wow!” I want to be like him. While I was in college I called Ben and said‘I want to move up to L.A. and become an Actor,’ and he said. “Everyone wants to be an Actor, because it’s attractive, sexy, blah blah blah.” One day he looked up and I was there and from that point on he knew I was serious. I trained with him at the Robey Theatre Company where I was in two of his productions, the world premiere of the play Bronzeville and the River Niger. He’s my mentor and he’s guiding me along right now. TCV: What’s an experience that changed your life as an actor? Anthony: After reading actor Hill Harper’s (C.S.I. New York) book, “Letters to a Young Brother, my perspective on being an actor changed. This man taught me what it means to be an actor and to give back to the community. When I graduated from college I was undecided whether I wanted to go to New York and study theatre or return to graduate school at Grand Valley State in Michigan. This man is so amazing he went back to school for his masters, earned his J.D. and went out to L.A. to become an actor. He was my influence to return to school to complete my masters in Public Administration because, what I want to do is to open up a non profit for children in Detroit.

Anthony Poses with a donut

I believe as an actor you have a responsibility to be a positive rolemodel, to those who look up to you. Acting touches my soul and, I want to give back to the community and use acting as a platform to be a positive black male influence in a young man’s life old who may not have a father figure or positive role model in the household. TCV: That is so profound. Anthony: Unfortunately, there are not many black leading men and women on TV. I feel that those who are fortunate to make it to that point in their lives have a responsibility to give back to the community. TCV: What are some of the challenges that you have faced as an actor. Anthony: Lack of resources. When I first came out to California three years ago, I had no Idea what I was doing. I didn’t know the proper way to audition for television versus theatre which set me back. And the writers strike. Fortunately my cousin helped me get over the obstacles. Performing at The Robey Theatre Company allowed me to meet great actors like; Harry Lennox (The Five Heartbeats and Love and Basketball) who taught me how to navigate my way through Hollywood. Fortunately, I have had great mentors. I wish that people would speak more highly of their mentors.

TCV: Good luck or break a leg as they say. Anthony: I’m going to break both legs. (Laughs)

Photo: San Diego Rep

TCV: What’s been your most interesting role so far? Anthony: Skeeter in the River Niger where I played a heroin addict. It’s very interesting to explore the mind of an addict. We all have our vices; chocolate, alcohol, food but, I’ve never experienced that type of addiction in my life, I had to make it my reality by going into some very dark places, it was scary. I actually physically had to sniff a substance on stage, it wasn’t heroin it was vitamin C. (laughs) TCV: Did you ever experience an unlikely friendship in your hometown similar to Franco and Arthur’s characters in “Superior Donuts?” Anthony: Yes. There was a security officer when I was in the 8th grade that was very tough on me. He was this white old man like Arthur that really took a liking to me. I used to get into trouble and he had the power to expel me but, he never did. He saw the potential in me. He sat me down after I had gotten into a fight and said, “Your life can end with the flick of my pen.” Because if when your expelled from school that goes on your record.” When I graduated, I gave him the biggest hug. I went on to attend college on a football scholarship. TCV: Did you use that relationship to draw on your role as Franco Wicks? Anthony: Yes. You have people that walk into your life who on the surface may not appear to have an influence on you but, at the end of the day they have your back. TCV: How was it working with Robert Foxworth? Anthony: It’s a treat to share the stage with him and I’m very humbled, to be in his presence. This year makes 50 years for him in equity, he’s given me so many notes. TCV: Is there anything else that you would like to share with the readers about the production Superior Donuts? Anthony: Superior Donuts is going to be a treat, pun intended! The cast and crew at the SD Rep is the best! I cannot be in a better situation. Those who come out will, laugh, cry and be touched by the story of Franco, Arthur and all of the characters. The people that you are going to encounter in this donut shop are your neighbors, people that you can relate to everyday. Franco is an interesting and witty guy. On the surface he may appear to be different but it’s a treat playing this guy.

All In Good Wine ...and Taste! Here’s a little interesting trivia for you, did you know that San Diego was California’s first wine country? Interestingly enough, Father Junipero Serra who established San Diego’s first mission, San Diego de Alcala planted vines there in 1769. Well, just 23 miles outside of San Diego “the original wine country” there’s Orfila Vinyards and Winery. Now, I’m not even close to being a wine connoisseur but, every now and then I love a glass of Moscato or Merlot. And let’s just say that the Merlot at Orfila Vineyards is primo! As one of San Diego County’s best kept secrets, the charming and cozy boutique winery is tucked away in the hills of the San Pasqual Valley just a quick trip down the road from the Wild Animal Park in Escondido. I had the opportunity to experience this quaint winery one beautiful Sunday afternoon in January, when the owner, 84 year old Ambassador Alejandro Orfila and a team of experts in the field held a wine press dinner. The picturesque estate overlooks 70 acres of premium wine grapes that have been growing since 1973. The group started off inside the tasting room you where you will find decorum of rich colored floral displayed elegantly around wine selections, olives and vinaigrettes. Moderately priced Orfila is a great place for tasting tours, corporate and special events, private parties, weddings and small intimate gatherings. Make sure to check out the website and contact Special Events Manager, Steffi Habermann for bookings at Next, the new winemaker of 2010, Justin Mund who recently joined the team from Sonoma County wine country had a wealth of winemaking experiences to share throughout the dinner presentation which included some tantalizing wine pairing tips such as a favorite of mine; the California Tawny Port paired with the to die for dessert; New Orleans Bread Pudding smoldered in a warm brandy sauce. The entire ravishing meal was prepared from top to bottom in true elegant style starting with the exquisite table setting to the presentation of each individual entree by New Orleans native Mark Kuhlmann, Owner/Chef of Culinary Underground, whose motto is, reuniting the world one meal at a time. Kuhlmann’s mouth watering menu started off with a fresh organic arugula salad with pears, prosciutto and aged gouda, paired with coastal cuvee chardonnay. Next another favorite of the evening was the delicious fresh mushroom and watercress soup paired with a 2007 Estate Sangiovese. The final course prior to dessert which I’ve already mentioned was, Tuscan Style Roast Port stuffed with rosemary, sage and garlic. The sides were, farm fresh baby veggies and mini fingerling potatoes paired with a 2008 Estate Ambassador’s Reserve Merlot. Whenever you hear that saying, it’s all in the presentation, I’m here to say at Orfila Vinyard and Winery it most certainly is. This beautiful winery not only exceeded my expectations in good wine and taste but, the overall winery tour experience.


Abo ut

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Want to know what’s going on in your city? Check out some fun events coming up! 1



1. “Superior Donuts”

February 5-March 6, 2011 In the Lyceum Space Horton plaza, SD, CA

2. Reading of: “Go, Tell Michelle”

February 8, 2011, 5:15 Reception and mingle w/ the authors, 6:00 pm reading The 10th Avenue Theatre, 930 10th Avenue, San Diego, CA RSVP: or (619)342-7395 Admission: Bring wine, soda, cheese, crackers, or other munchies: or make a $10 donation at the author’s table


February 11, 2011 at 8:00p Dream Catcher at Viejas VIP Floor $41.00, Balcony $31.00, GA Standing Room Only



4. Southwestern College Presents An African American History Month “Saturday of Celebration February 12, 2011; 10am- 2pm Southwestern College, 900 Otay Lakes Road, Chula Vista, CA For additional info. Contact Steve Tadlock, or (619)-2166631

5. Southwest Soul Circuit presents... O ur year long celebration! Celebrating 5 years of 110 Church Street, Tucson, AZ February 13, 2011-Valentine’s Concert For additional info: (520)-829-1129

6. Pilgrim Rest Black History Celebration 2011 February 19, 2011; exhibits 9am-2pm, food 11:30am-1:30pm, programs 2pm5pm Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church 2403 S. Martin Ave. Tucson, Arizona


7. 17th annual African American ReadIn Chain Tucson Chapter February 20, 2011, 3-5pm Rincon Congregational Church 122 North Craycroft Rd. Tucson, Arizona Contact President, Mildred Wilson at (520)-747-9972

8. Umoja Ball and Dinner Buffet Celebrating Black History February 19, 2011; ceremony and dinner buffet 7:30-9pm, program and dancing until 2am


Prices: $47 advance and $50 after Feb. 18 and at door Attire: semi-formal/formal Bay View Ballroom, Marine Corps Recruiting Depot, San Diego’s RSVP tickets and info. Gloria Pettis (619)-542-5546

9.”Legacies of Africa” A Black History Month Celebration- Dance, Music, and Culture February 25-26, 2011; 7:30pm. Feb. 26 @ 3pm Matinee, Dunbar Culture Center, 325 W. 2nd Street, Tucson, AZ. Tickets: $10-advanced, $12 at the door Call Barbea (520)-628-7785 for tickets and info.

10. San Diego Heritage Weekend Celebration

February 25-27, 2011 Market Creek Plaza Festival Park 342 Euclid Ave. For more Info: (619)-262-0334 Website:

11. 19th Annual Kuumba Fest “Black To Conscious” February 25-27, 2011, (see website for times and activities) Lyceum Theatre, 79 Horton Plaza, Downtown San Diego Pricing and Registration info. www. Contact: (619)-252-6314 or

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February 2011 Black History Month  

The Chocolate Voice Magazine focusing on inspirational stories pertaining to African American Culture

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