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Celebrating Diversity In The Entertainment Industry

MONTHLY

®

BK FULTON

December 2019

A man of integrity

LOU BARON New Breed of Homo sapiens

VANESSA WILLIAMS

THE GRACE, BEAUTY AND GRIT The American Dream Personified:

Eszylfie Taylor

HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 1


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22325 S Summit Ridge Circle Chatsworth CA 91311– sold at $2,150,000 – 6 bed 7 bathrooms

103174 _ QUALITY PROPERTIES

2 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY


716 21st Street Santa Monica CA 90402 – Listed at $ 3.500,000 - 3 bed 2 bath

20445 W Esmerelda Ln, Porter Ranch 91326 – Listed at $1,295,000 – 4 Bed 4 Bath

19665 Nashville Street – Chatsworth CA 91311 – Sold at $1,315,000 – 4 bed 4 bath

HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 3


PUBLISHER/EDITOR IN CHIEF Prather Jackson

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

W

elcome readers to our Film Festival edition of Hollywood Weekly Magazine. This Issue of HWM is celebrating our 6th Annual HW Film Festival that took place on November 2nd at Warner Bros. Studio. With brilliant short films, animation and feature length masterpieces from Akon, Andy Kindler and Zachary Quinto, this year’s HWM Film Festival went down in Jackson Publishing history as our GREATEST Film Festival to date. We send out a Special Thank You to Warner Bros. Studio for their graciousness and hospitality in hosting our 6th Annual Film Festival. One of the most beautiful moments of our Film Festival came at the very end, when Eric Zuley was honoring his father, Jim Zuley. Everyone got out of their seats and approached the podium in front of the stage, trying to get near this great man. One of our esteemed guests, Nigerian Director Jeta Amata, our Film Festival Winner for Best Feature (“Road to Redemption”), threaded his way through a crowd of guests and landed right in front of the podium. Jeta Amata and Jim Zuley are from two different parts of the world, and they probably would have never come together if it hadn’t been for our HWM Film Festival. But Jeta and Jim Zuley were there together. And they discovered they have a lot of respect for each other. At the podium, Jeta reached out his hand to Jim Zuley. Seeing Jeta’s extended hand, Jim Zuley immediately moved toward Jeta, shaking his hand vigorously, and these two men shared an incredible moment of artistic support, compassion and humanity. But this Issue of Hollywood Weekly Magazine features Mr. Ezylfie Taylor. He’s one of those people who immediately grabs your attention. He commands your respect and connects with clients. He provides meaningful financial advice. Taylor is, in a word, a superstar in the financial brokerage, investment and insurance industries. As always, we thank you, our readers,for your continuing support. We are who we are because of YOU.

Anthony Ewart Associate Editor

Celebrating Diversity In The Entertainment Industry

MONTHLY

Wishing you all peace and happiness!

®

BK FULTON

December 2019

A man of integrity

LOU BARON

New Breed of Homo sapiens

VANESSA WILLIAMS

THE GRACE, BEAUTY AND GRIT The American Dream Personified:

Eszylfie Taylor @ANTHONYEWART @ALEXANDRINEPOET

CALL: (424)371-9900 EMAIL: HollywoodWeekly@gmail.com

VICE PRESIDENT Bernice Harris Michael D. Coxson SENIOR BOOK CURATOR Jane Ubell-Meyer ASSOCIATE EDITOR Anthony Ewart DIRECTOR OF CREATIVE SERVICES & ASST TO THE PUBLISHER Jordan O'Quinn-Campbell MARKETING & SALES Launy Rhem CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Barbara Burke Victor Migalchan Alex A. Kecskes Rebecca Miller ART DIRECTOR Damian Aragon GRAPHIC DESIGNER Clemmy Le Busque PRODUCTION DESIGNER Denise Chavez VIDEO EDITOR/ PRODUCER Israel Aleman CHINA OPERATIONS Victor Migalchan victor@hollywoodweeklymagazine.com (213) 220-3052 (424) 371-9900 INDIA OPERATION Ike Sinha Country Director Art4Peace Awards Hollywood Weekly Magazine B1/1565 Vasantkunj New Delhi-110 070 Mobile +919599068592 ASIA OPERATION Joyce Penas Pilarsky HWM Asia Ambassador Email: info@joycepilarsky.com Bench Bello HWM Asia Operations hollywoodmagazineusa@gmail.com Mobile +639273895559 DISTRIBUTORS CoMag MADER NEWS NEWS INFLIGHT, INC


MONTHLY

DECEMBER 2019

8

The Yanfan Foundation

12 VANESSA WILLIAMS 16 BK FULTON 28 A Man of Integrity... LOU BARON 34 New Breed of Homosapiens ESZYLFIE TAYLOR The American Dream Personified

Grace, Beauty and Grit


6 ANNUAL HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY FILM FESTIVAL STELLAR GALA TH

BY JORDAN O’QUINN-CAMPBELL On November 2, 2019 Hollywood Weekly Magazine hosted its 6th annual Film Festival at the historic Warner Bros. Studio in Burbank. The event attracted people from around the world including Nigeria, the United Kingdom, and China. There were several foreign dignitaries and talented actors, producers, and screenwriters in attendance. Some of the special guests included: President Goodluck Jonathan, Zik Zulu Okafor, Ejike Asiegbu, Producer/Writer Egor Efiok, Director Jeta Amata, Vanessa Martini, Joan Brown McCarthy, Producer Tess Cacciatore, Akon, Reno Omokri (“Most Outstanding Humanitarian Cause” Award Recipient), Regina Daniels (“Most Outstanding Child Star Outside of the USA” Award Recipient”, and several other stars. Awards were given to the best shorts, features, screenplays, comedies, thrillers, dramas, and science fiction films. The festival was hosted by Eric Zuley and Dante. Eric Zuley, as you know now from our HWM Cover, is the son of Jim Zuley, who is featured on the Cover of

6 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY

this HWM edition. Jim and Eric created eZWay Promotions, which is a company that prides itself in being the top ten social media influencers in the world. They are well on their way to becoming major International Promoters. Our Hollywood Weekly Film Festival began with a red carpet and lunch at nearby Claim Jumpers in the TNT building, near Warner Bros. Studio in Burbank. Everyone arrived, chatting over lunch and drinks. Networking and business connections were the buzz of conversations; everyone talking about their upcoming film and television projects. People were also able to rub shoulders with foreign dignitaries and international stars. Everyone was in high anticipation for the award ceremony. Actors, producers, and screenwriters were interviewed about their films and photographed on our TWO Red Carpets! One red carpet and step-and-repeat was located at our pre-Award lunch and another Red Carpet and step-and-repeat continued at Warner Bros. Studios.


Once the red carpet and interviews were over everyone made their way into the lavish main theatre venue of Warner Bros. Studio. The theatre contained a huge screen with seating accommodations for over 200 guests -- and we SOLD OUT! There were 30-minute panels that included a Q&A by Film Festival Winners like Writer/Director Alycia Cooper and the cast for her Award-winning short film “Trade,” and Director Jeta Amata and Producers Egor Efiok and Tess Cacciatore for their Best Feature Film Winner “Road to Redemption.” The amazing night ended with Host Eric Zuley Honoring his father, Jim Zuley, with a Special Award from Hollywood Weekly for all the work he’s done in helping his son, Eric, build his eZWay Empire, and being the kind of Father we can all love and admire. This was a night of Film, Fun and Love, which was our goal at Hollywood Weekly Magazine right from the start. Mission Accomplished!

Photos By Daler Olimjanov


The Yanfan Foundation Sponsor of the 6th Annual Hollywood Weekly Fiilm Festival November 2, 2019

The first Westerner Branded at the Legendary Shaolin Temple of China in Henan Province, the main temple of the Shaolin school of Buddhism to this day and the birth place of Kung Fu. Born in the southern port town of Brindisi, Italy, Franco Testini, whose official title is His Majesty Abbot Shi Yanfan, acrossed the Mediterranean into the Shaolin Temple in Henan Province, China, and became the Shaolin Temple’s first ever appointed Western Ambassador. Held by the Chinese government with the approval of the National Religious Affairs Administration and the China Buddhist Association, Shaolin Temple in Henan partially revived an ancient ceremony that had not been practiced for over 300 years. His Majesty Abbot Shi Yanfan was at the helm of a long and grueling ceremony, after which he was officially anointed with the title of an Abbot. On May 24, 2007, many highly respected and honorary Abbots were called to witness this historical event. On the last day of the ceremony His Majesty Abbot Shi Yanfan was chosen to become the first ever non-Asian to receive the ancient ceremonial branding signs that consisted of searing nine circles on the top of the head with sticks of incense - called the Jieba. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the 2,500 year old Shaolin Temple in Henan Province, China has unveiled its secrets that help promote natural self-healing of the body, increase inner strength, and reduce stress and pain. An unprecedented tribute to the most ancient martial arts and Eastern philosophy in the world. Today, in order to spread the legendary Shaolin Culture around the world His Majesty Abbot Shi Yanfan was commissioned to be the Cultural Ambassador of Songshan Shaolin Temple Henan Province, China’s to promote the understanding, the revival, and preservation of legendary Shaolin heritaDge on a global scale.


10 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY


HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 11


The American Dream Personified:

Eszylfie Taylor H

e’s one of those people who immediately grabs your attention. He commands your respect and connects with clients. He provides meaningful financial advice. Eszylfie Taylor grew up in Pasadena, California where he has built his highly respected and phenomenally successful business, Taylor Insurance and Financial Services. Taylor gives back to his beloved community and makes a difference there, both with regard to improving people’s personal and financial lives and to supporting people in the city that he loves so much. Taylor is, in a word, a superstar in the financial brokerage, investment and insurance industries. He holds the Series 6, 63, 65, and 7 licenses as well as both a life and health insurance license. He provides useful and practical investment advice to individuals, business owners and high-net worth families. His practice serves 1,500 clients - and counting, including Hall of Fame athletes and celebrities. “I offer life, health, long term care and long-term disability policies,” Taylor told Hollywood Weekly Magazine. “Importantly, my firm offers investment advice, focusing on mutual funds, stocks, bonds, annuities, retirement and estate planning and tax planning.” Never idle and always contributing to the greater good, Taylor recently authored a book, broadcasts on a weekly radio show, dedicates time serving on meaningful non-profit organization boards, including his own Future Stars Basketball camp, is launching a financial literacy App, and, most importantly, spends time with his family. Financial Advice – Sound and Practical 12 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY

“I focus on insurance and investment services in order to help my clients protect their wealth and build wealth,” Taylor told Hollywood Weekly Magazine. “I sell financial products through my companies. I have launched five entrepreneurial enterprises in addition to Taylor Insurance and Financial Services.” At age 22 and just out of college, Taylor launched his illustrious career trajectory. He spent two years at New York Life, making approximately $55,000 and $58,000. In his third year, he nearly tripled his income. He attributes that soaring success to his pivoting from focusing primarily on selling products, to honing in on how to im-

prove his market and on approaching problem-solving one step at a time. In Taylor’s view, the key to financial success is to focus on daily goals and cultivate relationships that will be valuable throughout one’s entire career and lifetime. Over the next several years, Taylor broke records at New York Life, reaching the ranking of #1 Broker in Los Angeles (2006-2013). In addition, he was ranked amongst the top 50 agents out of approximately 13,000 in the company. He was recognized as the top producing African American agent at New York Life Insurance at that time. When he left the company, he was the top producing African


American advisor in its history, which places him in the top 1 percent of advisors worldwide. Taylor received the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), “Agent of the Year Award: Los Angeles” in 2010-2012. Further, he is a 14-time “Million Dollar Round Table” qualifier. In 2013, he left New York Life to grow his independent brokerage, Taylor Insurance and Financial Services. In 2015, his many business achievements garnered him recognition in NAIFA’s Advisor Today, magazine, “Top 4 Under 40”. Taylor’s soaring successes were highlighted in LinkedIn’s TV spot during the 2018 Golden Globe awards,

launching the “In It Together” series wherein LinkedIn released a national TV commercial and billboards campaign featuring Taylor and his firm. The campaign was shown for a 12-week marketing campaign on prestigious shows, including Shark Tank, The Today Show, NBA and NCAA and Sports Center. www.adweek.com/digital/ linkedins-new-integrated-marketingcampaign-seeks-to-smash-its-whitecollar-stereotype. “In It Together,” articulates Taylor’s approach to financial advising, and to living a healthy, happy and productive life. Taylor’s philosophy is simple. “An educated client makes the best financial decisions.” He said.

In that regard, Taylor firmly believes that educating insurance and financial services representatives produces the best results for clients. Toward that end, he launched The Taylor Method, his proprietary sales process that provides an online sales service for financial advisors. Through that endeavor, he has mentored countless agents, catalyzing their prosperity in the business, and thereby benefiting their clients as well. Taylor strongly believes that financial advisors need to provide practical and sound advice to consumers of all sophistication levels. Accordingly, as part of a team of experts, he penned an informative and easy-to-unHOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 13


derstand book Ask The Experts, The Team You Need to Build a Solid Foundation – How to Protect and Secure Your Future (2017), is a multi-author publication that proves a wonderful resource for investors of all levels and aptitudes. The book provides insights from experts focusing on real estate, mortgage planning, tax planning and estate planning. In the publication, Taylor shares his expertise along with the other highly successful, contributing professionals. Taylor’s chapter in the book focuses on what it really takes to have a solid financial foundation and how to navigate dealing with complicated financial transactions. “The book is for everyone, as is my radio show,” Taylor told Holly14 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY

wood Weekly Magazine. “It’s important for everyone to be financially savvy and that’s why I’m also rolling out a financial literacy App.” As a corollary effort seeking to achieve those goals, Taylor also broadcasts on Radio Dash Talk Radio on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. PST. His show, also named “Ask The Experts,” provides meaningful information to investors in a manner that is both easy to comprehend and is highly useful. He strives to provide useful support for all efforts to educate investors and to contribute to the greater good, in Pasadena, and beyond. “I don’t try to sell products,” He said. “I solve problems and I emphasize that the most important thing

in life is neither one’s past nor his future, it’s now and how to take advantage of it.” A Philanthropist of the Highest Caliber – Making a Difference Taylor thrives on giving back to the community. “I live by the adage that the giver gets.” He told Hollywood Weekly. Since 2003, Taylor’s non-profit organization, Future Stars Basketball Camp, has provided youth from Pasadena with an opportunity to learn the fundamentals of basketball and, equally importantly, to learn fundamental life skills, such as cooperation and team work. Through the camp, Taylor has mentored hundreds of children, teaching them that sacrifice, hard work, per-


severance, and most importantly, integrity, are the secrets to achieving all goals in life. To fund those efforts, Taylor organizes a series of fund raising events throughout the year to include an annual golf tournament. “This year, we had our first gala for this effort,” Taylor said. “We use the funds to run the camp, but also to provide scholarships to underserved children who otherwise would not have the opportunity to enjoy our Future Stars camp. To accomplish those goals, we also fund the Drs. Ruth and Ludlow Creary Scholarship which finances students attending high school and college, and the Eric Tracy Schol-

arship Fund which has supported hundreds of underprivileged students over the years.” This summer we celebrated the 17th year that the camp has helped children learn how to play basketball, all the while instilling in them the fundamentals of living a successful life. “This year was our 14th annual golf tournament and it was held on Monday, April 29th, 2019,” Taylor said. “The gala was held on Sunday, April 28. This is a very important effort because Future Stars serves 130 to 150 kids each summer.” The gala extravaganza was held at Warner Center in Woodland Hills and proved to be a terrific philan-

thropic gathering. For Taylor, his charity is pivotal because participating in sports was integral to his education and to his professional development. “Sports parallel life – they teach you how to win as well as how to lose,” Taylor said. “I was a four-star athlete at Maranatha High School here in Pasadena, earning varsity letters in all those sports, which earned me a scholarship to play basketball at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon.” Taylor’s keen focus, work ethic, drive and discipline translated into academic success. He graduated from Concordia University Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management. “My involvement in sports helped to facilitate my career development.” Taylor said. Taylor also serves on boards and fundraising committees for the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital, the Rotary Club, the March of Dimes and the Ronald McDonald House. So, how does Taylor do it all? How does he keep his perspective, his edge, and his prowess? “I live a super healthy lifestyle and ensure that I have good habits.” Taylor told Hollywood Weekly Magazine. He noted that he is also an instructor at Corepower Yoga. “I teach a Yoga Sculpt class,” He said. “Think Vinyasa flow yoga meets boot camp.” Most importantly, Taylor tries to keep a positive focus, to lead a mindful life and to stay close to family and friends. “I feel so blessed because very few people can say that they are doing what they were meant to do,” Taylor said. “I believe in the principle that “giving, gets.” For More Information: Taylor Insurance and Financial Services 1199 E. Walnut Street Pasadena, California. T: 626-356-7637 Visit: http://www.taylorinsfin.com or www.thetaylormethod.com. To support Future Stars Camp, visit: www.futurestarscamp.org. HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 15


THE GRACE, BEAUTY AND GRIT OF

VANESSA WILLIAMS

By Allison Kugel

V

anessa Williams is a creature unlike any other. It’s as though she came here to impart the ins and outs of living life on one’s own terms. From unwitting societal lightning rod during the 1980s to multi-platinum selling recording artist; and Broadway, film and television star, Vanessa Williams slayed the male-dominated Hollywood dragon long before the #MeToo movement happened. You can tell from talking to her that, both, the scars of past judgment she endured, and the fruits of her sweet success have made their impact. Both created indelible imprints. In more recent years, Williams stunned audiences with sultry scene-stealing characters on hit series like Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty. Her recent film starring Orange is the New Black’s Uzo Aduba, Miss Virginia, tackles the socio-economic and educational inequities that urban students of color endure, showcasing a more socially conscious film portrayal. Vanessa Williams’ exotic beauty strikes you dead on arrival, but Williams does not lead with her looks. She prefers to enter a conversation with intellect, boldness and strength. Williams is now preparing to take her Broadway-honed stage skills across the pond to London’s West End, where she will be starring in a production of City of Angels, opening at the Garrick Theatre in 2020. She’s also added fashion designer to her packed resume, launching the sexy and sophisticated Vanessa Williams collection for HSN, and fresh on the heels of a multi-album deal with BMG, Williams is working on new music to reflect a collection of musical genres she is currently passionate about. A renaissance woman for the ages, Vanessa Williams’ life is nothing if not purposeful. 16 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY

Allison Kugel: Something told me to read your 2012 memoir, You Have No Idea, which I read cover to cover yesterday. I’m so glad I read your book, because it was the missing piece to really understanding you. The one constant theme throughout your life, it seems, is that you are a natural born rebel! Vanessa Williams: (Laughs) Yeah. Allison Kugel: That quality plays out in one way when we’re young, but changes as we get older. How do you express that side of yourself now? Vanessa Williams: It’s now about being unafraid to take chances. In terms of my career, I just signed on to do City of Angels on the West End [of London]. It’s not a lot of money, but it is an opportunity to work on the West End. It’s always been a dream of mine to live overseas, and to study in London. I’ll be working at the Garrick Theatre. We start rehearsals in January, we open in March, and the show will be running until the end of July. There are no guarantees, in terms of leaving my life in the states behind, but it’s something that excites me. At this stage of my life it’s all about asking myself what I want to do that I’ve never done. The challenge of it excites me, and doing the same thing bores me. Allison Kugel: When nude photos of you surfaced during your 1984 reign as Miss America and you were forced to relinquish your crown ten and a half months into your year-long reign, you were counted out there for a while in your twenties. Do you ever pat yourself on the back these days and say, “I did it!”? Broadway, films, television, platinum-selling recording artist and on and on… do you feel vindicated? Vanessa Williams: No, I really don’t. I don’t think that, because there’s always that next goal, like, “but I want to originate a role on Broadway;” “but I want to do a movie musical.”


HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 17


There is always something yet to be done. It’s not that I’m never satisfied, but there is always another goal on the horizon. When you’re an actor, it’s like being a gypsy. You jump into another circle of players, and it’s great. Then when it’s over, it’s heartbreaking, but then you’re ready to move on to the next circle. That’s what excites me and that’s what will always propel me to say, “Ok, what’s next?” Allison Kugel: Clearly, you value adventure over routine. Vanessa Williams: Well, I look at some people who have been on the same show for eleven or twelve seasons, and it’s a great cash cow. It’s great to have that kind of consistent salary where you can budget and put money away. God bless everyone who has had a series on the air for ten years, but there is an energy that keeps you kind of hungry when you are always looking for the next thing and you don’t know what that next thing is. Allison Kugel: I want to go back a bit and talk about the beginning. I think people may forget because it was so long ago, but you broke through a pretty significant glass ceiling in your twenties by being crowned the first African American Miss America. You became this societal lightning rod at the time. In 2008, when President Obama was elected as our first African American president, did you feel a connection or kind of kinship with him, since he broke a barrier in a similar way? Vanessa Williams: Oh, absolutely, in terms of his safety, and his presence was worldwide. But there is an expectation that comes with that honor of breaking barriers. It’s also a tremendous fear, not only for yourself, but for family members; because there is such division, which doesn’t seem to leave us. I thought it was over in the 1980s and it wasn’t; I thought it was over in the 2000s and it wasn’t; and, obviously, it’s still apparent now. So, there is a specific fear and uncertainty that you have, but you have to be brave and you have to continue to do what you were chosen to do, and the job that is before you. Allison Kugel: Had you ever had that conversation

18 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY

with President Obama about that? Vanessa Williams: I met him right before he began his run for president. I’ve been on the Special Olympics international board for years, and I was on Capitol Hill with the Special Olympics meeting people and trying to raise money for our group. I met him right off the heels of that wonderful speech he’d given at the Democratic National Convention, and word was out that he was someone to watch. I gave my little spiel about how we needed more funding for the Special Olympics. I could see the appeal, and then he announced. When he announced that he was going to run for president, I was definitely in his corner. My mother was coming from the perspective of having lived through Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. being assassinated, and Kennedy being assassinated, and she was fearful for his life. That’s the generation that she grew up in. I felt that it could happen, and she also, of course, had some issues with it. It just showed the fear that was due to where my mother’s generation had come from. Allison Kugel: What have you learned about love? What’s been your greatest love lesson? Vanessa Williams: I’m lucky to have four children, and there is nothing like that love; a love like that never ends. Once they’re out of the house, you’re still, as a mom, always available. You’re still always worried (laughs) and concerned. And you’re still always extremely proud, no matter their age or what they are doing. Allison Kugel: How do you take care of your body, mind and spirit; and what’s your feel-good routine? Vanessa Williams: My feel good is waking up with a good cup of coffee and doing a crossword puzzle in the sun. That starts my day off perfectly. And when I get a chance to explore and travel, I love to horseback ride, wherever I am, and go to the stables and find a horse and go on an adventure and explore the terrain on horseback. Spending time at home is also a joy for me. I’m on the road traveling so much, so my happy place is kicking off my shoes and hanging out at home.


Allison Kugel: You’re a practicing Catholic and you attend Church regularly, but in your most quiet and intimate moments, whom or what do you pray to, and what do you pray for? Vanessa Williams: Hmm... it depends on what it is. I pray to God and my ancestors and my guides, and everyone who has been with me along my journey. As far as what I pray for, it depends on what I want or need at that particular moment; whether it’s guidance, whether it’s “show me the way,” or whether it’s protection for one of my children. It depends on what my particular need is at that moment. Allison Kugel: What do you think you are here in this life as Vanessa Williams to learn, and what do you think you are here to teach? Vanessa Williams: I absolutely love to teach, in the literal sense, and I’ve done it for three years in a row at NYU (New York University). I’ve taught Master Classes at Syracuse University, where I went for musical theatre. I also teach women’s groups. It’s teaching strength and to be aware, because you never know when and where something is going to happen for you. Whether that’s your talent, whether it’s an opportunity… just be open to who comes into your life and what they can bring. Allison Kugel: And you’re here to learn? Vanessa Williams: That as women, for sure, we are a community, and to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice or for help. Look for a mentor. I’ve learned that there are many people that are willing to be teachers and to help you along in your life, so don’t be afraid to ask because there will always be somebody there to

offer help. I think I’m here to learn to keep moving ahead. On this earth we have setbacks, struggles and obstacles. You have to be able to say, “What is this teaching me?” so you can move through it and move ahead in your life. Avoiding something or trying to deny it won’t get you anywhere. Allison Kugel: Speaking of giving advice to other women, back in 2011 and 2012 you worked on Tyler Perry’s film Temptation with Kim Kardashian while she was going through the separation from her ex-husband, Kris Humphries. The two of you spent some time together during filming. Did she seek your advice about weathering scandal and a media firestorm? Vanessa Williams: She’d just broken up with Kris [Humphries] and the press was all over the place, so Tyler made it very easy for her to hide from the press on set. Basically, it worked on the set, keeping the press away. Then we flew back to LA together. I just needed to be the sounding board for her at that point. Sometimes you don’t need to talk. You just have to let them talk, and you have to listen. She talked Continued on page 22


Photo by Wayne Hoggatt


about all the stuff that was happening and her fear of being judged, but that it was something she felt she needed to do. My advice to her was that you go through the storm, but the dust will settle, and you’ll get an opportunity to see clearly, and it will be a different day; and you’ll feel better and you can move on. Allison Kugel: Do you consider yourself a trailblazer for women? Vanessa Williams: I think my history has made me a trailblazer, unknowingly. I’ve always just been myself and that’s how it played itself out. Allison Kugel: What makes you feel most beautiful? Vanessa Williams: The sun and the warmth makes me feel beautiful. Every time I land someplace that’s warm, it makes me feel like I’m connected to nature. And that’s without hair and makeup and wardrobe, and all that stuff. It’s just the breeze, the water, and heat that makes me feel like my most natural self. And then being around children. Whether it’s my children who are all grown up… there’s a connection that I have with kids. Maybe because both of my parents were elementary school music teachers, but there is a connection that me and my kids have with young kids that I absolutely love. My connection with children makes me feel so alive. Allison Kugel: You recently launched your own clothing line, Vanessa Williams, which is available through HSN. The collection is versatile, imaginative and sexy, yet understated. And I love how you incorporate animal prints and patterns with different looks. Vanessa Williams: Thank you. It’s another opportunity to be creative and I’ve got a great manufacturer, so the quality is fantastic. It’s an extension of what I love, which is putting my stamp on things. I love fashion, and I’ve been fortunate to work on amazing shows, both on television and on Broad-

22 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY

way, where I’ve worked with incredible costume designers and been exposed to fantastic fashion through stylists. And I’ve settled into what my own personal style is, along with what resonates with other people. When I design, I keep my eighty-year-old mother in mind, and then my children; my girls are from age 19 to 32. Everyone’s got their own sensibility, and there’s one piece for everyone to enjoy. Allison Kugel: When will you be recording your next album? Vanessa Williams: Now! I just finished recording a children’s album, which will be out next spring. And I’m working on a new album for BMG that will be out next year. We’re leaning towards mood and tropical music for this next album, and there will be more projects to come. Allison Kugel: Let’s circle back to your upcoming show on London’s West End, City of Angels. You’re a Broadway veteran, but this will be your West End debut! Vanessa Williams: This will be my “junior year abroad” that I never got the chance to do! In college, I was supposed to go to London and then I became famous that September. So, it’s my delayed junior year abroad, thirty-six years later (laughs). And it’s getting a chance to show my stage talent on another respected stage. My children are not at home, so it’s an opportunity to tick another thing off the bucket list. Shop the Vanessa Williams collection at HSN and pre-order tickets to see Vanessa Williams star in City of Angels at the Garrick Theatre in London’s West end. Visit VanessaWilliams.com. Allison Kugel is a syndicated entertainment columnist, author of the memoir, Journaling Fame: A memoir of a life unhinged and on the record, and owner of communications firm, Full Scale Media. Follow her on Instagram @theallisonkugel and at AllisonKugel.com. Photo Credits: Rod Spicer, Mike Ruiz, Gilles Toucas


Books to Devour

by Jane Ubell-Meyer, Founder of Bedside Reading

W

elcome to 2020. This is the time of year when I recommend that we evaluate our lives, not only to look forward but to look inward, as well. Three of our authors speak to these disciplines. Rohit Bhargava, a WSJ bestselling author of Non-Obvious MegaTrends. As I started reading his book, I was reminded of how I, and perhaps all of us, could take a new look at ourselves to see if we are wired for a “growth mindset” or a “fixed mindset”. Do you notice the smallest of details? And can these details change our lives? Another visionary author is PJ Jackson. She’s an incredible empath who is taking the ancient concept of the labyrinth to tap into our true selves. Our third author Tim Tigner, who has had more bestsellers than we can count, explores the concept of immortality in his spell binding bestseller, The Price of Time.

The Body Double by Emily Beyda

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dark, glittering debut novel, The Body Double is the suspenseful story of a young woman who is recruited by a stranger to give up her old life and identity to impersonate a reclusive Hollywood star. A strange man discovers our nameless narrator selling popcorn at a decrepit small-town movie theater and offers her an odd and lucrative position: she will forget her job, her acquaintances, even her name, and move to Los Angeles, where she will become the body double of the famous and troubled celebrity Rosanna Feld.

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The Prophecy by Kim Sakwa

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ierce and feared, 16th-century Highland laird Greylen MacGreggor has yet to meet his match—until Dr. Gwendolyn Reynolds falls through time and into his arms. Get spellbound by this time travel romance.

Vicious by L.J. Shen

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hey say love and hate are the same feelings experienced under different circumstances, and it’s true. The man who comes to me in my dreams also haunts me in my nightmares. He is a brilliant lawyer. A skilled criminal. A beautiful liar. A bully and a savior, a monster and a lover. Ten years ago, he made me run away from the small town where we lived. Now, he came for me in New York, and he isn’t leaving until he takes me with him.

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The Prize by Geoffrey M. Cooper

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hat does it take to win a Nobel Prize? Deceit? Fraud? Maybe even murder? When she finds a drug that has the potential to treat Alzheimer’s disease, Pam Weller is certain she’s made the discovery of a lifetime. But her success threatens the supremacy of Eric Prescott, a leading figure in Alzheimer’s research, who sees his chances at a Nobel Prize slipping through his fingers. His lust for the prize and the accolades that come with it drive him to concoct a plot against Pam that threatens her career, her freedom, and even her life.

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The Birth Mother by Seymour Ubell

n a business trip, a high-powered fifty-six-year-old American entrepreneur visits his partners in China. After their meeting, his Asian mentor invites him to an orphan- age, a trip that will change the course of his family’s life forev- er. Without hesitation, he and his wife fall in love with Anglo/Asian twin girls and become their adoptive parents. The children grow up in a world of twists and turns with multiple coincidences and synchronicity. The story takes us on a journey them from China to Europe to America and back to China where their unusual birth mother enters their lives. This powerful story is filled with drama at every turn as the daughters face internal and external challenges. The Birth Mother is a story filled with love, pathos, tragedy, and triumph. A surprise of the season!

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The Pale-Faced Lie by David Crow

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n this riveting memoir, David Crow presents a searing account of his experience growing up on the Navajo Indian Reservation with a mentally ill mother and violent father, an ex-con from San Quentin who groomed him to be his partner in crime. When David ultimately found the courage to change his life, he unwittingly triggered a plot of revenge that forced him into a deadly showdown with his father. Raw and palpable, “The Pale-Faced Lie” is an unforgettable testament to the power of forgiveness and the strength of the human spirit.

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The Moments Between by Natalie Banks

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ragedy strikes the life of Claire DuPont when her husband of nine years is killed in a train accident on his way home from work, leaving her alone with two small children. One morning, six months later, she awakes to find him alive and there with her in the house, like he had never been gone. With her head spinning she picks up her phone only to see the date is actually three months before the accident ever occurred. Bewildered but grateful, she writes it off as a very vivid, bad dream. But as time goes on, she realizes that events are unfolding exactly the way they did in her dream. Racing against time, she desperately tries to change the inevitable but finds herself helpless to change anything. Unwilling to give up, she vows to stop at nothing to save her husband before it’s too late.

Lost Tomorrows by Matt Coyle

The Changemaker: The Art of Building Better Leaders by Deke Copenhaver

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eadership is never easy. Almost all leaders deal with both triumph and tragedy, oftentimes in equal measure. The fact of the matter is that leadership insists on constant rejection of the status quo. True leaders demand continuous reflection and improvement of those around them, and even more importantly, of themselves. True leaders are Changemakers. You will learn to become unafraid of doing omething different in the service of a good cause and how to spark a movement that others can’t help but rally around. The Changemaker is a roadmap of sorts, designed to deliver comprehensive, common sense leadership strategies to people from all walks of life.

phone call thrusts Rick Cahill’s past and all its tragic consequences into his present. Krista Landingham, his former partner on the Santa Barbara Police Department, is dead. When Rick goes to the funeral in the city where his wife was murdered and where he is seen as guilty for her death in the eyes of the police, he discovers that Krista’s death may not have been a tragic accident, but murder. Hired by Krista’s sister, Leah, to investigate, Rick follows clues that lead him to the truth, not only about Krista’s death, but about the tragedy that ruined his life. In the end, Rick is left with a decision that forces him to confront the horrific actions he’ll need to take to exact revenge and achieve redemption.

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HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 25


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Vivid Vision by Cameron Herold

any corporations have slick, flashy mission statements that ultimately do little to motivate employees and less to impress customers, investors, and partners. But there is a way to share your excitement for the future of your company in a clear, compelling, and powerful way, and entrepreneur and business growth expert Cameron Herold can show you how. “Vivid Vision” is a revolutionary tool that will help owners, CEOs, and senior managers create inspirational, detailed, and actionable three-year mission statements for their companies.

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I Know How This Ends by Amy Impellizerri

n the spring of 2020, a very special class is graduating from high school. This class of students has just one thing in common. The class is comprised completely of 37 survivors – of children whose pregnant mothers were in and around the World Trade Center on 9/11, but whose mothers survived, and gave birth within the next few months. These 37 students are part of a longitudinal study known as “Operation Steel Survivors” and their very public commencement is now scheduled for Carnegie Hall in Manhattan.

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Conversations With Our Authors Q: So many people go through personQ&A with al and emotional PJ Jackson, author upheavals in their lives--loss of a loved of The Labyrinth one, loss of a job, Influence: Awaken an illness, etc. What the Wisdom Within is the best way to embrace change? A:No matter what comes your way, you must believe there is a reason for it. Life is a journey where you are given challenges to learn and to grow. The number one way to cope with change is to expand your self-awareness. You must accept the notion that inside this challenge there is a blessing. If you can learn to love the opportunity to grow, then you can embrace anything that is put in front of you. Q: Why are so many people fearful of change? A:People don’t fear change, they fear the unknown. Not knowing what will happen next fills you with anxiety which, left unchecked, ultimately turns into fear. Without change you become complacent and your youthful curiosity is lost. A great way to look at change it is to step back and observe the changing of the seasons. Each season has its ups and downs, yet you know what to expect. You also know the season will change again, and you can easily find joy in what will happen in the next season. It’s the same 26 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY

with life. Ask yourself, “What can I do with this change to make my life more joyful?” Look at change as an adventure, and trust that no matter what happens, you’ve got this! Q: It is now 2020, what’s your best advice on how to approach the new year? A:The best advice to approaching the new year is to focus on you and do these three things. First, put in the time to find yourself and understand your true purpose. Second, be kind to yourself, you are the most important person you will ever meet. And third, give yourself permission to hire a coach. No matter what you are trying to improve in your life; your health, your relationships or your self-worth, you don’t need to do it alone. You can’t be the best you until you invest in you, so make 2020 the year of YOU! It’s not selfish, it’s self-care.


Q&A with Tim Tigner, author of The Price of Time Q: Should scientists be searching for the Fountain of Youth? A: No, because it would be a disaster if they found it. The population would explode beyond sustainable limits, forcing governments to enact artificial means of limiting life. We’re much better off with a natural balance. Q: Do you think we’ll ever achieve immortality? A:I don’t think it’s possible to indefinitely stave off death. To stop our bodies from wearing out. Biological systems can be patched and propped up, but those are temporary and isolated fixes. On the other hand, one could argue that for most intents and purposes, Shakespeare is immortal. He’s still part of the zeitgeist, still shaping and affecting lives. Q: Setting aside the population issue, would the human race be better off if we were immortal? A:While the idea of preserving wisdom is enticing, the answer is no. The refreshing effect of the circle of life is crucially important because it brings fresh minds into management positions, minds that matured in themodern environment. If that weren’t the case, Caesar might still rule the world, which would be covered with temples to Zeus and Apollo. Also, the whole world would likely resemble the Middle East, where history andgrudges drive endless cycles of destructive behavior. We’re much better off with a biological cycle that givesus fresh starts and clean slates.

Q&A with Rohit Bhargava, author of Non Obvious Megatrends Q: How can professionals succeed in the midst of what you call the modern believability crisis? A: I believe it’s harder to be trusted today than ever before. Part of the reason is that we are surrounded by fake news, fake brands and fake leaders too. That’s the modern believability crisis, and it’s having a serious impact on business. Building trust with your customers and your team is hard because they are all skeptical. One key to doing it is being willing to share the unexpected truth. For example, we trust the waiters who tell us the truth about what’s great on a menu and what isn’t much more than we trust the one who says, “you can’t go wrong, everything’s great.” If you want to succeed, you need to start with trust and that comes from proactive honesty. Q: Do you really believe anyone can learn how to predict the future? A: I do! But it’s not just based on wishful thinking. I’ve conducted hundreds of workshops for leaders at many different levels within an organization and I’ve discovered that you can teach people the same five basic habits and they can learn how to see the details in the world around them and put them together in a way that allows them to see the trends as they are happening. The five habits are being curious, being observant, being thoughtful, being elegant and being fickle. Putting them together allows you to build a disciplined habit of collecting ideas the way most people collect frequent flier miles.

HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 27


A MAN OF INTEGRITY, INTELLIGENCE, GOOD WILL...AND HUMOR BK FULTON: THE STEADY RISE OF HIS “SOULIDIFLY UNIVERSE” by Anthony Ewart In 1948 Mahalia Jackson released her landmark recording of “Move On Up A Little Higher.” The title of the song is ironic because a signature aspect of Mahalia Jackson’s voice was that it did, constantly, move on up a little higher...one octave at a time, sometimes two or three. When you thought she couldn’t possibly sing a higher note she would soar even higher, taking you with her into the clouds, and beyond.

tionally, spiritually -- culturally. He found himself wandering the depths of one of the campus libraries. Eventually he arrived at a very significant number in the dewey decimal system: e185.5. This was the section of the library devoted to African-American history. BK had discovered what writer/activist Arturo Alfonso Schomburg had been saying since the turn of the 20th century: “What we call Black history are just the missing pages of World history.”

If you want to understand who BK Fulton is, this is the framework in which to do so. He is a man who will constantly soar higher than you think he can. And if you allow him, he will take you and your imagination on cinematic adventures around the world, through different time periods and well beyond the clouds. BK Fulton is a historian and a natural storyteller, which makes him an incredibly effective filmmaker, and the reason he is the Founding Chairman and CEO of “Soulidifly Productions.”

A fire ignited. An epiphany occurred. BK’s faith in himself and his place within the African Diaspora was confirmed and restored...but we’re still at Virginia Tech. Those books only hinted at the forgotten (or ignored) golden treasures of African and African-American history. He needed to find a bookstore devoted to African-American history -- the enormous help e.185.5 gave, notwithstanding, BK needed more comprehensive books.

BK is such a fascinating individual with so many compelling moments in his life I would almost have to serialize my story on him to fit everything into one article. Similar to the way Charles Dickens originally published his novels -- in magazines, and sometimes chapters at a time. But I’ll make an executive decision for myself and begin with one memory from BK’s life that stopped me cold in our interview. I had never heard of anyone who had done this before. It inspired me. This chapter, or story from BK’s life happened when he was a student at Virginia Tech. He was feeling a little lost at college. Emo28 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY

He found a black-owned store that had those golden historical treasures of Black history. Everything he wanted and more. Writers like J.A. Rogers and his “One Hundred Amazing Things About The Negro.” Books by iconic historians such as Dr. Ivan Van Sertima. Classics like Carter G. Woodson’s “The Miseducation of the Negro.” Lectures on tape by famous black historians including John Henrik Clarke -- my favorite because he was a personal advisor to Malcolm X once he left Elijah Muhammed. BK was a kid in a candy store or whatever metaphor you want to use to explain that BK needed to buy everything in that store. He had to. The fire that started in the campus library next to e185.5 was never going to be extinguished. The Sun has a lifespan. It will eventually swell


BK FULTON

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to a red giant and then collapse onto itself in a black hole. This fire that BK had to learn black history and disseminate it had no lifespan. It would never burn out. He knew this. The problem was money. BK had enough for school, but not to buy all these books. He approached the owner and learned that their computer system was archaic, to say the least. He offered to work for the store and fix their computer system... in exchange for books. Not for money, for books. That, my friends, is a thirst for knowledge “defined.” We’re now in 2017. The Sun has grown older. The fire within BK Fulton is burning stronger and brighter than ever. He has worked for almost every major technological company that you and I deal with on a daily basis. He has acquired his wealth and connections, and phase two of his plan that began in that Virginia Tech library is about to be unveiled. He creates “Soulidifly Productions.” Armed with this secret knowledge he’s learned throughout his life about Black history that most African-Americans


are unaware of, he’s ready to “show the world” what he knows... And there was something else. The prevalent disparity in the media of their portrayal of women and people of “good will” (in general), in addition to the racial problems of representation. Soulidifly Productions would pave the way for EVERYONE who has been ignored to have their stories told. In its first full year, Soulidifly released four (4) films and all four feature length movies received distribution. You may be aware that only 4% of independent films receive distribution. Two of the films written and directed by the incredible Wes Miller, “Atone” and “River Runs Red,” (the latter which stars Taye Diggs, John Cusack and George Lopez is a favorite for streaming audiences). This was historic (truly never been done before) -but we’re just in the first quarter of BK’s game. I like the sound of that. BK’s game. In a way, BK’s game is kind of like LeBron’s game. As in LeBron James. He has surrounded himself with a Dream Team to run Soulidifly Productions. Monty Ross, President of Soulidifly Productions Film & Production. Nicholas Powell, writer extraordinaire and Co-Founding Editor of SoulVision Magazine (a division of Soulidifly Productions), and Queon “Q” Martin, Executive Vice President of Soulidifly Productions.  Today, as you read this, there are two films from Soulidifly Productions that are in theaters and/or On-Demand right now: “Love Dot Com: The Social Experiment” and “Hell on the Border.” HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 31


You’ll realize that your anticipation for a new Soulidifly production will be akin to the way cinephiles would await a new “Merchant Ivory” production. You know the quality of that cinematic experience will be fantastic. I’ll get back to “Hell on the Border” in a moment, because that movie is a BK Fulton production ALL THE WAY if you’ve been paying attention to the man BK is. But let’s do BK’s favorite thing to do right now -- go back in the past. Back to when BK was a little boy. You don’t have to use your imagination very hard. BK’s done the heavy lifting for you. “Mr. Business -- The Adventures of Little BK” is available now wherever you buy books. If you want to peek into the backstory of this brilliant man and learn lessons on organizing your life and your business from someone who is on target to becoming a major media mogul in Hollywood, “Mr. Business” is a great book series (seven books total). And, you get to see some of that famous BK Fulton humor I mentioned in my title. “Mr. Business -- The Adventures of Little BK” is so popular that one of the producers of “The Simpson’s” is in discussions with Soulidifly Productions about turning it into an animated series. Plan on that! Now... “Hell on the Border.” The cast is stellar. Ron Perlman. Frank Grillo. Zahn McClarnon and David Gyasi as “Bass Reeves.” Bass Reeves is a name you’ve probably never heard of. But you have heard of “The Lone Ranger.” Bass Reeves was African-American... Now I know you’re confused. Okay, Bass Reeves was a black man who left slavery after the Civil War and became a Lawman in Arkansas. He eventually became a U.S. Marshal and is credited with arresting over 3,000 felons and shooting and killing 14 outlaws in gun battles. His legend is the basis for the fictional “Lone Ranger.” How about that for an elevator pitch for a film? And as you can see, this is 100% a BK Fulton production. In learning about BK Fulton, his Soulidifly Productions and “Mr. Business -- The Adventures of Little BK,” I am, as I have previously stated, inspired. Inspired to do what BK and Soulidifly Productions have done and will continue to do...Move On Up A Little Higher.

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Soulidifly.com

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“NEW BREED OF HOMO SAPIENS”, A NEW BOOK BY LOU BARON, MHA, MSG


RISQUÉ @ 72? WHY NOT? I have stem cells. I am 32! LOURDES DUQUE BARON, MHA, MSG

RELEASING her 3rd book entitled “NEW BREED OF HOMO SAPIENS” – February 1, 2020 in Hollywood

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he human body is a complex biological structure composed of trillions if molecules, cells, tissues, organs and organelles, each one endowed with unique capabilities and performs specific roles and functions but works in harmony with one another. Understanding the human body is as challenging as unlocking the mysteries of the universe, which scientists have been trying to unravel for centuries.

day, scientists believe they have unlocked the mysteries of aging and now hold the key to retard the process, to enable humans to enjoy a longer lifespan free of debilitating disorders and diseases. The answer: STEM CELLS.

Aging is one facet of human existence that has baffled even the greatest minds in the scientific world. A process through which the body undergoes with the passage of time, aging is characterized not only by the decline of the body’s physical make-up but also deceleration of biological processes and diminished body functions.

Could stem cells then be the Holy Grail of medicine? Stem cells offer huge potentials for therapies, which had led to increasing development and scientific knowledge. Not only do they represent an interesting option to understand the dynamics that explain both the persistence and change of diseases in tissues and organisms, but also because of their potential to develop into a broad range of cells, scientists believe that longer and healthier lifespan is no longer a pipe dream.

How do we age? Why do we age? Is there a way to slow down the aging process? Is it possible to reverse it? Or are we condemned to live to our old age suffering from various disorders and diseases that come with aging? Years ago we have accepted the concept that aging is an inevitable and irreversible process – but not anymore! To-

Stem cell therapies hold the promise to treat degenerative diseases and repair damaged tissues for which there are currently none or limited therapeutic options.

In her new book titled, “New Breed of Homo Sapiens”, award-winning and internationally recognized author Lou Baron delves into one of the most innovative and cutting-edge therapies available today: the stem cell-based therapy.


The book, the first of its kind outside the academia, discusses a range of topics that analyze and explain human aging and the various disorders that are associated with this complex natural biological process. The book is the product of long and painstaking hours of research on the Hallmarks of Aging as identified by Carlos Lopez Otin in 2013 and wealth of information and recent discoveries and groundbreaking stem cell-based therapies. While dealing with a highly scientific topic, Lou Baron deviated from scholarly discourse and instead opted to write in clear, easy to understand language presented in a simple, straightforward style. “I want my readers to fully understand and grasp the importance of this medical breakthrough,” she said. “We are talking about the future generations and the new breed of humans, and I want to bring this knowledge to the public’s doorsteps.” Author of two award-winning books, namely “Scripted in Heaven” and “I Called Myself Cassandra”, an actress, filmmaker, director and internationally-recognized recording artist, Lou Baron, at 72 years of age, is an energetic, vibrant and youthful lady who defies her age and still breaking new grounds. She credits all this to stem cells. “I am a living proof that stem cell-based therapy works,” she said, explaining that this was the inspiration that made her decide to write “New Breed of Homo Sapiens”. Ms. Baron stressed that her book aims to inform and educate the people about the benefits of stem cell-based therapies, and eventually be able to help in making these therapies accessible and affordable to most number of people. Visibly youthful, healthy and vibrant even when devoid of make-up, 72-year old Lourdes Duque Baron is indeed a living proof that stem cell treatments can reverse the signs of aging and the possibility of extending life expectancy. Could stem cell-based therapies be the answer to the elusive fountain of youth? Find the answer in Ms. Baron’s book “New Breed of Homo Sapiens”, which is scheduled for launching in February 2020. ***

Excerpts from “New Breed of Homo Sapiens”. Stem Cells Determine Man’s Biological Age Aging is a biological process that affects all living organisms. However, while the questions of why and how we age have baffled scientists for decades, the field of aging and longevity research have stayed in the backburner for many years until not too long ago when it attracted the attention of some of the world’s most serious scientists. Today, medicines and therapies aimed at slowing down the process of aging and targeting age-related diseases are being developed, with some already launched in clinical trials in humans. 36 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY


Aging is associated with decline of all the physical and biological processes and functions over time. With the aim of slowing down the aging process, scientists have turned to studying stem cells for their regenerative abilities. However, while stem cells offer potential solutions to retard or reverse aging process, they also appear to be either the cause or part of the problem that cause aging. Stem cells, which are essential parts of the body’s repair system due to their ability to differentiate into many other cell types, lose their regenerative potency as our body ages. Additionally, their self-renewing ability triggers mutations that affect every cell in the body. And once these mutations accumulate they can lead to diseases. With money and investments continuously pouring in, the field of stem cell biology is still developing. However, focus has veered away from what scientists thought was stem cells’ greatest promise: that is their ability to grow replacement organs and tissues that are damaged due to diseases or injuries. Today, focus has shifted dramatically and researchers are now harnessing stem cells for their potentially powerful uses in modeling disease for drug discovery as well as in targeting treatment for personalized medicine. Using easily accessible cells – such as skin or blood -- from the sick, researchers are reprogramming them into the affected tissue types and using them as models to study the disease and test interventions on major disorders, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer, as well as rare conditions such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In addition, knowledge of stem cell biology is continuously evolving. Previous understanding was that once embryonic stem cells has differentiated into stem cells for muscle, skin, blood, and other tissue, those stem cells maintain their flexibility to further develop into various cells within the tissue, when required. Recent works, however, indicate that this ability may be more limited, with different stem cells possessing different capabilities, and or their capabilities diminished with age. If this were the case, then this would probably explain why aging varies from person to person. But the science of stem cell research is evolving, disease profiles are changing, and the tools and knowledge of physicians are readily at their disposal, more powerful and targeted. It would not be a far-fetched idea that one day the full potential of stem cell science will transform our biological landscape and the way humans develop and grow old. Anti-Aging and Stem Cells A little over two decades ago, Dr. Michael West, stumbled upon a major scientific breakthrough when his lab scientists successfully isolated the active component for the gene that confers immortality to cells: the telomerase. Fast forward to today, when a new field has emerged: the science of longevity and healthspan, when people can live longer free of age-related diseases. Backed with substantial investments from some of the world’s largest companies, numerous pre-clinical researches are developing and various clinical trials are underway, with the aim of developing therapeutics to target human aging and age-related disorders.

While the biggest challenge for the field is the complexity of the aging process, scientists are making great progress in the context of individual aspects of aging with some of the most promising areas of research and discoveries in aging, which we are highlighting below: 1. Pluripotent stem cells have paved the way to manufacture young cells and tissue of any kind. Twenty years after the isolation of the first human embryonic stem cells, there is an explosion of research and applications all aimed at making different cell types of the human body. 2. Early human development could be the key that will unlock the mystery of aging. Cells possess not only the ability to replicate, but to regenerate. There are animals in nature whose regenerative ability is never turned off – like the flatworm, which can grow back its head if it gets cut off, and it doesn’t show signs of aging either. Discovering and understanding how the cells’ regeneration ability gets turned on or off may unlock the mystery of aging. And medical research has the power to unlock this mystery.


1. Companies are pouring in their resources anti-aging research. Major companies are inv ing heavily in anti-aging research with the of devising interventions to slow down the a process. Some of these companies are Age subsidiary of BioTime, Calico, AbbVie Inc., U Biotechnology, Samumed, Human Longevity RestorBio, Rejuvenate Bio, and Juvenesce among others.

2. The majority of clinical applications will no happening soon. However, despite the mad to develop potentially beneficial interventi majority of these applications will require yea clinical trials before they can be made avail to the populace.

3. There are very few medical interventions are proven to slow the aging process avail today. Because there is a huge marketplace there, there are companies with claims of s cell products that will extend your life. Howe it is important to understand that they are li not based on pluripotent stem cell technolog are products which are not approved by the F

4. Ethical issues still hounds this new scie Could genetic engineering be used one da program longer lifespans by modifying or re gramming human embryos? Despite advan in technologies, people should take note there remain major ethical issues regarding in ventions aimed to prolong life. Dr. Michael W said that while it is entirely possible to engin babies, but when you make modifications, it i experiment, and you put a human life at risk.

5. Interventions in human aging face major cul challenge. While aging affects all people o races, we humans have adapted to the fact death is part and the end of life, which pe generally see as inevitable. This precept is chored on different belief systems based on o culture and traditions.

6. Healthy children born today could enjoy a lifes never before seen in human history. It is hi possible that in the foreseeable future, people live up to at least 150 years of age. And as m advances and powerful therapies are desig and developed, the prospect of people enjo longer and healthier lifespan is highly possibl

Photos by Khiem Nguyen 38 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY

*** For more information and to reserve your copy, email: timelessentinc1@gmail.com


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HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 39


Profile for Hollywood Weekly Magazine, LLC

The American Dream Personifed: Eszylfie Taylor