Page 1





Latrice Rogers, ‘The New Southern Belle’ Veal, pp 14-15

Mayor & Council 2021 Election Guide Crown and Mills, pp 6-9

Twilight Concerts at The Renaissance Hathorn, p 18

Spring Events Preview pp 22-24


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March 31 - April 27, 2021 • jfp.ms

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of the month

March 31-April 27, 2021 Vol. 19 No. 14

Jason Dean

ON THE COVER Latrice Rogers photo by Sterling Photography

4 Editor’s Note 6 Talks 12 Opinion 14 cover story

17 It’s Happening JXN Fine and Dandy, along with its catering service, aspires to define Jackson’s food identity with their cuisine.

18 Music Sully Clemmer

19 Life & Style

Dean accepted positions with the Mississippi Economic Council and the state’s Chamber of Commerce. After three years on the council, he delved into the private industry in several capacities such as with Tenax Aerospace, which develops special mission aircrafts for the U.S. government, as its vice president of program development. “I got to travel the world from a little company in Madison, Miss.,” Dean says. In addition, Dean founded the Mississippi Energy Institute and has served on numerous state and national advisory boards and committees, which includes a six-year stint on the Mississippi State Board of Education and the last two and a half years as its chairman. Locally, he is currently helping to organize a fundraiser for Wingfield High School’s football gymnasium. “Everyone can do something. You don’t have to be chairman of the state board. Just get motivated and recognize that the work that you do can be multiplied and magnified as you engage there locally,” Dean advises. Starting on April 1, Dean will assume the position of senior vice president at the Path Company, an infrastructure-solutions and energy-services company based in Jackson. Dean lives in Madison with his wife, Courtney, and their three children. —Richard Coupe

Jackson becomes one of 10 cities throughout the nation to receive a Limited Edition Keith Haring Fitness Court.

21 Break iT The new business, found at the Outlets of Mississippi, allows visitors to safely smash bottles and electronics for fun.

22 Spring Preview 25 Streaming 26 Puzzle 26 Sorensen 27 astro 27 Classifieds

March 31 - April 27, 2021 • jfp.ms


or Dr. Jason Dean, a passion for Mississippi and a drive to help his home state grow have guided his life and career. Native to the area, Dean graduated from Wingfield High School in 1992 and went on to complete his undergraduate studies at the University of Southern Mississippi before earning his doctorate in education at the University of Mississippi in Oxford. In 2003, Dean joined then-Gov. Haley Barbour’s administration as his education adviser, although he expected a return to academia. “It was (Hurricane) Katrina that changed my career trajectory,” Dean says. “The call for leadership and what was required from people who were in charge of the government during that time was a profound paradigm shift and experience for me.” Following the storm, Dean lobbied for recovery funds in Washington, D.C., where he met people who encouraged him to apply for a White House Fellowship, a position he subsequently held from 2006 to 2007. “The experiences of (Hurricane) Katrina and the White House made me want to explore other professional options in my life,” Dean says. “I met Jeb Bush, and he encouraged me to ‘Go to the frontiers of where our challenges are.’ To me, that was Mississippi. I wanted to take all this experience and focus it on helping my state be what it is capable of being.”

20 New Fitness Court


editor’s note

by Shaye Smith, Editorial Assistant


ife happens in stages, it seems. I’m a reader, so I tend to think of it in terms of chapters, or maybe even books in a series. When you’re living it, as when you’re involved in a good book, you get caught up in the story and sometimes don’t realize you’re rapidly approaching a cliff-hanger. This may be where my analogy starts to break down, though, because in books, cliff-hangers are generally resolved pretty quickly with a turn of the page. There may be another chapter thrown in to prolong the suspense or—heaven forbid—you might have to wait for the next book to come out, but you can feel pretty secure in the expectation that a resolution is on its way. In life, though, resolutions aren’t assured, and it may be up to you to

March 31 - April 27, 2021 • jfp.ms

I was dangling from a cliff, looking around for a resolution


decide what comes next. My most recent chapter started when my youngest child started college. When my first child, a son, was born, I had completed a graduate degree only weeks previously, but I, along with my husband, made the decision that I would be a full-time mom (as if any mom isn’t a “full-time mom,” but you know what I mean) and would not pursue licensure in my field at that time. A few years later, my daughter was born, and with two young children, I was plenty busy and fulfilled doing my best to keep them safe and healthy and help them grow into the best possible versions of themselves. The next thing I knew they were leaving for college. I realize that I was incredibly fortunate to have the option of being a stayat-home-mom, and while it’s not for everyone, I don’t for a moment regret making that choice. I loved being able

to spend my time focusing completely on my children while they were young. If I’m honest, though, I stayed in that role longer than was necessary. I wanted to be available to do things like take them to music lessons and chaperone school trips, and because my daughter has a chronic illness, I wanted to be on hand if related issues arose. In reality, though, they would have been fine if I had gone to work full-time at that point. It was probably, more than anything else, that I wasn’t ready to give up that role, yet. I did work part-time for several years during that time, at a job unrelated to my educational training, but I never went back and completed that licensure. As a result, when my daughter left for college and that “full-time mom” chapter was suddenly complete, I wasn’t sure what was going to come next. I had put all of myself into my kids for so long, I didn’t know what I the next chapter might look like. I didn’t even know what I wanted it to look like. I had lots of education, but I didn’t know if I could get licensed to use it two decades after the fact—or if I even wanted to, if I could. Even before finishing my master’s degree, I had begun to worry that the career path I had chosen wasn’t going to be a good fit for me. So, there I was, at the end of that chapter, dangling from a cliff, looking around for a resolution. As I mentioned before, I am a reader. I always have been. I read fiction, mostly, along with a constant stream of articles—news, current events, pop culture, etc., whatever my Apple News feed puts in front of me. And like many

Photo by Jaredd Craig on Unsplash

The Chapter Ahead of Motherhood: Meeting My Co-workers, Learning How Journalism Works

Editorial Assistant Shaye Smith began working with the JFP in June 2020.

readers, I also write. I had written a few articles for local magazines, as well as some devotional writing for my church, and of course, like so many of us reader/ writer types, there is always a novel in the works. So, when a friend who knew I was looking for something new saw a notice that the Jackson Free Press was looking for an editorial assistant, he forwarded it to me, and I jumped at the chance to apply. I had been a fan of the JFP for years. I already appreciated their perspective and the unflinching journalistic work that they do in the city and metro area, and I wanted to be a part of that, if I could. Fortunately for me, I was hired for the editorial assistant position and


Aliyah Veal

Dustin Cardon

Kayode Crown

Freelance writer Aliyah Veal is a Jackson native with a bachelor’s degree in English from Spelman College and a master’s in journalism from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism in New York. She wrote the cover story on Latrice Rogers and “The Belle Collective.”

Web Editor Dustin Cardon is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi. He enjoys reading fantasy novels and wants to write them himself one day. He wrote the story on the upcoming limited edition Keith Haring Fitness Court.

City Reporter Kayode Crown came to Mississippi from Nigeria where he earned a post-graduate diploma in journalism and was a journalist for 10 years. He likes rock music and the beautiful landscapes in Jackson. He wrote about the Jackson mayor’s race for the local elections news package.

joined the JFP in July. My foremost responsibility is maintaining the events calendar, although I also assist the managing editor with other things as they come up, and I’m learning more about journalism all the time. I have to say, it has been a bit strange to begin a new job in the middle of a pandemic. I am in my eighth month at JFP and, so far, I haven’t actually met any of the staff in person. The whole staff is working from home, and since I’ve been on board, personal engagement has been limited to Zoom meetings, but I look forward to getting to know everyone in the postpandemic world when interacting with people face-to-face is a thing again. I also look forward to getting a better sense of how all the “moving parts” involved in creating a publication like this one fit together when the staff returns to the office. As things are currently, it can be hard to grasp the bigger picture sometimes. For now, though, I am enjoying working from home and learning about local journalism and what goes into bringing a community news source like the Jackson Free Press to its readers. And I’m happy with the new chapter I’ve started. Who knows, it may turn out to be the best one, yet. Shaye Smith is the editorial assistant and events editor at the Jackson Free Press. Send your events information to events@ jacksonfreepress.com.







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cu l

storytelling & re, ir tu

“You don’t have to leave Mississippi to become successful. I made my first million right here in Mississippi. I made several millions right here in Mississippi,”


— Latrice Rogers. See page 14-15 for story




ce eren rev

The Race for Jackson Mayor: Security, Crime, Water Take Center Stage by Kayode Crown

March 31 - April 27, 2021 • jfp.ms


Kayode Crown


avid Martin, a 29-year-old engineer at Hunter Engineering Company’s Raymond office, says that a boosted Jackson economy is on his wish list for Jackson’s next mayor. The Jacksonian packed his red car at Raceway gas station on Highway 18 to fill up on gas on March 20 and spoke with the reporter there to interview Jackson residents on what they want from the winning mayoral candidate in the coming election. Seven people are running against Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba to wrest the city’s leadership from his grasp after his first term ends in early July. Two Democrats are running against him: fireman Kenneth Wilson and west Jackson native Patty Patterson; two Republicans: Jason Wells and Ponto Downing; and three independent candidates: Shafeqah Lodree, Charlotte Reeves and Les Tannehill. The April 6 primary election only includes candidates running as Democrats or Republicans. The three independent candidates will join the two parties’ primary election winners as contestants in the June 8 municipal general election. Martin said he believes that the city is full of potential awaiting exploration. Rather than see degradation, he sees possibilities and wants an emphasis on management, refusing to buy into the narrative that Jackson has a shortage of resources. “I want more concern with how money is being spent in Jackson,” Martin said. “Jackson is not—I guess you could say—a poor city; we have a lot of resources that are mismanaged basically.” He did not provide any data to back this claim. “You have a lot of (calls for) help that goes unanswered like they don’t—I guess—try, they don’t try all the things that they could be trying to make this city better than what it could be,” Martin added. “You got a lot of rundown areas of town that could be used, we can boost the economy, we’ve got the space, and we’ve got the people, so we’ve got the workforce, but there are no jobs for the workforce we have.” Martin says more opportunities for

Jacksonian David Martin said that increasing employment opportunities for the young people in the capital city should be a priority of the person who holds the mayoral position.

young people will go a long way. “But if there aren’t nobody hiring, what else (are) they going to do?” he asked. “I just want to see (a) better direction for the city.” Carrie Jones, also at the gas station, expressed concern about the city’s water situation, still reeling from the February winter storm that resulted in water outages and a month-long citywide boil-water notice. She wants repairs to be a priority, including low water pressure. Even after the city lifted

the boil-water notice one month after the water crisis started, “people are still afraid to drink the water,” Jones said. “People (are) still kind of leery of it.” City of Jackson Election Commission Chairwoman Linda Sanders said her team is preparing for the 138,000 people on the voter roll, but projected based on past numbers that far fewer will turn up to vote. “We have ordered equipment, and we also ordered ballots for everybody, and we’re

prepared and ready for them,” she told the Jackson Free Press on March 18. “We don’t even get 50,000 voters for the municipal, but of course we prepare for them, and we are ready for them.” The capital city’s population is currently about 160,000 people, down from a historic high of 200,000. Chokwe A. Lumumba, Incumbent Democrat In statements provided to the Jackson Free Press, Lumumba referenced his popularity in the 2017 municipal election that ushered in his first term, saying he won the large Democratic primary field convincingly without a runoff and claimed numerous achievements. On why he is seeking reelection, he touts his experience of the last four years. “Jackson needs a mayor who has been tested, who has shown up for our city, who understands the process and, in spite of the challenges, knows how to collaborate and get things done,” he said in the statement. Lumumba’s reelection website contains a video of him addressing the increased rate of homicide—128 in 2020—in the city under his watch and what he plans to do about it. “Most important aspect of this job is the work that we do to protect the lives of our residents,” he said. “The violence we have experienced in our city has

Polling Place Changes Some polling places have changed this year either temporarily or permanently. These changes, as of March 18 per the City of Jackson, are as follows: Temporary Change

Permanent Changes

Ward 1

Ward 4

• Precinct #45 (St. Phillips Church) has temporarily moved to McLeod Elementary School, 1616 Sandalwood Place which is Precinct #36. Voting will be held inside the cafeteria.

Change for Municipal Elections Only

Ward 3

• Precinct 12 (Bonner Institutional Church) located at 3032 Bishop Avenue • Precinct 50 (St. Luther Church) located at 1040 Banks Street

• Precinct #24 (formally French Elementary School) voting will now be conducted at George Kurt’s Fieldhouse Gymnasium located at 125 Gymnasium Drive, Jackson, MS • Precinct #90 (formally Woodville Elementary School) voting will now be conducted at Christ Tabernacle Church located at 1201 Cooper Road

Ward 5

• Precinct #89 (formerly located inside the Metrocenter Mall) voting will now be conducted at Greater Mount Bethel Church located at 4125 Robinson Road

• Precinct #54 (Hardy Middle School) voting will be conducted at JPS Career Development Center located at 2703 1st Avenue

Ward 6

• Precinct #96 (formerly Miracle Temple Evangelistic Church) 418 Lakeshore Drive voting will now be conducted at Fire Station #22 located at 1590 Lakeshore Drive • Precinct #94 (formerly located at Higher Ground Family Worship) 3520 Forest Hill Road voting will now be conducted at Willowood Community Center located at 229 Lake Cove Drive No changes have been made to Ward 2 or Ward 7. These voting precincts will remain the same.

Race for mayor

Kenneth Wilson, Democrat Kenneth Wilson, Ridgewood Park Neighborhood Association president and former City of Jackson firefighter, is campaigning on five issues, as noted on his campaign website: public safety, infrastruc-

ture, community improvement, education and economic improvement. In a YouTube video, Wilson mentioned the impact of high homicide rates on families and said that businesses are leaving because of crime. “Good businesses that have been burglarized multiple times, and absolutely nothing has been done about it,” he said. Wilson mentioned that his solution to the safety concern starts with appointing another police chief, replacing James Davis. However, Lumumba has stated that Davis has his confidence. “The first thing we have to do, we have to appoint a (police) chief that the men and women will support. I think that’s very essential if we intend to improve the city of Jackson,” Wilson said. His solution also includes providing youth-based programs. His background information he sent to Jackson Free Press detailed his involvement in the life of young people in the city. He said he is running for mayor to put in place creative leadership. “Crime has spread across our city so much that our elders will not commute after dark,” he stated. “My crime

plan requires implementing community policing, which makes Jackson Police Department a proactive Police Department versus what we currently have is a reactive Police Department.” Jason Wells, Republican Thirty-eight-year-old Republican Jason Wells, a Lexington, Miss., police officer who stays in Jackson, said in a statement to the Jackson Free Press that crime is first among his priorities if he becomes mayor. He promises a focus on law enforcement and to give pay raises to those not included in the Lumumba administration’s pay raise. “Combating crime is multi-faceted,” he stated. “Law enforcement officers along with community members have a considerable part to play.” He decries the number of police officers in the city compared to the population. “Community members can’t go silent or intentionally mislead police when questioned about crimes and those who commit them, family or not,” he added. “Gotta change the culture, JPD and community members. Zero tolerance … from littering to capital murder. True accountability-Zero Tolerance culture.” courtesy Jason Wells and Ponto R. Downing

Patty Patterson, Democrat Patterson provided information to the Jackson Free Press revealing her work as an entrepreneur and on communityengagement initiatives. She said she is running for mayor to get Jackson back on the right track. “With the understanding of municipal government, I can start on Day One with a plan of action to improve our essential qualities,” she stated. “Improving our water quality, crime-fighting abilities, infrastructure, and public education system will allow our city to build strong economic base.” The first thing on her vision on her campaign website is “Crime and Public Safety,” a common concern. “Jackson’s Police and Fire Departments must be equipped with modern technology and adequate resources in order to serve and protect the citizens of Jackson,” she stated. “It is equally important that our first responders safely return homes to their families.” “Programs will be initiated to create a stable workforce and reduce crime,” she added. “We can also get a stronger grip on crime when we remove guns from the hands of irresponsible citizens.” She mentioned mental health as linked to crime and said she will take a stronger approach toward addressing it and also join forces with other law enforcement agencies.

Chokwe A. Lumumba (incumbent), Patty Patterson and Kenneth Wilson are in a three-way race for the mayoral Democratic ticket. Voting takes place on April 6, 7 a.m to 7 p.m. The top candidate needs a majority to avoid a runoff.

courtesy Chokwe Lumumba, Patty Patterson and Kenneth Wilson

revealed the deep crisis in which too many of our families find themselves and the need to challenge ourselves to meet these new realities with much more.” Lumumba mentioned more officers’ recruitment and adjustment of entry-level salaries for JPD, provision of body cameras and improved street lighting as parts of his efforts. He said that the pandemic had aggravated societal problems. He also noted that state and federal governments should do more for mental health and other supports. “Our vision of Jackson will be a city that seeks to solve problems of crime holistically as symptoms of much deeper issues,” Lumumba said in the video presentation. “A city with commitment and compassion for all of our residents, a holistic approach to addressing the root causes of crime is important because it works.”

Candidates Jason Wells and Ponto R. Downing are on the ballot for the April 6 Republican primary election.

Ponto Downing, Republican Seventy-six-year-old Ponto Downing joins Wells on the ballot on April 6 for the city-wide Republican primary election. He described himself as walking history in a written statement to the Jackson Free Press. Downing told this reporter that he distances himself from the internet but will have to use it if he becomes mayor. “I’m running for mayor out of desperation,” he stated. “Someone has to do something—soon!” “If elected all of Jackson’s problems will be solved quickly!” he added. “But I know my odds of being Mayor are 100-1! But hopefully, Gov. Tate Reeves will intervene (and) rescue the capitol.” At a mayoral debate presented by Women for Progress, Downing said he does not actually want to be mayor, but feels like he has to run. He also claimed without evidence that there is a “war on white people” in Jackson. (He is white.) All Voters Can Vote in Primary Jackson Election Commission Chairwoman Sanders told the Jackson Free Press that the two parties have contracted with the municipal election body to conduct the April 6 primary election after absentee voting ends on April 3. Any registered voter in the city can participate at any of the 82 precincts in the primary election without identifying as a registered Republican or Democrat, Sanders said. “In Mississippi, a primary candidate must win a majority of the votes cast for the office he or she is seeking in order to secure the nomination,” Ballotpedia, dubbed the digital encyclopedia of American politics and elections, stated. “If no candidate for an office wins a majority of votes cast in the primary, a runoff election between the top two vote-getters is held.” Any possible runoff in the election will be between the two candidates with the highest votes on a ballot. The threeway Democratic party primary may lead to a runoff if none of the candidates wins more than 50% of the cast votes. Based on this requirement, the Republican primary, which is between two people, will not go into a runoff; one of the two will get more than half. “If you are a registered voter, and you are a registered voter within 30 days before the date of the election, you can vote, either Republican or Democrat,” Sanders said. “You can vote (but) you can’t vote for both of them.” Each precinct will have a Democratic Party area and a Republican Party area, and the voters will choose one of the two more race for mayor, p 8

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Jackson City Council Election Guide by Julian Mills


ince 1985, a seven-member city council has governed the City of Jackson with each representing the seven wards, or sections, of the city. This year, election officials will hold Jackson City Council primary elections for each party on April 6, which will decide who represents their respective parties for each ward in the general election. If no single candidate receives a simple majority for each ward during the primary, a runoff election will be held April 27. Independent and Libertarian candidates will not be in the primary races, but will instead face Democrat and Republican candidates in the general election. The general election for both mayor and city council is set for June 8.

lowering city crime while promoting infrastructure, economic development and beautification. Incumbent Democrat Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth I. Stokes is running again this year for what would be

March 31 - April 27, 2021 • jfp.ms




to vote under but not both. Election Commissioner Sanders said each precinct on primary election day will have separate tables for the two parties. “The Democrats will have their own table, and the Republicans on the other side will have (their) own table. And you go to the one that you choose to vote in,” Sanders said. There is the option of write-ins to vote for someone else other than the candidates listed for the mayor and ward positions. The Republican party’s primary ballot has only the mayoral position listed. It is the only position with more than one Republican candidate. The three independent mayoral candidates will join the Democratic and Republican primary elections winners on the ballot on June 8 for the general election. Les Tannehill, Independent Independent candidate Tannehill,

former Jackson Police Department and former Hinds County Sheriff’s Department officer and business owner, said on his campaign website that rebuilding the city to “be a safe and prosperous city is going to take partnerships.” “I have developed many contacts and formed many relationships on the federal, state and local levels,” he stated. “All of which would be glad to participate in making the City of Jackson a better place for all of us and our families to live, work, play and worship.” In a statement on his plan for the city, Tannehill said that he is running for mayor because he feels the pain of the capital city. “In the streets of Jackson, MS I have felt the pain of dying young men, who had been shot, as I knelt beside them trying to stop the bleeding until paramedics arrived,” he said. “As a law enforcement officer, I felt


candidates Gwen Ward Chapman and E. Sirena Wilson. Chapman previously ran on a campaign promoting hemp production in the state, while Wilson previously ran for the District 1 Justice Court judge seat, The winner here will face independent candidate Patricia Williams in the general election. Incumbent Democratic Ward 4 Councilman De’Keither Stamps is not seeking re-election to the city council after winning the special election runoff race for District 66 of the Mississippi House of Representatives. Rep. Stamps’ departure means an open race for the ward. In an interview on radio station WRBJ, Democratic candidate Larry Maurice Wilson spoke of his reasoning for running. “The platform that I’m Who’s Running? currently on as an adviser, as a coach, This year’s primary election ballot as a leader in my church, as a leader in will have 20 candidates, spread across the the community, I’ve been helping folks seven wards of the city. Not all wards are already. So as an adviser, I help folks contested, however. Republican Ward 1 manage their investments, manage their Councilman Ashby Foote is running as Though every citizen of Jackson may vote for Jackson mayor, votes for Jackson City retirement funds,” he said. “Managing the uncontested incumbent for Ward 1. Council must be cast specifically for the ward in which a resident lives. Voters must other folks money definitely gives me an Foote has repeatedly called for tougher register 30 days prior to Election Day, June 8, to be allowed to cast their ballot. edge I would say.” action on crime, noting the city’s high In a statement to WJTV, Demomurder rate for 2020. his seventh total term in the city council, with some gaps. cratic candidate and Democratic Party Field Leader JacqueDemocrat Ward 2 Councilwoman Angelique Lee is Crime and infrastructure are on the top of Stokes’ list of line R. Amos gave a statement detailing her candidacy. running uncontested after winning a special election last priorities. “We’ve got to do something to stop all these kill“Watching the suffering and fear all around us over October to replace previous Democrat Councilman Mel- ings,” Stokes said in a January press briefing. the past 10 months has reminded me that every person vin Priester Jr. Lee’s four-pronged campaign focused on The veteran councilman faces competition from who has something to give back to help improve the the pain of being underpaid, under-appreciated, under-staffed and overworked,” he added. “I’ve felt the pain of the Jackson Fire Department, who worked hand-in-hand with us, face the same difficulties working tirelessly, responding to call after call.” Shafeqah “BigMama” Lodree, Independent Lodree, who runs a bail bonding business, wants to fight crime, according to a statement she provided to the Jackson Free Press on her background. “Once elected, one of her primary focuses will be reducing crime,” the statement said. “Having worked in the bail industry for over a decade, she’s had a bird’s eye view of the plethora of flaws in the system.” “She acknowledges the need for what she calls ‘Jail Reform’ and has a plan to Bail Jackson out! Appointing a competent and engaged Chief that understands the importance of maintaining a great morale in the department can drastically reduce crime in Jackson.”

She stated that she wants to reach out to registered voters who have not been turning up at the polls. “The population of Jackson is over 150,000, and I haven’t seen 50,000 people vote in municipal elections in years,” she said. “That lets me know that at least another 50,000 people have given up.” Charlotte Reeves, Independent Businesswoman Charlotte Reeves also addressed insecurity in her statement of purpose she sent to the Jackson Free Press. “Under the Reeves leadership, the depressed, doomed and gloomy crime infested city will be revitalized,” the past mayoral candidate stated. “As Mayor, citizens will not have to wait another year, another term, or another 3 decades to see a positive improvement in Jackson.” She indicated that her political relationships will help the city. “Over her lifetime, she has watched the city fall apart. Reeves refused to give up on Jackson—a city she loves,” the document says.


lives of our fellow citizens and communities has an obligation to serve,” Amos said. “Today I am honored to qualify as a candidate for City Council in Jackson’s Fourth Ward. I am running because I have always put people above politics, and that is what we need now more than ever. I look forward to hearing about the hopes, fears, and dreams of my fellow Jacksonians in the Fourth Ward in the weeks and months ahead. Jackson is my home, and I will serve this city with all that I have to give. Democratic candidate Brian C. Grizzell, whose previous work includes serving as a planning and rezoning commissioner, gave a statement to WJTV detailing his candidacy. “I am extremely excited to announce my candidacy for City Councilman, Ward 4,” Grizzel said. “We must focus on pressing issues facing the Citizens of Ward 4. Strong leadership is critical to move Ward 4 forward during these uncertain times. I will represent the Citizens of Ward 4 with the same professionalism, tenacity, advocacy, and trust that characterized my work as a Planning and Rezoning Commissioner, representing Ward 4, educator, businessman, and Civil Service Commissioner for the City of Jackson.” Other candidates include Eddie “Fireman” James, Malcolm Dwight May, Karen Gayle Porter and McKay “Pleshette” Smith. Incumbent Democratic Ward 5 Councilman Charles H. Tillman seeks to retain his seat this year against Democratic opponents Vernon Hartley, Rickey Jones, James Richard Ridgley Jr., and Adam Troy Sanders in the primary election. Ward 6 sees incumbent Democratic Ward 5 Councilman Aaron Banks face off against Brad Quinn Davis and Patricia Jackson. The primary election winner will move ahead to face Republican candidate Zidkejah Wilks in the general election. Incumbent Democrat Ward 7 Councilwoman Virgi Lindsay is running unopposed in the primary, though she will face Libertarian candidate Bryan Keller in the general election. Candidates can email additional platform information we were enable to obtain by press time to add to this story online to both julian@jacksonfreepress.com and dustin@jacksonfreepress.com.

City Primaries: Tuesday, April 6, from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.


hough every citizen of Jackson may vote for Jackson mayor, votes for Jackson City Council must be cast specifically for the ward in which a resident lives. Voters must register 30 days prior to Election Day, June 8, to be allowed to cast their ballot. It is too late to register to vote in the April 6 primaries. If you wish to register to vote, there are multiple ways to do so. You can contact the Hinds County Circuit Clerk’s office at, 601-968-6628, the Jackson Municipal Clerks’ office at 601-960-1035, or when you obtain your driver’s license by mail, online, or in person. For more information about how to register to vote you may also contact the city Elections Hotline at 1-800-829-6786. If you wish to register to vote by mail, you may fill out a registration form available at: https://www.sos.ms.gov/Elections-Voting/Documents/Voter_Registration.pdf

This identification can take the form of: 1. Driver’s license 2. Photo ID card issued by any branch, department, agency, or entity of the State of Mississippi 3. United States passport 4. Employee photo ID card issued by any branch, department, agency, or entity of the U.S. government 5. License to carry a pistol or revolver 6. Tribal photo ID card 7. Student ID card, issued by any accredited college, university or community or junior college in the State of Mississippi 8. Mississippi Voter ID card 9. Any photo ID issued by any branch, department, agency, or entity of the U.S. government or any state government, such as a driver’s license issued by a state other than Mississippi. You also have the right to an affidavit ballot if you have a religious objection to having your photograph taken and do not have any photo ID at all. If this is the case, you would then have five business days after that specific election day to sign an Affidavit of Religious Objection in the Municipal Clerk’s Office. Once registered, you may cast your ballot in your ward’s primary race, any potential runoff race, and the general election. Again, these elections are on April 6, April 27, and June 8 respectively.


Independent candidates Charlotte Reeves, Les Tannehill, and Shafeqah “BigMama” Lodree will join the winners of the April 6 Democratic and Republican primaries in the general election for mayor of Jackson.

More than a Job Forty-seven-year-old Roymon Gathrite told the Jackson Free Press at the Raceway gas station that he desires that the mayor of Jackson, after the June 8 election,

Absentee ballots are also allowed for city council races. Absentee applications may be requested 60 days before the general election, which means for the general election anyone can request them starting on April 6. An application must be filled out before the ballot itself can be sent. Any voter who will be away during the election or for whom going to their physical polling place would be an undue burden is eligible for an absentee ballot. For more information on absentee ballots you can call the numbers listed above. When voting in any election you will be asked to present photo identification. If you do not present a photo ID, however, you can still cast your ballot, and you may not be turned away from voting. You have the right to request an Affidavit ballot in that moment, in which an attending official must sign off as a witness to your vote. You will then have five business days to present an acceptable ID to the Municipal Clerks office.

will display the highest commitment. “I expect for the next mayor of Jackson to have some concern for the city and the citizens of Jackson, not just have a position or a job,” Gathrite told the Jackson

Free Press. “(I expect the person) to bring the city back to life, not just talk about it, but to be about it.” “I would like to see businesses coming back to Jackson. You got less jobs in Jackson, and they’re just not putting forth the effort to just get things done and put them in the right perspective,” he added. Painter Jake Walters, 40, said he wants a focus on the infrastructure and tighter budgeting from the mayor, while reflecting on the winter storm that exposed the city’s aging water infrastructure. “We need some help as far as the water supply goes, and some of the outlying cities around Jackson have newer infrastructure than Jackson by at least 75 years,” Walters said. “So we need more of our budget (going towards) fixing the pipes and making sure that we have generally quicker response time as it relates to when the power goes out or when the water goes out.” “I’d like for the people’s voice to be considered before actions are taken just on a basic level,” he added.

Email story tips to city/county reporter Kayode Crown at kayode@jacksonfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter at @kayodecrown. MOST VIRAL STORIES AT JFP.MS: 1. “OPINION: What Is Wrong with America Is Us White People” by K. Jason Coker 2. “PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Jackson’s Water Crisis: What Would Ditto Do?” by Todd Stauffer 3. “Manager: Staff Shortage, Contractors’ Practices Affect City’s Solid Waste Management” by Kayode Crown 4. “Infrastructure, Violence, Airport Takeover on Stage at Jackson Mayoral Debate” by Julian Mills 5. “Rest in Peace, Ronni Mott: Your Journalism Saved Lives. This I Know.” by Donna Ladd

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March 31 - April 27, 2021 • jfp.ms

Finalist Ballot: March 31 - April 18


Vote for your favorite: iÃÌÊ œV̜ÀÊUÊ iÃÌÊ œÃ“ïVÊ-ÕÀ}iœ˜ÊUÊ iÃÌÊ …ˆÀœ«À>V̜ÀÊ iÃÌÊ ÕÀÃiÊ*À>V̈̈œ˜iÀÉ*…ÞÈVˆ>˜ÃÊÃÈÃÌ>˜Ì iÃÌÊ1À}i˜ÌÊ >ÀiÊ ˆ˜ˆVÊUÊ iÃÌÊ-«iVˆ>ÌÞÊ ˆ˜ˆV iÃÌʜëˆÌ>ÊUÊ iÃÌÊ*…ÞÈV>Ê/…iÀ>«ˆÃÌ iÃÌÊ i˜ÌˆÃÌÊUÊ iÃÌÊ*i`ˆ>ÌÀˆVÊ i˜ÌˆÃÌÊUÊ iÃÌÊ œÃ“ïVÊ i˜ÌˆÃÌ iÃÌÊ"À̅œ`œ˜ÌˆÃÌÊUÊ iÃÌÊ*i`ˆ>ÌÀˆVˆ>˜ iÃÌÊ7œ“i˜½ÃÊi>Ì…Ê ˆ˜ˆVÊUÊ iÃÌÊ"«Ìœ“iÌÀˆÃÌÉ"«…Ì…>“œœ}ˆÃÌ

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Nsombi Lambright & arekia beNNett

Bring Mississippi Into the 21st Century— Overturn Its Jim Crow-era Voting Laws

March 31 - April 27, 2021 • jfp.ms

Mississippians disenfranchised from voting are more likely to be Black and young.


felony disenfranchisement in Mississippi, the facts speak for themselves. Mississippi now has the highest percentage of its residents denied the right to vote because of a felony conviction. A 2020 study by The Sentencing Project found that 235,150 Mississippians, or one in 10 of the state’s voting-age population, have lost their right to vote due to felony disenfranchisement. Those disenfranchised are more likely to be Black and young. Mississippi has the third highest per-

courtesy AdvAncement Project


hen it comes to voting, there is no denying a simple fact about Mississippi: Our state has refused to eliminate antiquated laws that disproportionately silence Black and young voters. In drafting the state’s constitution in 1890, white lawmakers with mal intent sought to limit the voting power of Black Freedmen by permanently disenfranchising those convicted of a specific set of felony offenses. And while felony disenfranchisement laws have been updated since the 1800s, the discriminatory spirit of these policies still lives today. Black Mississippians are still disproportionately harmed by these measures. It is past time for state legislators to bring Mississippi into alignment with the nation by automatically restoring the right to vote of returning citizens and those with felony convictions. By failing to overturn policies rooted in Jim Crow racism, the state clings to a criminal legal system that belies our values as a state and makes regaining the right to vote nearly impossible. The state must act to modernize the voting-rights restoration process and ensure all Mississippians have equal access to the ballot box. Felony disenfranchisement is a process in which a person loses the right to vote when convicted of any one of 22 specific felony offenses. When it comes to

Publisher & President Todd Stauffer Founding Editor Donna Ladd Associate Publisher Kimberly Griffin Creative Director Kristin Brenemen REPORTERS AND WRITERS City Reporter Kayode Crown Reporting Fellow Julian Mills Contributing Writers Dustin Cardon, Bryan Flynn, Taylor McKay Hathorn, Jenna Gibson, Tunga Otis, Richard Coupe,Torsheta Jackson, Michele D. Baker, Mike McDonald, Kyle Hamrick EDITORS AND OPERATIONS Managing Editor Nate Schumann JFPDaily.com Editor Dustin Cardon Executive Assistant Azia Wiggins Editorial Assistant Shaye Smith Consulting Editor JoAnne Prichard Morris

One Voice and Mississippi Votes formed a statewide coalition to introduce 200 bills of suffrage during the 2021 Mississippi legislative session. These organizations are encouraging state lawmakers to automatically restore voting rights once returning citizens complete their sentences to ensure equal voting access for all.

centage of disenfranchised Black citizens in the nation: 130,500 or 16% of the Black population—twice the national average. Most disenfranchised Mississippians are not incarcerated. A new report by One Voice and Mississippi Votes notes that more than 90% of the disenfranchised live in Mississippi communities. The report, “Our Voices, Our Votes: Felony Disenfranchisement and Re-entry in Mississippi,” indicates that returning citizens—who are disproportionately Black—are members of our communities who face challenges in securing housing, employment and health care. The data show that while the state’s felony disenfranchisement laws have been updated, they still work to accomplish the racist ends of the state’s forefathers. A 2018 lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center also highlights how the process of regaining the right to vote is racially discriminatory. Currently, Mississippians can only regain their voting rights through an executive order from the governor or by the successful passage of a suffrage bill by the Legislature restoring an individual’s right to vote. From 2007-2017, the Mississippi Legislature restored voting rights to only 45 people. The 2018 case argued that the suffrage bill process “violates the First Amendment by vesting legislators with unfettered discretion,” and violates the 14th Amendment because “it discriminates based on race and creates a restoration scheme that is

arbitrary and has no standards.” Fortunately, voting-rights organizations in Mississippi led by Black women are working hard to overturn Mississippi’s racist voter-suppression legacy. Organizations like One Voice and Mississippi Vote are forming a statewide coalition effort to introduce 200 bills of suffrage during the 2021 Mississippi legislative session. This work builds on over a decade of experience engaging communities across the state and is a product of policy, advocacy and our push to modernize Mississippi’s election system. We not only established an easy online suffrage application form to help the disenfranchised begin the process of restoring their right to vote, but we also set up a telephone hotline, 1-888-601-VOTE (8683), where Mississippians can get live support during the process. We continue to work to change Mississippi’s voting laws. It is clear that if Mississippi is to become a state that ensures equal access to the ballot box, state legislators must act to end the state’s discriminatory felony disenfranchisement laws. Lawmakers should restore voting rights to everyone who has completed their prison terms and establish inclusive criteria for approving suffrage applications. Nsombi Lambright is the executive director of One Voice Mississippi. Arekia Bennett is the executive director of Mississippi Votes. This column does not necessarily reflect the views of the JFP.

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Editorial and Sales (601) 362-6121 Fax (601) 510-9019 Daily updates at jacksonfreepress.com The Jackson Free Press is the city’s award-winning, locally owned news magazine, reaching more than 35,000 readers per issue via more than 600 distribution locations in the Jackson metro area—and an average of over 35,000 visitors per week at www.jacksonfreepress. com. The Jackson Free Press is free for pick-up by readers; one copy per person, please. First-class subscriptions are available to “gold level” and higher members of the JFP VIP Club (jfp.ms/vip). The views expressed in this magazine and at jacksonfreepress.com are not necessarily those of the publisher or management of Jackson Free Press Inc. © Copyright 2021 Jackson Free Press Inc.

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‘The New Southern Belle’ Latrice Rogers Demonstrates that Mississippi can be Fertile Ground for Entrepreneurial Success by Aliyah Veal


year into her business, she made her first million, she said. “It was at that moment where I knew it wasn’t that hard of a choice, basically. I had to figure out which worked better, and my hobby at that time was what worked for me,” Rogers said. ‘Vending Machines and Hair Care’ After Goddess Lengths Virgin Hair started to take off, Latrice’s next step was acquiring a storefront, an idea that a Target security guard gave her, she said. She moved into a small space off McWillie Drive for

about $300 a month. Around this same time, she partnered with her alma mater, Jackson State University, to become a vendor for the school’s student campus card. “When you go to college, you really don’t have any money, which is why the JSU supercard is so important. It’s the only money that’s accessible, and the thing about the campus cards is it’s only certain vendors who take it,” Rogers explained about the business move. The partnership with the school was a really lucrative business that helped her grow to a bigger storefront on Northside Sterling Photography

March 31 - April 27, 2021 • jfp.ms


atrice Rogers was always told that going to school to become an attorney or doctor would equate to success, so that’s what she did. She graduated from Canton High School, enrolled at Jackson State University and obtained her bachelor’s degree in biology in 2010. But Rogers, like many college graduates, struggled to find a job in her field after graduation. After four long years of studying biology, she found herself working at Office Depot making $8 an hour. The Canton native couldn’t wrap her mind around all the hard work she put into leaving her hometown and attending college only to ultimately end up making not even a dollar above minimum wage. It didn’t make sense, she said. “It was that moment where I was like, ‘Something has to give.’ Hair was always a fascination with me, doing makeup; I was just always into it. If you would have known me back in a day and saw me, the first thing you would have probably noticed was my hair,” Rogers told the Jackson Free Press. Rogers wouldn’t be styling hair, though, but creating a hair extensions brand, Goddess Lengths Virgin Hair, that would ultimately make her a multimillionaire. She said she would wake up and go to sleep with hair on her mind, so she started researching different types of hair. “I had little money, so I had to be careful what I buy and that’s where research came in. I bought a few batches of hair, and my friend was a hairstylist, so she tested the hair out on her(self) and on me,” the business mogul said. Rogers and her friend tested the longevity of the hair, the shedding, the movement of the hair, which would ultimately help her determine whether the hair would be good quality or not. After various tests, she found the perfect hair and started selling it. “I would be at Target, and I would literally have a line wrapped around the car with people walking to my car, ready to purchase hair. And I’m sitting in the car passing bundles out the window,” Rogers remembered. In 2013, Rogers went from making $75 a day to thousands of dollars a day. A

Latrice Rogers made her first $1 million within a year of opening her business.

Drive with a retail and salon side. And next came one of her most creative ventures, a hair vending machine, which was the brainchild of Rogers and her husband, Clifton Rogers. The idea spawned from the need to provide customer service at any time— during a point when customers would call her phone at 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. to buy hair extensions, she said. She and her husband decided to put the vending machine in Northpark Mall, where the mall opens as early as 5 a.m. and closes as late as 11 p.m. “The opening day of the vending machine, it was like hundreds of people lined up. The guy that was over the mall had to call in security guards. Of course, at this point, I’m thinking I’m about to get put out of the mall,” Rogers said. “He was turning red in the face because he’d never seen anything like that. When Jordans come out, you know how their line is, but my line was a lot longer than the Jordan line,” she said. The head of the mall recorded the event and called her into his office. He had sent the recording to the CFO of the mall and they were so amazed by the turnout that they offered her the opportunity to put her vending machines in other malls. She now has her hair vending machines in Mississippi and Tennessee, she said. “A lot of people look at selling hair and think it is a hobby. You’re not the traditional lawyer, doctor or nurse. But it’s so much that goes into the backend of actually making a successful business and developing it into a multimillion dollar business,” she said. Recently, Rogers expanded her brand past hair extensions with the launch of her haircare line, Esensual Beauty. The line includes shampoo, conditioner, hair-care serum, edge tamer and hair masks with other products still developing, the businesswoman said. Weaves are Rogers’ go-to hairstyle, but she wasn’t really taking care of her hair, which would result in little patches in her head, she said. She used her science degree and began mixing different chemical-free, organic ingredients that helped to grow her hair back stronger and healthier. “I gave them to my mom (and) my sisters, and they’re telling me how amaz-

actually the most successful year of my business thus far,” Rogers said. Another element to being a part of this reality show is the exposure it brings to Jackson and the state of Mississippi. Rogers said Mississippi has it a lot harder than other states and that here you have to work twice as hard. She knows people will see the state and think what they want, but she hopes the show changes their perspective. “I want to definitely give off the image like we’re not all country bumpkins. We’re not uneducated. Mississippi is

late her on her win. “I was definitely one of those people who nothing right ever happened to. I actually cried because at that moment, it’s like the people they’re actually watching,” she said. “My nieces come up to me and tell me like, ‘Hey auntie, I’m so proud of you. I want to be like you when I grow up.’ It was just another accolade.” Rogers’ success shows that you don’t have to leave home to be successful. She said she doesn’t understand why people feel they have to go outside the state when they can practically go underground and

“Belle Collective” first aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network earlier this year and stars Latrice Rogers, as well as Dr. Antoinette Liles, Lateshia Pearson, Marie Hamilton-Abston and Tambra Cherie, who all hail from Mississippi.

wide-brimmed hats and gloves. This style of dress was most notable in the premiere episode of “The Belle Collective,” where some of the ladies dressed up in southern-belle attire for brunch. While Rogers is aware of the term’s history, she defines herself differently. “I definitely define myself as a strong, successful Black woman. I don’t let titles dictate me. A lot of people look at women in the South (as) poised women or successful women. They’re belles in the South, (and) I would say we’re the new definition of a southern belle,” she said. Despite the drama within the show, the exposure has helped increase sales for her business, she said. The pandemic allowed her to become more strategic in how she markets and promotes her product since everyone is buying and watching from home, she said. “You would think that people being quarantined in their home wouldn’t care about beauty, hair, makeup or anything like that. But the year COVID hit was

just so much more,” Rogers said. “I think Carlos King picked a dynamic group of women to display what Jackson is, what Jackson is made of. We’re like any other state. We work hard. We grind.” The show’s season concluded two weeks ago and, based on her experience, Rogers said she is open to returning for another season. “I think I’m better prepared now, and I know more of what to expect and how to finagle things when it comes to reality (TV). I have a story to tell, and I don’t think that season one was enough time to tell the entire story. “So I’ll definitely sign up for season two,” the Canton native said. ‘Rooted in Mississippi’ In 2017, Rogers was awarded the U.S. Small Business Association Young Entrepreneur Award. After being nominated, she sent the requested information to the Small Business Association, who called her later the same day to congratu-

become successful if they’re consistent and tenacious, she explained. “I’m rooted in Mississippi. I have deep family roots, and I do everything because of my family, which motivates me to go even harder. You don’t have to leave Mississippi to become successful. I made my first million right here in Mississippi. I made several millions right here in Mississippi,” Rogers said. Although she may get a condo out of the state, there is nowhere else she would rather live than in Mississippi, paying her taxes and giving back to her community, the entrepreneur said. “I just want little girls to look at me and see me as them. Be consistent and know that all things are possible. If this girl can do it, then so can they,” Rogers said. “I want people to look at me and think, ‘She was an amazing woman—a woman of God, a woman of giving, just a great spirit. One of the greatest.’ “That’s what I want my legacy to be,” Rogers added.

March 31 - April 27, 2021 • jfp.ms

‘The New Southern Belles’ Her continued success has now led to Latrice Rogers’ world debut on the Oprah Winfrey Network’s new reality show, “The Belle Collective.” The series follows “the personal and professional lives of five successful, glamorous boss women who are redefining what it means to be a southern belle in Jackson, Miss.,” a press release reads. Cast members include Rogers, Antoinette Liles, Tambra Cherie, Lateshia Pearson and Marie Hamilton-Abston. Rogers said it took a lot of convincing from Jacoby Magee, who pitched the idea to Carlos King, for her to join the show. Reality television comes with a lot of exposure. Being a private person, she found herself hesitant to let the world in, she explained. “You may know my business but not even know my face because I feel like I don’t have to be in the forefront as long as I’m providing a great product and great service. That’s all that matters,” she said. Magee contacted Rogers’ friend, who ultimately convinced her that she would be great for the show and that it would be a great opportunity to tell her story, Rogers explained. After accepting the offer in 2019, Rogers began filming during the pandemic, she said. Everybody from film crew to cast were tested for COVID-19 three times a week, which allowed filming to proceed as normal and allowed the cast members to film without masks. “I always thought that reality shows were fake until I actually started doing a reality show. With the one that we’re doing, I know personally that everything I bring to the table is the real me—and I think for the most part with the other girls as well,” Rogers said. At first, the businesswoman would read reviews about the show, but she stopped to avoid any negativity in her life and small circle, she said. “I try to steer away from the blogs

because they don’t personally know me. They know what they’re seeing on TV. They kind of try to pick at your life, put their input and say what they think should have went on. You don’t know me, so how can I get mad at your opinion?” Rogers said. The show’s title is interesting as the term “southern belles” has often referred to young, unmarried, southern, white women of upper socioeconomic classes. The term was born during the antebellum era, and their image was characterized by hoop skirts, corsets, pantalettes,

Oprah Winfrey network

ing these products are. They said, ‘hey you need to market and sell them.’ Everybody, of course, needs hair maintenance, so it came from that notion—taking care of your hair underneath your protective styles,” Rogers added. Since the hair-care line’s launch, consumers from across the country have been buying her products. Currently, she’s working with a major retail store to get her products in stores, hopefully by the middle of 2021. “I’m just thankful that people believe in me, and they trust my word. That just goes to show, reputation takes you a long way and just doing right by people, providing great service and great products. It makes a difference,” Rogers said.


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Fine and Dandy: Defining Jackson’s Food Identity by Torsheta Jackson


Cody Walker and lexie Maier

uch like Memphis’ barbecue, New Orleans’ creole dishes, Philidelphia’s cheesesteaks and New York City’s deep-dish pizzas, MH Ventures hopes to help the Jackson area similarly define its food identity. “Our long-term goal was to give a voice, a face and a talent to (the question), ‘What is Jackson cuisine?’” Catering Director Cody Walker says. “We have some of the best restaurants in the South, so what defines that cuisine? When you think ‘Jackson,’ what do you think of? That is what we are trying to do with the Fine and Dandy.” Fine and Dandy opened in December 2017 in the District at Eastover and quickly became a local hit. Wallpapered pictures of iconic Jackson eateries welcome customers, whose dishes rest on vintage china, while classic tunes fill the air. The restaurant offers twists on modern American fare. The popular “Da Bod Tots” menu item features tater tots topped with pimento cheese, “Betty White” barbecue sauce, bacon and green onions. Another favorite dish is the “Baked Cheese Dip,”

Catering Director Cody Walker credits Fine and Dandy’s customer base for helping the business push through the last year amid the pandemic.

a mix of pepper jelly, bacon, cream cheese blend, green onions and almonds served with crackers. In November 2019, Fine and Dandy launched It’s Happening Jackson as its official catering brand. The company services both small intimate groups and large festive

ones. The catering group can accommodate buffet, cocktail, individually packaged, and seated dinner setups and is equipped to provide a full bar and staff, florals and linen. The menu sports many of Fine and Dandy’s signature dishes such as the pan-seared redfish as well as other favorite

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items like gumbo and jambalaya. “We offer all types of flavors (including) southern, Cajun, barbecue,” Walker says. “We love to take someone’s vision and run with it and not make it ours but rather execute on yours.” Walker, who accepted his current position two months before the pandemic hit, says that COVID-19 has presented its own set of challenges, as with other restaurants. However, Walker credits the support of Jackson residents for helping keep the company afloat, adding that he hopes to continue to meet the needs of the community by offering quality service and memorable experiences. It’s Happening Jackson will soon unveil a new marketing campaign that highlights its commitment to catering to everyone in the metro area. “We’ve been able to build sales because the community has been so awesome to us,” Walker says. “We are always pushing ourselves to try to meet what the community and area want and to do our best at it.” To learn more, visit eatdandy.com.


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Ardenland and Wratched Entertainmenet Group Host Socially Distanced ‘Twilight Concerts’ by Taylor McKay Hathorn


March 31 - April 27, 2021 • jfp.ms


Blair Ballou

reaking the drought that began after concert tours around the world ground to a halt last spring and remained shuttered through the summer and fall, the Renaissance at Colony Park will play host to Ardenland and Wratched Entertainment Group’s Twilight Concerts on Saturday, April 24. The five-band festival marks Ardenland owner Arden Barnett’s second attempt at a socially distanced concert, with a concert in November selling out. “Everyone felt safe and was elated with the way (the November concert) was handled. It was a brilliant day of music,” Barnett recalls. With the lowered positive COVID case numbers and the rise in vaccinations, Barnett felt that the time was right to schedule a second show. “It’s fairly diverse programming, and there are great guest artists. It’ll be a good day (to hear) a little bit of everything,” Barnett says of the upcoming show. Despite the diversity in the Ardenland and Wratched Entertainment Group’s first installation of the socially distant Twilight Concerts series back in scheduled slate of performances, all November 2020 featured artists such as Tank and the Bangas. concert goers will have to adhere to careful COVID protocols, as tickets will be sold in “pods” of four, six or eight, thus allowing too. “We make it clear what we expect of the public and The outdoor concert is slated to begin at 2 p.m., attendees to control who enters their six-foot bubble. Each what the public can expect from us,” Barnett says, noting with the artists performing into the night and the Allman pod will be complete with what Barnett calls a “COVID that temperature checks and symptom-questionnaires will Betts Band scheduled to close out the evening around 10 kit,” complete with hand sanitizer provided by the Cathead be conducted upon arrival. Restroom attendants will en- p.m. Tickets for a pod of four are currently available for distillery and extra masks. sure the sanitization and spacing of designated bathrooms, $40 apiece and can be purchased through Ticketmaster. These guidelines will be enforced outside the pods, and masks will be required in food-truck lines. The following artists are slated to perform.

Allman Betts Band

G. Love and the Juice

Brandon “Taz” Niederauer

Cedric Burnside

The Vamps

Headlining Ardenland’s Twilight Concerts at the Renaissance, the Allman Betts band will perform songs from its latest LP, “Bless Your Heart,” which is available on Spotify, on vinyl and on audio CD. Sons of two prominent founders of the Allman Brothers Band formed the group in November 2018 after Devon Allman’s dad Gregg passed away in 2017. Allman is joined by vocalists Duane Betts, Berry Duane Oakley, Johnny Strachela and R. Scott Bryan, and by instrumentalists John Ginty and John Lum. Bryan previously played for Sheryl Crow, and Ginty used his talents to support The Chicks.

Garrett Dutton, a native of Philadelphia, Pa., who is better known by his stage name G. Love, is currently touring to promote his 12th album, “The Juice,” which features the artist’s signature hip-hop blues tunes. Fans have not been treated to a G. Love album since the release of his 2015 “Love Saves the Day,” and the current album also marks G. Love’s first departure from his former trio, “The Special Sauce,” although it does feature the musical stylings of rock ‘n’ roll legend Robert Randolph. Dutton started playing guitar at age 8, later adding the harmonica.

While 17-year-old singer and guitarist Brandon “Taz” Neiderauer might be young, the Dix Hills, N.Y., native brings a wealth of experience to Ardenland’s Twilight Concert series, as the musician has provided instrumentals for Stevie Nicks, Lady Gaga and Slash. Self-describing his sound as “contemporary,” Niederauer has lent his vocals to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tony-award winning “School of Rock” and to Spike Lee’s Netflix original “She’s Gotta Have It.” The talented young artist has also appeared on The Ellen Show and has performed the national anthem at Wrigley Field in Chicago—twice.

Cedric Burnside, who homesteads on several acres outside Holly Springs, Miss., tries to bring the authentic blues sounds he learned at the knee of Mississippi Delta artists to his own music, and has collaborated with fellow Mississippian musician Jimmy Buffett. Burnside describes his own tunes as “rhythmically unorthodox,” but the Grammy-nominated artist has garnered a number of accolades, including four consecutive nods for the Blues Music Awards’ drummer of the year and a spot on the soundtrack for the 2006 feature film “Black Snake Moan.”

The Vamps, a seven-man band that’s been serenading the Jackson music scene since 1998, will open the festival. The group has weathered many storms together, such as tenor sax player Booker Walker’s passing in 2016, shortly after his retirement from the group. The band infuses these hardships and their commitment to overcome them into their signature soul-jazz covers from the ‘60s and early ‘70s, as the metro-area favorites play for private parties and corporate gigs alike. The group’s latest album, “Premier Soul-Jazz,” released in 2018 and is available on Spotify.


A Mother’s Advice: Irma Mae Rogers on ‘Mother Wit’ by Taylor McKay Hathorn

You talk briefly in the book about your childhood. Could you talk a little bit about how those experiences formed the ideas you discuss in “Mother Wit”?





I’m the eighth of my parents’ children. We’re all about 11 months apart, and my older sisters and I helped my mom out. When we lived in Sharkey County, my brothers were out in the cotton fields, but we moved to Jackson when I was about 4. We lived in

You discuss how you later felt led to forgive your father. What helped you see the importance of forgiveness in that particular relationship? I don’t know what the man was thinking, to be honest. We were already poor, but when I looked back, I thought that maybe his parents didn’t do a good job. He saw something like that (abandonment) growing up: have a woman with a lot of kids and leave.

He was getting out of all that noise—it was all of us in one house. So it helped me understand (what he was thinking), and it helped me raise my own kids.


Could you talk about what your experience with young motherhood was like?

courtesy Irma Mae Rogers

(Becoming a young mother) was my fault, so I said, “I’m not gonna give him up.” I did what I had to do, and my baby is 48 now. We’re only 15 years apart, but I had a strong determination to hang in there with my kids. We played games and did puzzles, and I got up in the morning and got them ready for school. I got a GED when I was 17. My son was 2 (at the time), but I never stopped classes. I went every year. My health tried to keep me down, but I kept going. When my son got up into middle and high school, he would help me with my homework. I wasn’t ashamed; I wanted to learn. Those children saved me—they kept me out of the streets.


If you had to pick one topic from your book for the young people of today to read, which would it be and why?

I would pick the chapter on family and relationships. It’s got a lot in it, and it’s got my most important points. Family relationships start with the parents. A lot of families have a lot of complications, and there are dysfunctional families in the world today. I see a lot of that. The parents are how it got like that—the parents’ parents’ parents. Kids started having kids, but parents have to train kids. Every child should have a job, and families should get acquainted and talk more. They should get off their chests what they’re keeping in their minds.


Yes, you touch on the idea of families sharing more in “Mother Wit,” especially regarding mental health. Why is that an important topic in today’s society?

Long-time Jackson resident Irma Mae Rogers relays the life lessons she has learned from her experiences with being a young mother in her book, “Mother Wit,” which is available in both hardcover (left) and softcover (right).


A lot of people throw their hands up on mental health, and a lot of people don’t talk about it. My daughter was born with schizophrenia. She is disabled, and she was slow to develop. I was like a caretaker: I made sure

Local editor Meredith McGee published “Mother Wit” in February.

everybody got to school, and I made sure everybody got to their doctor’s appointments. I care about my daughter, and I love her, and people should feel like they can talk about (mental health) more.


Near the end of the book, you ask, “Who is responsible for a young girl’s future?” How would you answer that question?


Her parents are partly responsible—a baby doesn’t know anything when it comes into the world. They learn how to do everything, and the parents have to teach them. It’s layered, and it’s a hard job. A lot of people don’t have patience for that, but it’s not the kid’s fault. But in the end, you’ve got to be able to go out on your own. It’s hard, it’s expensive. It’s why you need to finish high school and go to college: 18 isn’t ready; 21 isn’t ready. Take your time, and you’ll have a home when you get finished, and you won’t wind up in these streets. When I think of a young girl’s future, I think of my future. I was 50 when everyone had moved out, and I finally got my own apartment, but I’m still trying to go to school and still trying to go to work. Readers interested in learning more about Rogers’s book can visit her blog at (LINK) https://meredithetc.com/mother-wit. Copies of “Mother Wit” may be purchased directly from the publisher (Meredith Etc) or from Barnes and Noble’s online selection.

March 31 - April 27, 2021 • jfp.ms

temporary housing for a while, and I knew how to see after a baby by the time I was 5. I was a mother for most of my childhood because I kept my siblings (who were) younger than me. I mostly stayed home (during that time). I’m very observant and quiet, but I pick up on things, so I was always watching and paying attention. My dad left when I was 6 or 7, and I was 15 when I had my first child.

courtesy Meredith McGee


orn in rural Sharkey County, Irma Mae Rogers—author of the recently released book “Mother Wit”—moved to Jackson, Miss., as a young child. Rogers became a mother at the age of 15, and she shares the lessons she learned along her journey (many of them the hard way) in her book, which local editor Meredith McGee published.



Jackson Park Set to Receive Keith Haring Fitness Court by Dustin cardon courtesy GJAc

The Limited Edition Keith Haring Fitness Court, whose 3D model is depicted here, is set to come to Wicker Wilson Park in Jackson later this year.


March 31 - April 27, 2021 • jfp.ms

he Greater Jackson Arts Council recently announced that it has partnered with the San Francisco-based National Fitness Campaign to make Jackson one of 10 locations in the United States to host a Limited Edition Signature Series Keith Haring Fitness Court. Each Keith Haring Fitness Court prominently features a 32-foot-wide mural wall depicting artwork from the eponymous artist, a Pennsylvania native who moved to New York City and made a name for himself creating white-chalk drawings on advertising panels covered with matte black paper in the city’s subway stations. Haring


You can now order online. aladdininjackson.com

produced hundreds of public-art installations between 1980 and 1985, and in 1986 opened the Pop Shop in Soho, which sells T-shirts, toys, posters, buttons and magnets adorned with his artwork. In 1988, doctors diagnosed Haring with AIDS, leading him to establish the Keith Haring Foundation, which still provides funding and artwork to AIDS organizations and children’s programs, in 1989—a year before his death in 1990. Jackson’s Keith Haring Fitness Court will have an 8-foot-by-25-foot space with an integrated sports floor that can support hundreds of bodyweight abdominal exercis-

es. The court will include plyometric boxes for step-ups and squat exercises; destabilized rings and stabilized push ladders for shoulder, chest and tricep exercises; an open speed zone for sports training drills, balance programs and burpees; variable height bend stations to exercise the lower back, glutes, and posterior chain; and more. The National Fitness Campaign stations personal fitness trainers at each court and offers an online content library and a free phone app detailing all the possible exercises on its website. “The Keith Haring Fitness Court is going to be a great tourist destination with

Nixing carbs? Including more whole foods in your diet? Cutting back on meat? Our menu is versatile and customizable to fit any health goals.

great walkability and visibility right near the Market to Museum Trail,” Janet Scott, the former executive director of GJAC who recently passed her title to Silbrina Wright, told the Jackson Free Press. “All the equipment there will use your own body strength to train rather than traditional equipment, and it’s built so that anyone can use it in any number of ways. Once it’s complete we plan to partner with the City to host fitness classes there and use it as a venue for health and wellness and art exhibitions.” Planning and fundraising for the construction are both underway, GJAC said in a February press release, and the Keith Haring Fitness Court is on schedule to be complete and operational by the end of 2021. Jackson’s fitness court will be in Wicker Wilson Park, which is at the southeast intersection of State Street and Woodrow Wilson Drive across from the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s Children’s of Mississippi building. “This fitness court is going to be a major feather in the cap of Jackson, seeing as there are only 10 facilities across the United States and we’ll have only one in the Southeast,” Rickey Thigpen, president and chief executive officer of Visit Jackson, says. “Getting it was a competitive process that we were honored to participate in. A lot of people may not even know Wicker Wilson Park exists right now, and this will be a great way to bring attention to it. It has a great central location to the medical, residential and academic corridors of Jackson, so plenty of people will be able to use it to get exercise while enjoying art as well.” For more information on the new Keith Haring facility, visit greaterjacksonartscouncil. com or nationalfitnesscampaign.com.




Smash Rooms Offer Safe Space to Let off Some Steam by Michele D. Baker



also wiped down throughout hether you find the day, the manager said. yourself having to “After each customer deal with a painful (fi nishes), a team member breakup, a stressful cleans up the smash room,” job, a barrage of family hijinks, Wilson says. “It takes a while or anything in between, Break to really vacuum up all that iT has the means for helping broken glass.” you smash your frustrations. The business obtains Manager Jordan Wilson refers its smashables from loto the new addition to the Outcal and other nearby busilets of Mississippi as a therapeunesses. Smashed items go to tic way to spend some time. the dumpster out back, but Open since late January, Wilson is exploring recycling Break iT supplies items such options for the near future. as glass bottles, plates, vases, “Right now, we get a TVs and other electronics that Break iT can be found at the Outlets of Mississippi in Pearl. lot of our empty beer and customers can then brutally liquor bottles from Fannin destroy in the business’ “smash Lanes, Outback, Kingpin, rooms” using sledgehammers, and Sal & Mookie’s,” Wilson says. “We more relaxed. They were even smiling.” regular hammers, baseball bats, golf clubs Break iT, which is modeled after a buy the larger items, like TVs, vases, dishes or crowbars. “We have all kinds of people in here,” similar store in Missouri, provides custom- and toasters, from Goodwill.” Only two customers may use one Wilson says. “Our first large group was eight ers with protective equipment including women, and three of them had recently been full-length jumpsuits, gloves, helmets and of Break iT’s four smash rooms at a time. dumped. They paired up and used all four visors, which are all washed, steamed and Sessions typically last around 15 or 20 minrooms. They came out looking calmer and sanitized after each use. The facility itself is utes and range from $18 to $65, depend-



ing on the number and sizes of smashables. Add-ons can be added to any of the five packages for additional costs so that visitors can customize the collection of items they smash during their sessions. Customers must be 18 years old or older to independently sign up for a smashing session. With the supervision of a parent or guardian, 16- and 17-year-olds may also use the smash rooms. In addition, Break iT offers other activities such as “Smash Aisles,” otherwise known as bottle baseball, the company’s take on the carnival game whereupon participants smash and knock down stacked bottles using baseballs. The smash lanes are available for customers of all ages, and safety equipment is provided. Visitors can also splatter canvases in Break iT’s UV paint explosion room; sift through a bucket of mine dirt for geodes, arrowheads, fossils and more; and hit the arcade to play skee-ball, crane games, air hockey, foosball and classic arcade games. To learn more about the business or to book a session, visit breakit601.com.

For More Information www.jsums.edu/margaretwalkercenter

A new way to party!

April 17, 2021

· Bid in our online auction featuring artwork from celebrated artists, Keith Urban tickets, Beau Rivage and Westin packages, Cathead tasting, and much more · Participate in our virtual wine pull with unique and rare wines · Enter our raffle for a chance to win a unique artwork from a renowned artist Your participation in ART PARTY supports not only exhibitions, educational programming, and outreach—but the cultural and economic well-being of our great city and state. For more information visit



March 31 - April 27, 2021 • jfp.ms

For the safety of our patrons, MMA’s ART PARTY 2021 will take place virtually. Enjoy food and wine from Fine & Dandy with your friends and family as you watch our free video premiere on April 17. You can also:


courtesy Streamcut/RCA Records

Events Calendar April-May 2021

by Shaye Smith


jacksonfreepress.com Daily updates at jfpevents.com

BEST BETS The Good Friday Downtown Jackson Walking Tour is from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., and it both begins and ends at Hal and Mal’s (200 Commerce St.). More Than a Tourist hosts the three-hour walking tour of Downtown Jackson focusing on important sites from Jackson’s past, present and future. Participants meet by the Hal and Mal’s sign on the brick wall by 1:55 p.m., and the tour begins promptly at 2 p.m. $30 ticket; call 601-954-2036; email mtattravel@gmail.com; morethanatourist.net.


March 31 - April 27, 2021 • jfp.ms

courtesy MS Ag Museum

Easter at the Ag Museum is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Mississippi Agriculture & Forestry Museum (1150 Lakeland Drive). The museum joins with


Children can collect Easter eggs along the bunny trail and engage in other Easter-themed kids activities.

the Mississippi Egg Marketing Board to host the event for children ages 2-17 and their families. This year, instead of the traditional Easter egg hunt, the event features a bunny trail filled with eggs so that participants can spread out, as well as other holiday-themed activities. $5 children, $7 adults; call 601-432-4500; email msagmuseum@mdac.ms.gov; find it on Facebook.


Cathead Vodka Presents Invasion of the 251 begins 7 p.m. at Duling Hall (622 Duling Ave.). The Jackson distillery organizes the concert featuring The Red Clay Strays, Red and the Revelers, and Abe Partridge. Concertgoers purchase either a two- or four-top table to be used by their party only, for the entirety of the show. Face coverings and temperature checks are required. Duling Hall reserves the right to ask any attendee not following the venue’s prescribed safety guidelines to leave without refund. $25 admission, food and drink prices vary; call 601-292-7121; email arden@ardenland. net; find it on Facebook.


The Grants Down Spring Blues Festival is from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Grants Down (2900 Forest Avenue). The Jackson venue hosts the family-friendly spring event featuring southern soul and blues artists Calvin Richards, Jwonn, LJ Echols, Tre Williams, Bridget Shields and Hollywood Luck. Gates open at 10 a.m. Show begins at 3 p.m. Tents, coolers, ATVs and grills are welcome. Vendors are onsite. Children ages 12 and under get in free. Masks are required. $30 admission, free for children ages 12 and younger; call 601-668-0408; find it on Facebook.


Mississippi Mudbug Festival is from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Mississippi State Fairgrounds (1207 Mississippi St.). The festival features carnival rides, crawfish and concerts from various artists. Fordie Hays and J Edwards perform on April 9 at 6 p.m., Frank Foster and Chad Wesley perform on April 10 at 3:30 p.m., and Doctor Zarr’s Amazing Funk Monster performs on April 11 at 1 p.m. Admission to the free festival does not cover costs of concerts, which require separate

MDSES; IMMC; Photo by Sarah Gualtieri on Unsplash


Performing artists at the Southern Showdown Hip Hop show include Big Latto (pictured), Boosie and Money Mu.


Lindsey Murphy of Birdsong Pantry teaches a class on putting charcuterie boards together.


The International Museum of Muslim Cultures hosts celebrates Islamic Heritage Month with their Ramadan Food Series on Facebook Live.


MDES hosts a chance to submit résumés and have on-site interviews with potential employers.

tickets. Additional dates: April 8, noon10 p.m., April 9-10, noon-11 p.m., April 11, noon-8 p.m. Free festival admission; concert tickets $15 advance and $20 day of; $5 parking per car; call 601-9614000; find it on Facebook.


The 15th Annual Creative Arts & Scholarly Engagement (CASE) Festival is from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and will be held via Zoom. The Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State University presents the scholarly festival with the theme “Bearing/Baring the Weight/Wait: The Struggle for Self-Actualization & Change in Mississippi” featuring keynote speaker Kiese Laymon. Additional date: April 10, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Free virtual event; call 601-979-3935; email mwa@jsums. edu; jsums.edu.


“The Bean Path Presents: Choose Your Own Adventure: Writing Text Games with ChoiceScript” is from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. and is virtual. The non-

profit organization promoting technical education in the community welcomes software engineer, game developer and author Ben Serviss to lead the webinar teaching viewers to create their own “choose your own adventure” game using ChoiceScript. The class includes the basics of writing text-based games using ChoiceScript language, advanced tips for bringing the game to the next level, an introduction to the ChoiceScript community, and how to work with Choice of Games to monetize the finished game. Free event; email angelyn@thebeanpath. org; thebeanpath.org.


Two For the Show Bon Jovi/Journey Tribute with Hairicane begins at 7 p.m. at Pops Saloon (2636 Gallatin St.). The local nightclub hosts the touring tribute show featuring the music of Bon Jovi and Journey with opening act Hairicane. $20 advance general admission, $50 reserved seats for 2, $100 reserved table for 4, $150 reserved table for 6. $20 advance general admission, see above for further pricing details; call 601-961-4747; find it on Facebook.


The 5th Annual Over the Edge with Friends of Children’s Hospital is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at The District at Eastover (1250 Eastover Drive). The organization supporting Mississippi’s children’s hospital holds the fundraiser in which participants who have raised or donated $1,000 or more rappel down the side of the five-story One Eastover Center building at the District at Eastover. Limited spots are available. No climbing or rappelling experience required. A professional team provides expertise, training and equipment to participants. Participants must weigh between 100 and 300 pounds. No age limit. $25 non-

“A Decent Proposal” at The Gathering begins at 7 p.m. at The Gathering (106 Livingston Church Road, Madison). The Detectives and the Livingston restaurant present a comedic, interactive theatrical commercial while attendees dine on a three-course meal. Cocktails and seating begin at 6 p.m. $60 ticket; tax, gratuity and alcoholic beverages additional; call 601-937-1752; find it on Facebook.


courtesy Chuckles Comedy House

The Griffin House show starts at 7:30 p.m. at Duling Hall (622 Duling Ave.). The Nashville-based recording artist per-


Vintage Market Days of Mississippi is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Mississippi Trademart Center (1200 Mississippi St.). The vintage-inspired indoor/outdoor market features art, antiques, clothing, jewelry, home decor and more. Additional date: April 24, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., April 25, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $15 single ticket, $22.50 BOGO price buys 2 tickets; call 601-212-8531; email mississippi@ vintagemarketdays.com; find it on Facebook.


2021 Soul City Blues Fest is from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Mississippi Coliseum (1207 Mississippi St). The Jackson concert promotion company presents the music festival featuring artists such as TK Soul, Sir Charles Jones, Omar Cunningham, Ms. Jody, Jay Morris Group and Isaac Lindsey, with host Nardo Blackmon. Limited tickets due to social distancing considerations. CDC covid precautions are enforced. $42-$67 ticket, price varies by seat location; call 601497-8098; email xperiencejxn@gmail. com; find it on Facebook.


forms live at the Jackson music venue.

Martins Downtown; Nguyen Hiep on Unsplash

Concertgoers purchase either a two- or four-top table, for the use of their party only, for the entirety of the show. Face coverings and temperature checks are required. Duling Hall reserves the right to ask any attendee not observing the venue’s safety guidelines to leave without refund. $15 admission, food and drink prices vary; call 601-292-7121; email arden@ardenland.net; find the events on


St. Richard’s Catholic Church partners with the Knights of Columbus and Mississippi Blood Services to host a blood drive.


New Orleans-based musician Shawn Williams performs live at Martin’s Downtown.


The Allman Betts Band with Jackson Stokes & Stoll Vaughan (rescheduled date) is from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Kristin Brenemen; Main Street Clinton

Based in South Carolina, comedian Shuler King performs at Chuckles Comedy House in Jackson.

Playwriting for Adults is from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at New Stage Theatre (1100 Carlisle St.). Playwright Joseph Frost leads the class designed to teach aspiring writers the concepts needed to craft a script for the stage. Class consists of six sessions. Additional dates: April 5, April 12, April 19. $150 fee for six-week class; call 601-948-3533, ext. 245; email sfrost@newstagetheatre.com; details at newstagetheatre.com.


The City of Clinton holds its annual Caterpillar Parade at Lion’s Club Park.


The volunteer branch of the Mississippi State Extension Service hosts their annual plant sale at Mynelle Gardens.

Local dinner theater troupe The Detectives performs at metro restaurants such as The Gathering at Livingston.

Duling Hall (622 Duling Ave.). The band featuring the sons of Gregg Allman and Dickey Betts performs live at the Jackson music venue. $35 advance, $40 day of show, tickets are general admission; call 601-292-7121; email arden@ ardenland.net; find it on Facebook.


Mercantile Mississippi 2021 is from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Mississippi Trademart Center (1200 Mississippi Street). Mississippi Magazine presents the shopping event featuring booths from retailers around the state selling clothing, gifts, decor and food products. Purchasers of advance tickets receive a one-year subscription to Mississippi Magazine. Additional date: May 1, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. $10 general admission, $5 senior citizens; call 601-982-8418; email mercantile@mismag.com; mismag.com.


13th Annual Seersucker & Sombreros is from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at The District at Eastover (1250 Eastover Drive). The Phoenix Club of Jackson hosts the event that blends a Kentucky Derby party with a Cinco de Mayo celebration to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Mississippi. The event features live music, watching the running of the Kentucky Derby, a silent auction, food and drink from Jackson restaurants, and a specialty cocktail bar. $50 early bird, $60 week of event, $65 at the door; email phoenixclubofjackson@gmail.com; eventbrite. com.


New Stage Theatre Youth Acting Troupe is from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at New Stage Theatre (1100 Carlisle St.). Mississippi’s professional theatre announces the inperson return of the Youth Acting Troupe, or YAT. The program is open to youth

ages 12-18. No previous acting experience is necessary. Students deepen their knowledge of acting technique through drama exercises, focusing on monologue work. The class culminates with a public performance in May. Space is limited, as CDC safety recommendations for social distancing are observed. Masks and temperature checks are required at each session. Additional dates: April 4, April 11, April 18, April 25, May 9. $200 for 8 Week Session; call 601-948-3533 ext. 245; email sfrost@newstagetheatre.com; newstagetheatre.com.


Creative Healing Studio begins at 12:30 p.m. through Zoom. Licensed art therapist Susan Anand leads the weekly art therapy gathering for adults being treated for cancer, or those with a cancer diagnosis in their past. In order to participate in the class on Wednesday, participants should register by Tuesday at noon. Additional dates: March 31, April 7, April 14, April 21, April 28, May 12 Free online event; call 601-960-1515; msmuseumart.org.


The local Shuler King show takes place at both 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. at Chuckles Comedy House (6479 Ridgewood Court Drive). The South Carolina-based comedian performs live at the Jackson comedy club. Additional dates: May 8, 7:30 & 10 p.m., May 9, 7:30 p.m. $25 general admission, $50 VIP, food and drink prices vary; call 769-257-5467; jackson.chucklescomedyhouse.com.


The Southern Showdown Hip Hop Show begins at 8 p.m. at the Mississippi Coliseum (1207 Mississippi St.). The hip-hop concert features both esmore EVENTS p 24

March 31 - April 27, 2021 • jfp.ms



courtesy The Detectives Dinner Club

refundable reservation fee; call 601-9360034; email friends@friendsofch.org; overtheedgewithfriends.com.



jacksonfreepress.com Daily updates at jfpevents.com


March 31 - April 27, 2021 • jfp.ms

courtesy Lemuria Books

The Flowood Family Festival 2021 begins at 4 p.m. at Flowood Liberty Park (Flowood). The family-centric festival features space jumps, a petting zoo, kids karaoke, music, food and fireworks. The concert begins at 6:30 p.m., and Chris Tomlin performs at 8:30 p.m. as the event’s headlining act. The fireworks display takes place after the concert has concluded. Free admission; find more


and fitness classes with virtual and instudio options. Classes are open to ages 13 and up. Additional dates: April 2, April 4, April 9, April 11, April 16, April 18, April 23, April 25, April 30, May 2, May 7, May 14. $7 per class, pay per class or per month; family rates available; call 601-853-7480; email choreorobics@ yahoo.com; choreorobics.com.


“Basil’s War” Book Discussion begins at 5:30 p.m. through Facebook Live. Author Stephen Hunter discusses his new book with Matthew Guinn via Lemuria Books’ Facebook Live page. Free book discussion, $23.95 signed first edition book; call 601-366-7619; lemuriabooks.com.


District Thursdays at The District at Eastover (1250 Eastover Drive). Local musical acts perform on the green at the Jackson shopping and dining destination. Additional dates: April 1, April 8, April 15, April 29, May 6. Free admission, food and drink prices vary; call 601-914-0800; email abbey@districtateastover.com; find it on Facebook.

Lemuria Books hosts a virtual discussion with author Stephen Hunter through Facebook Live.

details at stayhappening.com.


In-Studio & Virtual Hip Hop Dance Fitness Choreography Classes is from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Central Mississippi Dance (1902 Highway 471, Brandon). Husband and wife dance, choreography and fitness team Roger and Tena Long offer the hip-hop dance


Piercing the Inner Wall: The Art of Dusti Bongé is available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Mississippi Museum of Art (380 S. Lamar St.). The exhibit features works by the artist considered to be the first Mississippi artist to work consistently in a Modernist style. Masks are required and social distancing protocols are observed. Students get in free on Thursdays. Additional dates: April 1-3, April 8-10, April 15-17, April 22-24, April 29-May 1, May 6-8, May 13-14; 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; April 4, April 11, April 18, April 25, May 2, May 9; noon-5

Learning Tree Book Club ; Chuckles Comedy HOuse; Imani Khayyam

tablished performers in the genre and a new generation of up-and-coming artists from the South. Artists include Big Latto, Boosie and Money Mu. $50-$150 ticket, prices vary according to location; call 601-961-4000; find it on Facebook.

The Mississippi Museum of Natural Science’s Born to Be Wild series teaches attendees about various wildlife topics.


Authors Bob Drury and Tom Clavin discuss their new book via Lemuria Books’ Facebook Live


Tim Bae, a Houstonbased comedian and DJ, performs at Chuckles Comedy House.


The Learning Tree Book Club hosts monthly virtual meetings on the first Saturday of each month.

p.m. Free admission for first responders and frontline workers. $15 adults, $13 seniors, $10 students, free to members; call 601-960-1515; msmuseumart.org.


Born to Be Wild - Session 8 is from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Mississippi Museum of Natural Science (2148 Riverside Drive). The natural science museum partners with the Mississippi Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities to offer the series of seven outdoor skills classes for ages 8-18. The program is free to members of MCCD. Non-members can join at tinyurl.com/joinccd. All classes are outdoors, weather permitting, and socially distanced. At this month’s program the MMNS hosts the Born to Be Wild picnic. Plans subject to change due to weather and safety conditions. Free to CCD members; call 601-576-6000; email andrea.falcetto@mmns.ms.gov; visit mdwfp.com for details.


ABC Come Play with Me is from 10

Courtesy Mississippi Museum of Natural Science

Events Calendar April-May 2021

by Shaye Smith

a.m. to 11 a.m. at Mississippi Children’s Museum (2145 Museum Blvd.). Museum staff run the program designed to help infants and toddlers learn about the alphabet, the five senses and other pre-school-oriented topics. Parents are invited to learn tips for engaging toddlers and to show them easy, age-appropriate activities the children’s museum has to offer. $10 per person, children under 1 year old admitted for free; call 601-9815469; mschildrensmuseum.org.


The Dukes of Country show begins at 8 p.m. at McB’s Bar & Grill (815 Lake Harbour Drive, Ridgeland). The country band inspired by “The Dukes of Hazard” performs at the Ridgeland bar and grill. Additional date: May 22. Admission TBA; call 601-956-8362; allevents.in.


PWP & Care Partners Support Group begins at 10:30 a.m. at Northminster Baptist Church (3955 Ridgewood Road). The church hosts a support group for people with Parkinson’s and those who care for people with Parkinson’s. Free admission; call 601-853-5423; email b_dorr@bellsouth.net; pmdalliance.org.


Story to Stage is from 11 a.m. to noon at Mississippi Children’s Museum (2145 Museum Blvd.). The children’s museum hosts the event that teaches children about the elements of story creation, character development and stage setting. Participants learn about and act out a story using the crafts and supplies provided by the museum. Additional date: May 22. $10 per person; call 601-9815469; mschildrensmuseum.org


Sláinte! ‘Men in Kilts’ Shares a Wee Taste o’ Scotland by Taylor McKay Hathorn

as bagpiping, retellings of supernatural Scottish tales and the throwing of the “Highland Games hammer.” Heughan and McTavish aren’t content to sit on the sidelines and observe their homeland’s traditions, however, giving rise to much of the show’s lighthearted appeal: watching the men attempt to participate in these practices. Although I initially feared a show filled with mockery at now-outdated traditions, “Men in Kilts” left me pleasantly surprised, as Heughan and McTavish are eternally good sports, sampling haggis (albeit with wrinkled noses) and standing inside a supposedly haunted prison used during the nation’s religious conflicts. The men clearly respected the historians and craftspeople tasked with exposing them to Scottish culture, asking questions and eagerly trying their hand at whatever task is presented to them. In some episodes, Heughan and



fter a year of social distancing, STARZ’ newest reality show, “Men in Kilts: A Roadtrip with Sam and Graham,” allows viewers to see more of the world without ever expanding their quarantine bubble by following along as the duo travels through the Scottish Highlands in a refurbished Airstream to sample the delights of the region. Fans of “Outlander,” STARZ’ popular adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s timetravelling novels, will recognize the show’s hosts: Sam Heughan plays the irascible (and, let’s face it, irresistible) Jamie Fraser, while Graham McTavish stars as his onscreen, crotchety uncle, Dougal MacKenzie. Both actors are native Scotsmen, and while they still call the nation home, Heughan and McTavish manage to look at Scotland with fresh eyes. This effect is largely made possible through the show’s focus on Scottish history, with episodes featuring topics such

education- and travel-centric program. For example, when Heughan and McTavish visit the location of the Scottish witch trials, Heughan helps the guide place McTavish into a set of shackles, and when Heughan loses a bet, McTavish insists that he run naked into the cold Atlantic Ocean. “Men in Kilts” doesn’t pull any punches, though—each 30-minute episode is packed with information, presenting four or five vignettes centered around the episode’s theme before ending with Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish toasting another day on the Scottish isle with a dram of the nation’s drink of choice: whiskey. The season finale of “Men in Kilts” is slated to premiere on STARZ on Sunday, April 11, and all previously aired episodes are available to watch on the streaming service, which is available as an add-on for both Hulu and Amazon Prime.

“Men in Kilts” is available on the streaming service, STARZ.

SAY HELLO TO Voted the Best Gumbo by the Jackson Free Press Readers Thank you. We could not have done it without you.


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March 31 - April 27, 2021 • jfp.ms


In “Men in Kilts,” co-hosts Sam Heughan and Jamie Fraser tour Scotland, learning more about the history and culture of their homeland.

McTavish relied on their onscreen experience to aid them in their modern-day quest to tour Scotland. During a segment focused on Gaelic, Scotland’s original language, the showrunners showed clips from “Outlander” of the men speaking in the ancient tongue. In another episode centered on the country’s native flora and fauna, clips depicted the pair’s respective characters using 18th-century herbal remedies to heal the wounds they received during the battles displayed in the Emmynominated series. While having seen “Outlander” probably enhances the viewing experience for “Men in Kilts,” the fictional drama certainly isn’t a prerequisite for understanding or enjoying the reality show. After all, I’ve only seen the first two seasons of “Outlander,” and I was able to easily follow this nonfiction series’ storyline. Outside of its relationship to “Outlander,” the show still ticks a variety of boxes for travel enthusiasts who have found themselves stuck inside: It features “off-the-beaten-path” locations that tourists may not necessarily know to visit on their own, such as a sheep-shearing farm, a 300-year-old tailor shop that makes bespoke suits and the granary for a whiskey distillery. Heughan and McTavish also skip out on popular hotels and hostels, instead sleeping on bunks in the back of their Airstream, and the twosome also take the vehicle off the main highways and byways, as they are often seen travelling on one-lane roads nestled amidst Scotland’s green highland forests and farmlands. Since the two actors did spend so much time in close quarters while filming “Men in Kilts,” their almost brotherly antics provide another layer to the show, adding a sprinkling of humor to a largely


41 Film street of nightmares 43 Turn from bad to mad, maybe? 44 Luau paste 45 Inventive Goldberg 47 “Eat It or ___ It” (Smosh Pit show on YouTube) 49 “Diary of ___ Black Woman” (2005 film) 53 Phobic 55 Old saying 58 Drink that may be pale or Scotch 59 Key ingredients in boba tea 63 1990s web browser now owned by Verizon 65 Silent film’s successor 66 Olive loved by Popeye 67 Scott Turow memoir about law school 68 More malevolent 69 Small, in Scotland 70 Former M&M hue 71 Can’t stand


maybe 27 “Happy Days” hangout 29 Minotaur’s island 30 Go on the radio 33 Neat drink’s lack 34 “The People’s Princess” 36 Where zebras may be spotted 38 Fortify for fighting 39 Pizzeria order 40 “Pulp Fiction” role 41 “Nurse Jackie” settings 42 “Star Trek” captain Jean-___ Picard 46 Notable timespans 48 Org. with wands and X-ray machines

50 The Duchess of Sussex’s original Last Week’s Answers surname 51 Partners 52 Dry zone 54 Center of Disney World 56 Director Michael of the “Up” series (now at “63 Up” in 2019) 57 Make on a loom 60 Amenable 61 Cartoon unit 62 Hit the ground 63 Right this moment For answers to this puzzle, call: 1-900-226-2800, 99 64 Knack for detail cents per minute. Must be 18+. Or to bill to your credit card, call: 1-800 655-6548. Reference puzzle #953


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1 Technique taught at the Groundlings and UCB 7 Here, in Paris 10 Like 7 or 13 13 Airport serving Tokyo 14 Magnetic metal 15 “La ___ en Rose” 16 ___ Berry Farm (California theme park) 17 1991 De Niro thriller, or what you shouldn’t have when answering the theme clues?

19 “Caribbean” plant more commonly called allspice 21 Holy Roman leader (abbr.) 22 Golf course supply 23 Piano exercises 26 “I’m off!” 28 Chiwetel Ejiofor, in 2019’s “The Lion King” 31 Donut maneuver 32 Start of many rap names 35 Cracker in sleeves 37 ___ Wonder (Robin’s nickname) 38 Puzzle activities where you want to leave?

1 Type of computer printer 2 Bahrain’s capital (not to be confused with a Central American country) 3 On time 4 “One Day at a Time” star Moreno 5 Super Bowl XXV MVP Anderson 6 Explorer ___ da Gama 7 “Dies ___” (“Day of Wrath”) 8 Duracell battery feature 9 Unskillful 10 Adds vocals to, maybe 11 ___ de los Muertos 12 ___ Spiegel 14 Gathering of the Juggalos band, to fans 18 Family conflict 20 Freemium game breaks, often 24 “Achtung Baby” co-producer Brian 25 Tough section of a jigsaw puzzle,

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Poet Emily Dickinson had a good sense of humor, so she was probably making a wry joke when she wrote, “The lovely flowers embarrass me. They make me regret I am not a bee.” But who knows? Maybe Emily was being a bit sincere, too. In any case, I advise you to make a list of all the things you regret not being—all the qualities and assets you wish you had, but don’t. It’s a favorable time to wallow in remorse. APRIL FOOL! I was totally lying! In fact, I hope you will do the reverse: Engage in an orgy of self-appreciation, celebrating yourself for being exactly who you are.

CANCER (June 21-July 22):

Provocation specialist Lydia Lunch is a singer and poet who’s skilled at generating interesting mischief. She testifies, “My daily existence is a battlecade of extreme fluctuations where chaos clobbers apathy, which beats the s--- out of depression which follows irritability which slams into anger which eclipses ecstasy which slips through my fingers far too often.” In the coming weeks, Cancerian, I recommend you adopt her melodramatic approach to living the intense life. APRIL FOOL! I lied. Please don’t be like Lydia Lunch in the near future. On the contrary: Cultivate regal elegance, sovereign poise, and dynamic equanimity.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22):

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22):

Here are affirmations that will serve you well in the coming days. 1. “I am willing to make mistakes if someone else is willing to learn from them.” 2. “I am grateful that I’m not as judgmental as all the shortsighted, self-righteous people.” 3. “I assume full responsibility for my actions, except those that are someone else’s fault.” 4. “A good scapegoat is as

The coming months would be a great time to start your own university and then award yourself a PhD in Drugless Healing or Mathematical Reincarnation or Political Metaphysics—or any other subject you’d like to be considered an expert in. Hey, why not give yourself three PhDs and call yourself a Professor Emeritus? APRIL FOOL! I’m just joking. The coming months will indeed be an extremely favorable time to advance your education, but with real learning, not fake credentials.

TO PLACE A CLASSIFIED AD: Post an ad, call 601-362-6121, ext. 11 or fax to 601-510-9019. Deadline: Mondays at Noon.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19):

After his Nirvana bandmate Kurt Cobain committed suicide, Capricorn drummer Dave Grohl was depressed for months. To cheer himself up, he wrote and recorded an album’s worth of songs, playing almost all the instruments himself: drums, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass, and vocals. I think you should try a similar spectacularly heroic solo task in the coming weeks. APRIL FOOL! I lied. Here’s my true and actual advice: Now is a time when you should gather all the support and help and cooperation you can possibly garner for an interesting project.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18):

Argentine poet Alejandra Pizarnik told her psychoanalyst León Ostrov that if she were going to steal something, it would be “the façade of a certain collapsed house in a little town called Fontenay-aux-Roses [near Paris].” What was so special about this façade? Its windows were made of “magical” lilac-colored glass that was “like a beautiful dream.” In accordance with astrological omens, I invite you, too, to decide what marvel you would steal—and then go steal it! APRIL FOOL! I half-lied. Yes, definitely decide what you would steal—it’s important to give your imagination permission to be outrageous—but don’t actually steal it.




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PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20):

I’ve never understood the appeal of singer-songwriter Morrissey, especially since he began endorsing bigoted far-right politicians. However, I want to recommend that you adopt the attitude he once expressed in a letter to a friend. “It was a terrible blow to hear that you actually worked,” he wrote. “It’s so old-fashioned to work. I’d much rather lounge about the house all day looking fascinating.” Be like that in the coming weeks, Pisces! APRIL FOOL! I lied. In fact, you’d be making a silly mistake to lie around the house looking fascinating. It’s a highly favorable time for you to find ways to work harder and smarter.

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“I want to hear raucous music, to brush against bodies, to drink fiery Benedictine,” wrote author Anais Nin. “Beautiful women and handsome men arouse fierce desires in me. I want to dance. I want drugs. I want to know perverse people, to be intimate with them. I want to bite into life.” All that sounds like perfect counsel for you to consider right now, dear Virgo! APRIL FOOL! I lied. Nin’s exuberant testimony might be an interesting perspective to flirt with—if the COVID-19 virus had been completely tamed. But it hasn’t. So I must instead suggest that you find ways to express this lively, unruly energy in safe and sublimated ways.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21):


VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22):

According to author Kahlil Gibran, “If we were all to sit in a circle and confess our sins, we would laugh at each other for lack of originality.” But I challenge you Scorpios to refute that theory in the coming days. For the sake of your sanity and health, you need to commit highly original sins—the more, the better. APRIL FOOL! I lied. Save your novel, imaginative sinning for later. The truth is that now is an excellent time to explore the joyous and healthy practice of being extremely virtuous. Imitate author Susan Sontag: “My idolatry: I’ve lusted after goodness. Wanting it here, now, absolutely, increasingly.”

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In 1692, a Swedish man named Thiess of Kaltenbrun was put on trial for being a werewolf. He claimed to be a noble werewolf, however. He said he regularly went down to Hell to do holy combat against the Devil. I suggest you make him your inspirational role model in the coming weeks. Be as weird as you need to be in order to fight for what’s good and right. APRIL FOOL! I half-lied. What I really meant to say was: Be as weird as you need to be to fight for what’s good and right, but without turning into a werewolf, zombie, vampire, or other supernatural monster.

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GEMINI (May 21-June 20):

welcome as a solution to the problem.” APRIL FOOL! All the preceding affirmations are total bunk! Don’t you dare use them. Use these instead: 1. “I enjoy taking responsibility for my actions.” 2. “Rather than indulging in the reflex to blame, I turn my attention to fixing the problem.” 3. “No one can make me feel something I don’t want to feel.” 4. “I’m free from believing in the images people have of me.”

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Who says all Tauruses are gentle, risk-avoidant, sensible, and reliable? Taurus author Mary MacLane (1861–1929), known as the “Wild Woman of Butte, Montana,” authored shocking, scandalous books. In I Await the Devil’s Coming, she testified, “I am not good. I am not virtuous. I am not generous. I am merely a creature of intense passionate feeling. I feel—everything. It is my genius. It burns me like fire.” Can I convince you, Taurus, to make her your role model for the coming weeks? APRIL FOOL! I don’t think you should be EXACTLY like MacLane. Please leave out the part about “I am not good. I am not virtuous. I am not generous,” as well as the “I await the devil’s coming” part. But yes, do be a creature of intensely passionate feeling. Let your feelings be your genius, burning in you like a fire.



TAURUS (April 20-May 20):

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Playwright August Strindberg (1849–1912) was a maverick innovator who loved to experiment with plot and language. One of his stories takes place in a dream and the hero is the Christ-like daughter of a Vedic god. He once said that he felt “an immense need to become a savage and create a new world.” Given your current astrological potentials, Aries, I suspect that might be an apt motto for you right now. APRIL FOOL! I half-lied. There’s no need for you to become a savage. In fact, it’s better if you don’t. But the coming weeks will definitely be a good time to start creating a new world.

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