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W W W. L A F O C U S N E W S PA P E R . C O M








CHURCH NEWS: Triedstone

Baptist Church’s Miracle Move Of God PAGE


HOLLYWOOD BUZZ Royal Family Drama for Meghan Markle PAGE



UPFRONT Sebastian Ridley-Thomas Resigns: The Race Is On For Who Will Take His Seat In a move that has stunned city and county officials, political >> insiders and residents of the 54th Assembly District, Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley- Thomas abruptly announced his resignation from the California Legislature effective December 31...

THROUGH THE STORM: Fred Hammond’s Personal Story of Victory Over Pain





L.A. Focus Publications


(Left) Ibtihaj Muhammad, Moj Mahdara and Bozoma Saint John at the LA Promise Fund's Girls Build Leadership Summit; (Middle) CeCe Winans poses with the Clark Sisters and Kelly Price at the Kennedy Center as the The National Symphony Orchestra Celebrates the 25th Anniversary of Handel’s Messiah: A Soulful Celebration; (Right) Councilman Curren Price plays Santa at the Second Annual Vermont Square Winter Wonderland, celebrating with community residents.

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Alabama’s Election Showed The Enormity of Black Women’s Voting Clout

From The Editor Silent No More Upfront No Such Thing As A Safe Seat As Maxine Waters Says Trump Is Coming For Her In 2018/ New Laws for the New Year

Head to Head

7 Headlines From Africa Feature Story 8 Round Two:Trump’s Tax Plan

Tavis Smiley: The Fight Of His Life:Smiley contends the the #MeToo Movement has gone too far. He is not alone.

11 Biz News Briefs Money Matters Restitution for Wire Fraud Victims?

TV One Suspends News One Now; Oprah Sells Majority Stake; OneUnited Bank launches ‘Doonie’ Card honoring slain black boys; Diddy To Buy Carolina Panthers

On The Money A Dream Redeemed


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Inside Hollywood

Royal Family Drama for Meghan Markle; Jon Legend to Play Jesus; A Remake of Super Fly

One On One Issa Rae

14 Calendar/Around LA Red Carpet Style 16 The Hollywood Reporter's Women in Entertainment Breakfast

Eye On Gospel

Marvin Sapp Humbled by Grammy/NAACP Image Award Nominations/ Charles Jenkins Receives Early Christmas Gift/Kirk Franklin To Host New Gospel Music Festival

17 Church News 20 22 Pastor Profile

Through The Storm

Fred Hammond’s Personal Story of Victory Over Pain

Triedstone Baptist Church Gets New Home With Miracle Move Of God

23 First Lady Files From The Pulpit 24 In Good Taste 25 26 Saving Grace

Caroline Barnett—The Dream Center

West Angeles Church of God in Christ --Rev. Charles Blake Jr.

Gina Taylor-Pickens

Merle Dandridge

Southern St Paul Pastor Xavier Thompson was recently voted in as pastor of Calvary Baptist Church of Pacoima. See our story on page 21.

Pastor E.L. Williams

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Napoleon Brandford Pastor Beverly Crawford Lem Daniels Bob Blake

Siebert, Brandford, Shank & Co. Bible Enrichment Fellowship International Church Morgan Stanley Bob Blake & Associates

honorary advisors West Angeles C.O.G.I.C. Bishop Charles Blake City of Refuge Bishop Noel Jones Paradise Baptist Church Dr. Aaron D. Iverson Southern Saint Paul Rev. Xavier L. Thompson F. A.M.E. Church Dr. Cecil Murray Faithful Central Bible Church Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer Mt. Moriah Baptist Church Rev. Melvin Wade Mt. Zion MBC Rev. E.V. Hill II




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Sheryl Huggins Salomon Guest Columnist


Alabama’s Election Showed The Enormity of Black Women’s Voting Clout t’s no secret Alabama’s Black women voters put Democrat Doug Jones over the top in the narrow and unexpected defeat of his Republican opponent for the U.S. Senate, the infamously racist, homophobic and allegedly pedophilic Roy Moore. Turning up at the polls in greater numbers than their share of the general electorate, 98 percent of Black women voters (and 93 percent of Black men) pulled the lever for Jones, handing victory to the former federal prosecutor who successfully imprisoned several Klansmen in the 1963 bombing of a Birmingham Church that killed four, little black girls. The thanking of Black women commenced, particularly on Twitter. “Let me be clear: We won in Alabama and Virginia because #BlackWomenled us to victory,” tweeted Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez. “Black women are the backbone of the Democratic Party, and we can’t take that for granted. Period.” Surprisingly, there was also pushback against all the gratitude, fueled by the recognition that accolades alone are not enough to adequately acknowledge the electoral force that, improbably flipped a Senate seat that had been reliably red for over 25 years. “Now that everyone is giving us the high five, and patting us on the back and saying ‘Thank you, Black women,’ for bringing this on home…I am hoping that those elected officials do not forget that in their policymaking,” says Nina Turner, the former Ohio State Senator who is president of Our Revolution, a progressive nonprofit billed as “the next step for Bernie Sanders’ movement.” “I won’t let Republicans off the hook either, but … because almost 100 percent of our vote goes to the Democrat, then 100 percent of our expectations and demands need to be made on the Democratic Party,” Turner added. Her comment reflects a complicated relationship between Black women and the Democrats. In additional to being faithful voters, African-American women have served in leadership roles within the party for years. Two recent high-profile examples are Leah Daughtry, twice-CEO of the Democratic National Convention Committee and Donna Brazile, the former interim chair of the DNC (who has a tell-all book describing the 2016 Democratic nomination of Hillary Clinton).


Yet, the voting bloc is often taken for granted between elections, as NBA legend Charles Barkley remarked after Jones’ victory. “It’s time for them to get off their ass and make life better for black people and people who are poor,” he said. It’s no wonder that Black women’s belief that the Democrats represent their interests has dropped significantly in a year, from 85 percent to 74 percent, according to an Essence/Black Women’s Roundtable Poll conducted in July 2017. In an open letter to DNC chair Perez back in May, a coalition of Black women leaders and organizations rang the alarm, saying: “We have voted and organized our communities with little support or investment from the Democratic Party for voter mobilization efforts. We have shown how Black women lead, yet the Party’s leadership from Washington to the state parties have few or no Black women in leadership. More and more, Black women are running for office and winning elections — with scant support from Democratic Party infrastructure.” Since then, there have been subtle signs of progress, says Glynda Carr, co-founder of Higher Heights, a group that co-signed the open letter and supports getting more Black women into elected office. “They’ve made investments, both in Virginia and Alabama. They’ve hired African American women consultants and in leadership,” she notes. Meanwhile, Black women must use the power of our vote strategically, says Carr. “If the deep South can over-perform and organize a coalition of communities of color to vote in record numbers, could we do that in Georgia, where next year you will have Stacey Abrams, an African American on the ballot for governor?” She is one of three Black women who are declared gubernatorial candidates, the others being Connie Johnson in Oklahoma and Maya Rockeymoore Cummings in Maryland. In the end, Black women can demand more by effectively using their electoral clout to organize their networks, and hold elected officials accountable once they are in office, adds Carr. “Democracy doesn’t end on Election Day.” Sheryl Huggins Salomon is a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based editor and digital media consultant.


From the Editor Silent No More


contribution we know he will make in the years that follow. In closing, so many of us were happy to see 2017 go. And in a year where devastating storms wiped out part of a major city and Caribbean islands —including Puerto Rico—in the dark (and still grappling with the loss of power) and fires ravaged Southern California; where the president made a circus of American politics while baiting an instable North Korean leader with a bad habit of threatening nuclear war; where motion picture icons fell from grace; and where a Las Vegas concert became a killing field in what was the biggest mass shooting in U.S. history; and Obamacare was derailed, it is easy to see why. But with 2017 went another year of our lives. 365 days we can’t get back. So instead let’s look forward and concentrate on the future. And in the month we celebrate a man made famous by a dream, we would all do well to follow the advice of Oprah Winfrey, who said “The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” Truth is, what you can and cannot do starts and stops with you. Yet, to accomplish great things, we must not only dream, but act; not only plan, but also believe. I am reminded of a poem by Georgia Douglas Johnson, Your World Your world is as big as you make it. I know, for I used to abide In the narrowest nest in a corner, My wings pressing close to my side. But I sighted the distant horizon Where the skyline encircled the sea And I throbbed with a burning desire To travel this immensity. I battered the cordons around me And cradled my wings on the breeze, Then soared to the uttermost reaches With rapture, with power, with ease! Keep the faith (and be silent no more).

L.A. Focus/ January 2018

wo of the biggest news stories of 2017 had in one way or another to do with the consequences of being silent. The first and the biggest was the inauguration of Donald Trump, thanks only to the silence of many of us at the ballot box. With his move into the White House has come a not only a realignment of American politics and a chaos that is far beyond anything we could have ever imagined, but a more troubling a division along racial, social and economic lines. There is now Trump’s America and I like to say, the rest of us. But the fact is, the rest of us live in Trump’s America. A country where the President with a tweet — fueled by the pettiest of emotions —can strike at the heart of the nation, frequently igniting more bitter divides. All made possible by what appears to be a silent majority who voted him in and yet another silent majority who didn’t vote at all. According to estimates, an estimated 45% of voting age Americans did not vote for president in 2016 and for all of those who do not like what is going on in American politics today, their silence is deafening. The second story to do with the consequences of being silent is the #MeToo movement, prompting women who had been all too silent about the ever prevalent sexual harassment —and in some cases abuse—they’d experienced in the workplace to voice their experiences. Experiences that in many cases traumatized or stigmatized them. Their stories inspired Time Magazine’s “2017 Person of the Year”— the “Silence Breakers”. To its credit, the movement has greatly sensitized employers and executives to the issue of sexual harassment and the impact felt by its victims, leading in many cases to much needed changes and more clearly defined workplace policies. Many, however, believe the movement, first created by a black woman, has gone too far,—that the lines have become blurred and that many are using this moment for their own personal and political gains and or vendettas. See our cover story beginning on page 8. Let’s speak up this year and be silent no more. Instead, let’s be good citizens and play more active roles in the politics that determine how we live; how are money is spent; and most importantly who will lead us. Meanwhile, also in this issue, we cover (on page 6) one of the biggest local stories trending locally and that is the resignation of 54th District Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas. I, like most of you, was shocked at the news, but want to publicly thank the Assemblyman for his service and all of his hard work and the difference he has made in our lives. We wish him the speediest of recoveries and look forward to the



News Briefs

Sebastian Ridley-Thomas Resigns; The Race Is On For Who Will Fill His Seat


n a move that has stunned city and county officials, political insiders and residents of the 54th Assembly District, Assemblyman Sebastian RidleyThomas abruptly announced his resignation from the California Legislature effective December 31, citing health reasons. On December 18th, I underwent surgery for the fifth time this year,” RidleyThomas said in a statement. “Although I expect a full recovery, my physicians advise that I will need an extended period of time to recuperate.” The 30-year old legislator submitted his letter of resignation to Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon on December 26. “I did so with great reluctance, but even greater respect for the office, which involves constant travel, an unrelenting schedule and high stress. Unfortunately, at this point, I am no longer able to deliver the effort my constituents in the 54th District deserve. Consequently, I am also terminating my reelection campaign. Ridley-Thomas, who chaired the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee and was a proponent of highquality and affordable education and job creation, had served as an aide for Councilman Curren Price before being elected to the state assembly in 2013. “My colleagues and I wish

Assemblymember Sebastian RidleyThomas all the best going forward as he deals with his health challenges,” Rendon said in a statement. “The Assembly will continue to assist the residents of the 54th Assembly District until a new assemblymember is seated.” Ridley-Thomas is the son of County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who released the following statement. “Avis and I are extremely proud of how our son, Sebastian, has represented California's 54th State Assembly District and served as a role model for the greater African American community and his generation. Yet we, more than anyone, have seen him struggle with health challenges this year, and we fully support his decision to step down from the state Legislature so that he can recuperate with complete rest, in accordance with his doctor’s orders.” Governor Brown who will set a date for a special election in 2018 to fill the seat for the district that encompasses Leimert Park, Baldwin Hills, Culver City, Century City, mid-city and parts of South L.A. and the Westside. Less than one week after the announcement, the race was on for who would fill his seat. First to announce is L.A. Community College District Board of Trustees president Sydney Kamlager-Dove. “I’m excited about the prospect of representing Los

Angeles and Culver City residents of the 54th Assembly District in the State Capitol,” Kamlager-Dove said. Though more announcements are expected in the coming weeks, Kamlager-Dove—who has the support of former boss State Senator Holly Mitchell and Congresswomen Karen Bass is expected to be a frontrunner. Following his recuperation, Ridley Thomas says he plans to return to “the work of political empowerment, millennial civic engagement, and inspiring the next generation of leaders. “My hope is that, in this next chapter of public life, I can help ensure that African-Americans, millennials, and all Angelenos have a strong and vibrant voice in shaping the future of the Golden State.”

Sebastian Ridley Thomas

No Such Thing As A Safe Seat: Maxine Waters Says Trump Is Coming For Her In 2018


L.A. Focus/January 2018

ongresswoman Maxine Waters, who has been outspoken in her opposition against President Donald Trump, led a chorus of “Impeach 45” chants after receiving Glamour’s prestigious “Woman of The Year” Awards in New York City. In a moment Glamour characterized as one of the biggest of the ceremony, the crowd full of influencers, fellow honorees and powerful women all joined in. Said Waters, “I am so pleased to see the interest and concern you’re showing in what is happening in the highest levels of government. You see what is going on. You understand who is being undermined and you also understand those who would intimidate you and try to dismiss you. Do not doubt yourself. Do what you know your mind is telling you to do. You recog-


nize when a leader is irresponsible. You recognize when a leader is dishonorable and disrespectful of you. You recognize when a leader is dangerous, even when that leader is the president of the United States of America. “For those who say to me, ‘you are asking for something too soon’, ‘be careful, don’t jeopardize yourself,’ but I continue to say, “impeach him.” Fact is, the 79-year old politician, who recently covered Essence Magazine, is well aware of the battle she has taking on particularly as she seeks re-election in 2018. In a fundraising email entitled “Trump is coming for me – I need your help,” Waters said, “Trump is sending his allies and white nationalists, partnered with a new Political Action Committee (PAC) called “Rebuilding America Now,” to Los Angeles in an effort to defeat me in 2018. The pro-Trump PAC has already spent over a million dollars and plans to spend even more to run a smear campaign against me next year.” The group of major GOP donors that spent millions on ads to elect Trump also plans to take aim at Waters in next year’s midterm election. It’s not clear whether these Trump supporters are looking to gain footing in her southern Los Angeles district where 60% of voters are registered Democrats, or if they are looking to lash out at the longtime legislator who has been one of the president’s most outspoken critics. "When I entered the fight to expose the unfitness of the current president of the United States, I knew that my efforts would generate opposition to me and my re-election to the U.S. Congress from


white supremacists, the KKK, and other alt-right white nationalist groups,” explains Waters, talking about the opposition for the first time. “However, I have decided that our country deserves better than President Donald J. Trump, who is a racist demagogue that filled his White House cabinet and staff with alt-right white nationalists, such as Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka, and Stephen Miller, and has pursued ultra-right wing, conservative policies that threaten our community. Despite the risk, I am dedicated and committed to the proposition that we must resist Donald Trump and fight for his impeachment. Furthermore, our community must register to vote and turn out on election day to preserve my ability to represent the concerns and interests of our community.” Opponent Omar Navarro, who has called on voters to “help me make Maxine Waters’ worst nightmare come true”, called for her arrest in October for comments about “taking out” President Trump. Navarro already has the support of Roger Stone, former presidential candidate Herman Cain and controversial exsheriff Joe Arpaio who has predicted an upset victory for Waters in 2018. Seeking the engagement and support of followers, Waters noted, “In California, we have what is known as a ‘jungle primary.’ This means that the top two candidates with the most votes advance to the general election, regardless of their party. Donald Trump and his friends have decided that they will unleash all of their racist, alt-right fanatics and white nationalists in Los Angeles to attack me on air and across social media. They are continued to page 25

Hundreds of New Laws Set to Change The Way Californians Live With every New Year comes ambitious resolutions, the hope of a new start, and a slew of new laws. The California legislature has enacted hundreds of new laws for 2018, which in one way or another will change our everyday lives. From what is no longer required to be disclosed when looking for a job and a minimum wage hike to making California a sanctuary state and a new annual fee levied on the owners of gasoline or diesel-fueled cars, the laws taking effect this year are sure to impact each and every one of us. Some of the laws were set to kick in as the clock struck 12:01am on January 1 while others won’t go into force until later in the year. Listed below are some of the more notable measures approved by lawmakers and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. Workplace laws: Starting Jan. 1, the California minimum wage will officially be $11 per hour for companies with 26 or more employees. That's an increase of $1 an hour. For businesses with 25 or less employees, workers must be paid $10.50 an hour. Salary History and Pay Scales: This law prohibits employers from seeking or asking about a job applicant's salary history, compensation or benefits. It also requires employers disclose pay scales for a position if it is requested by a job applicant. State-Wide Ban-the-Box Law: This law applies to employers with five or more employees, and prohibits employers from asking about criminal history on job applications. The law also prohibits inquiring about or considering criminal history at any time before a conditional offer of employment has been made. Parental Leave: For new parents in 2018, if the company you work for has more than 20 employees, your employer will be required to give you up to 12 weeks of parental leave to bond with your new child. Employees can use any accrued vacation time, sick time or any other paid-time off to spend time with their new child. The law, authored by state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, applies to employees who have worked for more than 12 months with their employers. Rules for the road Smoking or ingesting marijuana or marijuana products while driving or riding as a vehicle passenger is prohibited. Buses and Seatbelts: Effective July 1, 2018, a passenger on a bus equipped with seat belts will be required to be properly restrained by a safety belt. This law also prohibits children between 8 and 16 years of age from being transported on a bus, unless properly restrained by a safety belt or child passenger restraint system that meets federal safety standards; DUI: Passenger for Hire: Beginning July 1, 2018, it will be unlawful for a person to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 percent or more when a passenger for hire is in the vehicle at the time of the offense; Automobiles : Owners of gasoline or diesel-fueled cars must pay a new annual free of $25 to $175 (depending continued to page 25


Round Two: Trump’s Tax Plan

he tax bill that Tax Bill Proves the lion in real estate partnerships Congress just passed, eligible for the tax cut. Republicans are and Trump just can’t They did not even try to True Gangsters wait to sign, is the greatest hide the fact that they are plunheist in modern history. dering and pillaging the government, a This time around, the Republicans reverse Robin Hood move to rob from those have shown they are the true gangsters, who don’t have, and give more to those who outdoing even themselves in the level of have too much. greed and shadiness they have brought to We are talking about gangsters in the the political table. literal sense. GOP leadership received milThis bill shows us how gangsters can lions of dollars from use the legislative process to wage war on Russian President poor and working people and line the pock- Vladimir Putin ets of corrupt, shameless politicians and through his proxies, their benefactors. A bank robbery was com- and who knows what mitted in full view and they don’t care that they promised in you witnessed it. exchange. Only in America can an organized Trump—who has crime ring, the GOP, rush to pass the most mob ties and whose net unpopular piece of legislation in decades in worth is known only to David A. Love the dead of night, without debate, and not him, his accountant and only rejoice in it, but get away with it. With Special Counsel Bob Mueller–is a dumb only 24 percent of people actually liking gangster. this plan, and only 28 percent of rural Think of the wiseguys in “Goodfellas” Americans and 29 percent of white folks who strutted around in minks and diawithout a college degree–you know, monds after they robbed JFK Airport. Trump’s base—supporting this thing, you Surrounded by a sea of mostly old, white know it was a scam to anyone who was pay- Republican men– and Sen. Tim Scott–for ing attention. the White House victory party, Trump, who Why isn’t the Republican tax scam stands to gain hundreds of millions from popular? If you sprinkle sugar on a turd, this tax heist, admitted they are pimping does that make it candy? us, that this tax bill was meant to benefit Promoted as a middle-class tax cut, it corporations rather than working people is a giveaway to corporations—cutting and repeal Obamacare. their tax rate from 35 percent to 21 per- Not to mention, Trump directed his boys to cent, with a 14 percent boost in earnings to “be quiet with the fake news media because the seven largest banks who pimped you I don’t want them talking too much about with that subprime mortgage. And this is a it,” adding, “now that it’s approved, I can giveaway to the wealthiest 1 percent, who say that.” enjoy 83 percent of the gains at the expense While the Republican-controlled of everyone else. The tax cut is projected to Congress found all kinds of money to lavish add $1.46 trillion to the national debt over on their wealthy donors, Congress failed to a decade. renew the Children’s Health Insurance After 2025 most households will see Program (CHIP), which means nearly 2 their taxes raised. Oh, and with the gutting million low-income kids will lose health of the Obamacare individual mandate, coverage next month. expect a 10 percent hike in healthcare prePuerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin miums and 13 million people to lose their Islands are still in dire straits, with as coverage. many as 1,000 dead and many still without Most of all, the tax bill is the ultimate water and power. But who cares about poor in corruption, given that the lawmakers Black and Latino people? They’re not rich, inserted provisions that would personally and they’re not white. benefit themselves, their donors, corporaGangsters run your government tions, the top 1 percent and Trump at the because they can. Chalk it up to the corrupexpense of everyone else. A last minute real tive influence of money, and the unlimited estate perk was added as a kickback for corporate funding of the American political Sen. Bob Corker, who has a net worth of system, all sanctioned by the U.S. Supreme over $69 million, and switched his vote to Court. yes in order to benefit by $1.2 million a The political system isn’t broken, but is year. The 13 lawmakers who crafted the doing what it was designed to do, which is bill own between $36 million and $136 milcontinued to page 25

Headlines From Africa


A look at current news from the continent of Africa with amendments. The Bill seeks to give effect to the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children. National Council Chairperson, Margaret Mensah-Williams, announced that the august house has passed three Bills. Nigeria: The National Council has passed several bills, including the much-debated Combating of Trafficking in Persons Bill with amendments. The Bill seeks to give effect to the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children. Sierra Leone: Two Ebola survivors have filed a suit at the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) court against the Sierra Leonean government's handling of the 2014 epidemic. The epidemic claimed thousands of lives. The two survivors are accusing the government of violating its citizens' right to life and health by mismanaging millions of dollars poured in by the international community to fight the epidemic, which ravaged West Africa between 2014 and 2016. South Africa: South Africa’s Constitutional Court is set to hand down judgment in the case brought by the EFF, UDM and COPE against the Speaker of the National Assembly to compel the House to carry out its constitutional functions and scrutinise President Jacob Zuma's conduct. Tanzania: A Tanzanian officer from the region's education department says authorities have dissolved at least 80 premature and arranged marriages that could have affected girls already selected to join secondary schools this month. Zambia: The Ministry of Finance has so far pumped K45 million into efforts to fight the latest outbreak of cholera since October when the first cases were reported. Ministry of Health head of communications and external relations Stanslous Ngosa also said that 1,045 cholera cases have been reported since October 6, 2017 Zimbabwe: Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) Archbishop, Johannis Nyamwa Ndanga, has been recalled as president of the sect for meddling in politics and supporting Former First Lady Grace Mugabe and her G40 crew.

L.A. Focus/January 2018

Angola: The President of the Republic, João Lourenço, announced that he intends to halt the increase of crime in the country and to extend the intervention of the judicial organs in this fight. João Loureço includes in this combat what he considered "white- collar crimes", generally committed by people of high social status and in the State. Cameroon: Cameroon Christian and Muslim religious leaders called for peace and talks to end the crisis in English-speaking regions of the central African nation that has prompted secession calls. The religious leaders say the crisis could add to the bloodshed from the Boko Haram insurgency in the north and the crisis in neighboring Central African Republic. Congo: Against the backdrop of severe hunger as a result of conflict in central Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the United Nations emergency food relief and food security agencies stepped up their response to assist more than 100,000 people. Together with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), WFP will distribute fortified maize meal, legumes, fortified vegetable oil and iodized salt, as well as cash, 18,000 households - whether displaced, returnee or host families - across DRC's Greater Kasai province. Ethiopia: Ethiopia has targeted to irrigate 3.3 million hectares of land by the current crop season through participating over 7.7 million farmers across the country. In the eye of officials this is an encouraging move towards the utilization of the country's estimated 10.1 million hectare of irrigable land. Kenya: Data from Kenya’s Communications Authority shows that the value of mobile commerce transactions grew significantly faster than person-to-person transfers with Kenyans transacted $16,4 billion over their phones in the quarter through September 2017. That’s a 54.5 per cent increase from a similar period last year as subscribers increasingly used mobile money to pay for goods and services Liberia: Ex-football superstar George Weah was announced the winner of Liberia's presidential run-off, beating Vice President Joseph Boakai in the first democratic transfer of power in decades following two devastating civil wars. Namibia: The National Council has passed several bills, including the much-debated Combating of Trafficking in Persons Bill

s I listen to and read what of that country. The higher the those on the left have to A Tax Bill About ease-of-doing-business score, the say about the soon-to-be- Growth, Not Envy higher the per capita income. law tax bill, I wonder When Cochrane looked where these folks think wealth comes at the data in 2016, the U.S. had a score of from. 82 on the index and a per capita income of They like to talk about milking the $53,000. China had a score of 61 and a per cow but don't seem to think it's relevant to capita income of $7,000. India a score of 50 talk about where you get the cow. and a per capita income of $1,455. They want to talk about redistributing It's pretty clear that American workwealth but have very ers benefit enormously by the good busilittle interest in the ness environment in the United States most fundamental compared with other countries. issue, which is how Now they will benefit even more as wealth is created. result of cutting the U.S. corporate tax Where does it come rate, currently one of the highest in the from? world. It will encourage business expanWhy, when we sion at home and discourage movement look around the world, abroad of businesses seeking a more taxare some countries so friendly environment. Star Parker much more prosperous This friendlier business environment than others? will produce higher incomes and faster Or why, when we look at our own economic growth. country, do we go through periods that are The eight years of the Obama adminmore prosperous than others? istration had the lowest economic growth, America's most famous socialist, averaging 1.6 percent per year, since the Senator Bernie Sanders, calls this tax bill end of World War II. a "massive attack on the middle class," According to Cochrane, the U.S. econclaiming that the priority of the bill is omy grew 3.5 percent per year on average "multinational corporations and not work- from 1950 to 2000, more than twice that of ing families." the Obama years. If over that last halfIt is true that one of the major fea- century the economy grew at the 1.6 pertures of this bill is large cut to the corpo- cent annual rate of the Obama years, per rate tax rate. But is this bad for working capita income would be less than half what families? Where, after all, do working fam- it is today. ilies work? So, please, let's stop with the nonsense Where does the investment take place about the tax bill favoring businesses and that creates the jobs that employ and pay It is true that one of the major the working Americans that Sanders features of this bill is large claims to care so much about? Isn't it in the interest of working families that places cut to the corporate tax rate. where they are employed, or seek employBut is this bad for working families? ment, prosper? The World Bank publishes annually Where, after all, do working families its ease-of-doing-business index. work? The index combines indicators of ease of starting and operating a business in 189 the wealthy over working Americans. countries around the world. It measures, Envy doesn't make a nation great and in general, the severity of regulation and prosperous. Investment, growth and prostaxation of businesses. perity do. Why does the World Bank bother with This is what we are getting in this this? Because the more business-friendly most important tax reform in years. It the country, the more we see economic helps restore a tax code that encourages prosperity in that country. rather than punishes wealth creation. Contrary to what Sanders thinks, This is exactly what all Americans need. what is good for business is good for the Star Parker is an author and president of working families they employ. CURE, Center for Urban Renewal and Hoover Institution economist John Education. Contact heratwww.urbanCochrane has shown the correlation To find out more about Star between the ease-of-doing-business score Parker, visit the Creators Syndicate webof each country and the per capita income site at



L.A. Focus/January 2018


n December 13, with a statement that it had hired a law firm to conduct an investigation, PBS said that it had indefinitely suspended Tavis Smiley “after learning of troubling allegations”. According to the network, the suspension stemmed from what was characterized as multiple, credible allegations of conduct inconsistent with their values and standards. The move followed its decision a few weeks earlier to end its partnership with talk show host Charlie Rose after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct. Smiley, who says he was as shocked as anyone else by PBS’ announcement, learned of the move on the eve of the 15th season and 3,000th episode of his nightly talk show and immediately issued a statement of his own. “I have never groped, coerced, or exposed myself inappropriately to any workplace colleague in my entire broadcast career, covering 6 networks over 30 years. Never. Ever. Never. PBS launched a so-called investigation of me without ever informing me. I learned of the investigation when former staffers started contacting me to share the uncomfortable experience of receiving a phone call from a stranger asking whether I had ever done anything to make them uncomfortable, and if they could provide other names of persons to call. After 14 seasons, that’s how I learned of this inquiry, from the streets. Only after being threatened with a lawsuit, did PBS investigators reluctantly agree to interview me for three hours. If having a consensual relationship with a colleague years ago is the stuff that leads to this kind of public humiliation and personal destruction, heaven help us.” Smiley, who has not had the hint of impropriety in his three-decade long career in TV, is just the latest celebrity rocked by sexual assault allegations in the wake of the “#MeToo movement on social media that was ignited by the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Created by black activist Tarana Burke in 2007, the post went viral in October after actress Alyssa Milano encouraged followers—via Twitter—to post ‘me too’ as a reply to her tweet if they had experienced sexual assault or harassment.


I learned of the investigation when former staffers started contacting me to share the uncomfortable experience of receiving a phone call from a stranger asking whether I had ever done anything to make them uncomfortable, and if they could provide other names of persons to call. After 14 seasons, that’s how I learned of this inquiry...

According to Twitter, the hashtag was tweeted nearly a million times in 48 hours. Facebook reported more than 12 million posts, comments, and reactions in less than 24 hours by 4.7 million users around the world, noting that 45 percent of U.S. users had friends who’d posted ‘me too.’ It has since appeared millions of times and spread to 85 countries and morphed into one of the biggest news stories of 2017. The fallout from the subsequent revelations of alleged sexual impropriety led to the high-profile firings of Today Show anchor Matt Lauer, actor Kevin Spacey and Charlie Rose while prompting those like Congressman John Conyers, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson to step down. In total, over 90 public figures have either stepped down or been forced out #MeToo hashtag went viral. But as the movement continues to mushroom and allegations spread from Hollywood and the media to the U.S. Congress and more recently, the sports world, so too have concerns that the movement is being politicized and weaponized. After catching flak, MC Lyte, deleted her post criticizing the #MeToo movement. Lyte had called out women who flirt and then claim harassment when they don’t like the alleged harasser. Actress Rose McGowan was accused of using the campaign to enforce her own personal vendettas when she attacked Meryl Streep suggesting—despite the Oscar winner’s denials—that she knew of Weinstein’s sexual misconduct, to which another columnist countered, “if we are supposed to be women, why don’t we believe Streep.” And in a recent op-ed published by The Washington Post, a writer encouraged fellow conservatives to push U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to resign over the near three decades old sexual harassment allegations lodged by former EEOC co-worker Anita Hill that were publicly mitigated in an infamous 1991 Senate confirmation hearing. But the biggest concerns are being voiced by those who question whether or not what is being defined as sexual harassment and or assault might perhaps be classified as a simple case of inappropriate behavior or misinterpreted actions.

The more than 90 public figures who have been accused of sexual assault or harassment include those pictured above: (L-R) Russell Simmons, R. Kelly, Matt Lauer, Bill Cosby, Congressman John Conyers and now former “House of Cards” star Kevin Spacey One caller into a radio station noted, “I used to compliment my female coworkers and tried to notice when they changed their hair or had a nice dress on. I no longer do so out of fear of a harassment accusation.” “We are officially #offtherails,” read one post. Actor Matt Damon ignited a social media storm when he noted: “I do believe that there’s a spectrum of behavior. And we’re going to have to figure—you know, there’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right? Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated, right?” Damon is not alone as many feel the lines are blurred. Conservative columnist Christine Flowers called the #MeToo movement “unwieldy and unforgiving, mixing all sorts of conduct together and retroactively stigmatizing acts that — until the social media age — were considered boorish and brutish but not capital offenses.” “There needs to be some type of line, some type of rule, some type of standard that we go by,” wrote Huffington Post contributor Philip Rotner. “It’s almost as though people are guilty until proven innocent. And there is concern.” “The media is painting with too broad a brush,” Smiley told the Associated Press. “We have lost all sense of nuance and proportionality in how we cover these stories.” Smiley acknowledged that he had engaged in consensual sexual relationships with coworkers and could prove they were indeed consensual with letters, cards, gifts and, photos, but staunchly denied any misconduct. Guilty or not, Smiley not only lost his show, but his upcoming national tour, "Death of a King: A Live Theatrical Experience," has been scrapped with both its lead sponsor Walmart, and production company, Mills Entertainment, backing out. In a series of public appearances from CNN to Good Morning America, Smiley denied the claims against him and warned that he would fight them in court, stating “If this can’t be resolved some other way, and if this does, in fact, end up in court, millions of taxpayer dollars are going to be spent by PBS defending themselves.” PBS, however, has maintained its stance, even writing in a statement following his Good Morning America appearance, "Tavis Smiley needs to get his story straight." "Today on 'Good Morning America,' Mr. Smiley acknowledged he has had multiple sexual encounters with his employees, then struggled to recall the number of current employees with whom he has had sex,” read the statement. “This contradicts his Facebook post from last week, where he cited only one previous relationship with an employee.

"In contrast, PBS has been consistent: PBS stands by the integrity of its investigation, which has been conducted by an outside firm with expertise in such matters. Mr. Smiley's own words today, coupled with the information discovered during the investigation, confirms PBS' decision to indefinitely suspend the distribution of 'Tavis Smiley.'" “There’s a lot more behind this,” Smiley suggested to Fox News Commentator Tucker Carlson. “It’s strange when you finally get a three-hour meeting, within an hour and a half after that meeting ends, they pull the plug on the show. Clearly, when we went into that three-hour meeting, PBS already had made up its mind. “So, about 90 minutes after this meeting ended, we got the letter that they were…indefinitely suspending my program. And 12 minutes after that, this exclusive story broke in Variety. So, I ask: How does an exclusive story break 12 minutes after we were informed that the plug is being pulled?” To be sure, workplace relationships tend to muddy the waters as both women and men entertain flirtations that in many cases has led to lasting relationships. An informal 2015 survey of 2,373 individuals from, found that 17.9 percent of men and women under 35 had met their significant others through work. A point made by Smiley as well. "Henry Kissinger met his wife in the workplace,” said Smiley. “Bill Gates met his wife in the workplace. We all know Barack Obama met Michelle Obama in the workplace." One very real fear is that men stop hiring, meeting or socializing with female co-workers out of fear that their words or actions might be taken out of context. Many are adopting the “Pence Rule”, named after Vice-President Mike Pence, who said he doesn't ever meet alone or have dinner alone with female colleagues in order to avoid any perception of impropriety. Well before the Pence rule, mega pastors like Apostle Frederick K.C. Price (Crenshaw Christian Center) and Bishop Kenneth Ulmer (Faithful Central Bible Church) adhered to similar policies to avoid the hint of scandal. Of course, the biggest backlash risk for the movement are false accusation made for personal, vindictive reasons or for political, financial strategic reasons, thus undermining the stories of those who have been genuinely impacted. According to a 2015 Cosmopolitan survey of more than 2,000, a third of women between 18 and 34 reported being sexually harassed at work with the harassment even more prevalent for the two thirds of women who are low wage

earners —more vulnerable and less likely to report out of fear they will lose their jobs. The worst-case scenario, reported Detroit Free Press Columnist Rochelle Riley, is that corporations and companies across the board begin to use fear of being accused to hire men rather than women. Already there are reports by some women feeling left out of conversations and or meetings they would normally have been included in. “Let’s make sure it does not have the unintended consequence of holding women back,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg observed in a post. “Too many workplaces lack clear policies about how to handle accusations of sexual harassment,” Sandberg continued. “Some investigations come down to one person’s word against another’s. There are consensual workplace relationships that make others uncomfortable or turn ugly, or harassment that doesn’t involve sex but does involve sexism. “Every workplace should start with clear principles, then institute policies to support them. First, develop workplace training that sets the standard for respectful behavior at work, so people understand right from the start what’s expected of them. Second, treat all claims – and the people who voice them – with seriousness, urgency, and respect. Third, create an investigation process that protects employees from stigma or retaliation. Fourth, follow a process that is fairly and consistently applied in every case, both for victims and those accused. Fifth, take swift and decisive action when wrongdoing has occurred. And sixth, make it clear that all employees have a role to play in keeping workplaces safe – and that enablers and failed gatekeepers are complicit when they stay silent or look the other way.” To that end, Hollywood executives united to form and Commission on Sexual and named as their chair, Anita Hill, while the Congressional Black Caucus announced plans to hold sexual harassment training for members. “For too long, too many people have believed that there’s no point in reporting harassment – that nothing will happen, or worse, that it will negatively impact their career,” Sandberg noted. “On the other side, some people are scared that their reputations will be ruined unfairly. Having a consistent and fair process that applies to everyone helps protect against both scenarios and restores a degree of faith in the system.” Said Smiley, “It’s time for a real conversation in America, so men and women know how to engage in the workplace. I look forward to actively participating in that conversation.”

Tarana Burke: The Woman Who Started The #MeToo Movement who had been victims of sexual abuse to tweet #MeToo. In a recent interview with the Houston Chronicle, Burke says of the movement she started: “I didn't envision it unrolling this way, but I did envision a world where we could use something like "me too" as a way for people to communicate not necessarily to disclose about what happened to them, not just to disclose about what happened to them but where people could communicate our solidarity around the fight against sexual violence, and I'm seeing that happen. “There are so many people who need support that the agencies and organizations that are set up to help them are going to be overwhelmed and are going to need lots more resources. And so, we have to make sure that this groundswell of support translates into resources for those organizations doing that work.” Burke believes that bringing vital conversations about sexual violence to the forefront helps to de-stigmatize survivors and says her group is committed to disrupting all systems that allow sexual violence to flourish. For more information on Burke, visit

L.A. Focus/January 2018

It was Tarana Burke, an African-American activist, who began to use the phrase "Me Too" more than a decade ago, as a way to give "empowerment through empathy" to survivors of sexual abuse, assault and harassment, especially those in marginalized communities. Burke, who was recently named as one of the "The Silence Breakers," Time's Person of the Year, is the founder and director of Just Be Inc., a nonprofit "focused on the health, well-being and wholeness of young women of color," has also created an online support network for sexual assault survivors. “For too long, survivors of sexual assault and harassment have been in the shadows. We have been afraid to speak up, to say ‘Me Too’ and seek accountability. For many, the consequences of doing so have been devastating,” Tarana Burke has said. Burke, who worked in social justice and arts and culture for over twenty years, turned her focus to young women of color in 2003 by co-founding Jendayi Aza, an African centered Rites of Passage program for girls. That program eventually evolved into Just Be, Inc. The #MeToo movement was born in 2006 when she encouraged girls


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MoneyMatters Restitution for Wire Fraud Victims? e've all seen those emails from Nigerian businessmen who promise millions of dollars in exchange for the use of your bank account to free up money trapped in American banks. However, the issue of wire fee fraud is a serious problem, and up until recently, there was little recourse for people who lost money in these scams. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said that between 2004-2015, Western Union recorded more than 500,000 complaints and more than $630 million in losses because of wire fraud. However, according to FTC officials, a recent settlement between Western Union and the government could refund victims of wire fraud. The FTC and the U.S. Justice Department accused Western Union of wire fraud and money laundering for not adequately protecting people from being victimized and not properly disciplining “problem agents”. “Western Union… knew that massive fraud was afoot and had the ability to address it, but chose to look the other way,” the FTC said in a statement. “It didn’t end there because according to the lawsuit, even in the face of obvious evidence that many of its own agents were complicit, Western Union ignored it while pocketing massive cash.” Western Union agreed to settle a case with the FTC and Department of Justice for $486 million. According to Todd Kassow, FTC Midwest region director, Western Union admitted culpability for wire fraud because some of their employees had participated in crimes. Kassow said the settlement will now be used to refund people who have been scammed. According to FTC officials, wire fraud is an international problem that comes in various forms. In many cases, victims are targeted through romance scams and sweepstakes scams. In romance scams, victims are targeted on dating sites and befriended by con artists. After the con artist develops an emotional connection, they start asking for money transfers. (These scams usually come out of West Africa.) In sweepstakes scams, victims are asked to pay upfront fees for prizes. Another scam targets seniors. Con artists contact senior citizens and tell them their grandchild has been kidnapped in a foreign country, and they need to pay a fee to secure their release.


Western Union knew that massive fraud was afoot and had the ability to address it, but chose to look the other way. It didn’t end there because according to the lawsuit, even in the face of obvious evidence that many of its own agents were complicit, Western Union ignored it while pocketing massive cash.”

Lois Greisman, associate director of marketing services, warned customers that con artists have already heard of the settlement and may target victims. They may pose as government workers who offer to file papers for victims. Usually, they ask for money up front, and that is an automatic red flag, she said. "Anyone who asks for money upfront is running a scam," said Greisaman. People interested in applying for restitution can do so online at or by calling 844-319-2124. Those who apply for restitution must have suffered losses between Jan. 1, 2004 and Jan. 19, 2017. The deadline for filing an application is Feb. 12, 2018. "American consumers lost money while Western Union looked the other way," said FTC Acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen in a press release. "We're pleased to start the process that will get that money back into consumers' rightful hands."

On the Money A Dream Redeemed To be sure Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was among the most significant Americans of the 20th century, but despite the fact that his name is on schools, boulevards, that he was a sought after speaker, had written a handful of books and there is a holiday named after him, King not only died without much money, but without a will as well. In fact, it has been widely reported that it was civil rights advocates and supporters like famed actor/singer Harry Belafonte who raised funds enough to insure that Dr. King’s children were supported and had monies enough to attend college. Today, the three living children of Martin Luther King Jr.—Martin Luther King III, Dexter and Bernice— are now all millionaires in their own right. Together, they serve as sole directors of their father’s estate and the King Center, which includes all of King’s papers and speeches and if you want to use them, you will have to pay for that right in most cases. In 2006,they sold a collection of more than 10,000 of his personal papers and books for $32 million. They also scored $700K from the MLK memorial and have licensed the civil rights icon’s speeches for ads by the likes of Apple, Mercedes and Chevrolet. In 2016, an Atlanta court settled a dispute over his sons decision to sell their Dad’s personal bible and Nobel Peace Prize, which was said to be worth millions over the protests of his daughter. Bernice was subsequently ordered to turn over the bible back to the estate. The fate of the Nobel Peace Prize had not been decided.

Biz NewsBriefs

Oprah Sells Majority Stake in OWN to Discovery

Last month, in a deal that netted $70 million to Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions, Discovery Communications purchased a majority stake in the Oprah Winfrey

Network (OWN). Winfrey, who is worth an estimated $3.7 billion, founded the nine-year old cable network as a joint venture with Discovery, whose stake is up from 45 percent to 70 percent. Though she will hold a minority stake in the network (25.5 percent), Oprah will remain CEO and will extend her exclusive commitment to the channel through 2025.

OneUnited Bank launches ‘Doonie’ debit card honoring young black boys slain

Paying homage to some of the young black boys we’ve lost over the years, Black-owned OneUnited Bank recently launched the ‘Doonie’ Visa debit card to embrace the important tradition in the black community of nicknaming their children. “OneUnited Bank encourages our community to be unapologetically Black and honor our traditions–including the loving tradition of nicknaming our kids,” said OneUnited Bank President and Chief Operating Officer, Teri Williams. “We have so many unmet needs that can only be filled when we speak in our authentic voice.” The design of the ‘Doonie’ card is intentionally symbolic. The young boy is meant to maintain his innocence, which often times young black boys in America do not get to do. By the ages of middle school, often times black boys are seen as grown men.

Diddy Wants To Make History With Purchase of Carolina Panthers; Would Put Kaepernick Back in The Game

In what is being reported as a serious bid to purchase the Carolina Panthers, P. Diddy is meeting with potential investors—including former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry— to shape a prospective ownership group.

Word came that the rap mogul was interested in purchasing the Charlotte, North Carolina-based NFL franchise when earlier this month owner Jerry Richardson announced he was putting up his share of the franchise for sale at the end of the season following sexual harassment and workplace misconduct allegations. “I believe it is time to turn the franchise over to new ownership," Richardson said in a letter on the Panther’s website While it’s not known what the pricetag for the team would be, it’s value has been set by Forbes Magazine at somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.3 billion. With an estimated net worth of $800+ million, Diddy having the money is not as much in question as how serious he is in owning an NFL team, though he recently tweeted, “ATTN all @NFL owners, it’s time for diversity!! It’s time for Black ownership!! The time is now. Let’s make it happen!!” Kaepernick, however, is serious and is said to be reaching out to a handful of business leaders, venture capitalists and sports icons to discuss an ownership group that would reflect the racial makeup of the league’s players, which is about 70 percent African-American, according to Yahoo Sports. Also said to be serious about a possible bid is Steph Curry, a longtime fan of the team, who tweeted that he wanted in on the deal as well. Should he prevail, Diddy has said he would give Kaepernick a shot at the quarterback position, posting on Instagram, “I will be the best NFL owner that you can imagine. I will immediately address the Colin Kaepernick situation and put him in the running for next year’s starting quarterback.” Cam Newton, the team’s quarterback, though against Richardson selling the team, said he was open to the idea of Kaepernick in the running should the purchase go through.

L.A. Focus/January 2018

TV One has announced that after four years of award-winning programming and distinguished service to viewers as the only Black daily newscast on television, the network has decided to suspend the production of NewsOne Now as a daily morning news show. TV One premiered NewsOne Now in 2013, to provide a daily voice to Black America on important political and social issues impacting our community. “Providing a platform for Black voices is in the DNA of our entire company,” said TV One CEO Alfred Liggins. “As a Black-owned multi-media company, Urban One (parent company of TV One) engages Black America daily, not just on television, but radio and also online via and on 77 digital platforms. We know there is a void in mainstream media and we plan to continue to be an outlet for Black news. Roland Martin will be a part of that plan.” Adjustments had made to the format to save the show, but NewsOne Now failed to gain traction with advertisers and viewers.

TV One Suspends News One Now


INSIDE HO L LY W OOD with Neily Dickerson Happy New Year and in the words of the great song, “baby it’s cold outside”, here’s a suggestion of how to stay warm. Let’s pull out our blankets and socks and snuggle up on the couch to enjoy some online streaming entertainment. There are some great movies and shows on the top streaming channels that will keep you totally entertained for the month of January, so check out some of these gems. Warning, all are not wholesome, but I promise they’re enjoyable. There’s this amazingly interesting show on HULU called the, THE HANDMAIDS TALE. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and check it out. It’s a bit overwhelming, but the

story is very interesting. NETFLIX’s SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT is still smart, silly & sexy. Spike Lee has revived the 1986 hit movie, making it

into an enjoyable series where we get to experience the antics of Nola Darling. I also fell in love with the CABLE GIRLS, a Spanish period drama, translated into English that was unexpectedly great. Season 2 is available now. And then there’s THE CROWN. If you know me, then you know I love all things involving the royal family. The pomp and circumstance that surrounds them is wonderful. Also, the time spent developing the characters, even if what is implied is simply a suggestion, is good stuff . Season 1 was fantastic and season 2 is even better. If you want to see a lil’ action, check out THE DEFENDERS.


Proud Mary January 12

Den of Thieves January 19

Royal Family Drama For Meghan Markle


Royal Family Drama For Meghan Markle In what is surely the happiest time of her life, Meghan Markle — who officially became engaged to Britain’s Prince Harry (I mean you have to live under a rock if you didn’t know that) — is having to deal with some family drama of her own sparked somewhat innocently by comments Harry made to the BBC. When asked how the happy couple celebrated Christmas, he remarked, She really enjoyed it. The family loved having her there. She's done an absolutely amazing job, she's getting in there and it's the family that I suppose she never had." It was the last comment that rubbed, Markle’s oldest sister, Samantha the wrong way. “Actually she has a large family who were always there with her and for her. Our household was very normal and when dad and Doria divorced, we all made it so it was like she had two houses. No one was estranged ,she was just too busy. Read my book complete with facts and photos” The book she’s referring to titled "The Diary of Princess Pushy’s Sister”, and Markel’s sister has maintained that it will not be a tell all. Ironically, though they share a father (who it is said will walk Meghan down the aisle) the two sisters have been estranged for a decade or more.

The Final Year January 19

Jon Legend To Play Jesus Ten-time Grammy winner and multi-platinum R&B/pop star John Legend has been cast as Jesus in NBC's upcoming "Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert!" The live musical remake of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s rock opera is set to air on Easter Sunday, April 1 and is based on the Gospels' accounts of the last week of Jesus' life, ending with the crucifixion but also focusing on political and personal struggles between Jesus and Judas Iscariot that are not part of Biblical teachings. The film marks the first title role for the singer who has had supporting roles in Underground, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Soul Men. Legend said he was thrilled to join the cast. “It’s such a powerful, meaningful musical and I’m humbled to be part of this performance. We’ve already formed an incredible team, and, as we finish casting, I’m certain we will put together some of the greatest talents

Maze Runner:The Death Cure January 26

around to do this work justice.”

A Remake of Superfly? Julien Christian Lutz (aka Director X) is in negotiations to helm a remake of the 1972 box office hit and blaxploitation classic, Super Fly—which starred Ron O’Neal and Sheila Frazier. The original film— directed by Gordon Parks Jr. and so successfut that it spawned two sequels, Super Fly TNT and The Return of Super Fly—was about an African American cocaine dealer looking to score one big deal before getting out of the business. Trevor Jackson (Black-ish) is reported to be in the running for the lead role of “Priest”. Director X is best known for the music videos he’s created for the likes of Usher, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Drake, Nicki Minaj and Rihanna. In other film news, Taraji P. Henson has reportedly inked a deal with Paramount Pictures to star in What Men Want. Set for release in January of 2019, the movie was inspired by the 2000 box office hit, What Women Want, starring Mel Gibson. Meanwhile, her Empire co-star Terrence Howard will team with Wesley Snipes Demetrius Shipp, Shameik Moore and T.I. for Cut Throat City. Currently filming in New Orleans, the film is being described as a post Katrina heist drama…Finally, the deals just keep on coming for Kevin Hart, who will star in and produce an action comedy titled On The Run. Hart will play a hit man whose assignment goes awry when the target isn’t who he expects. Hart’s company, Hartbeat Productions, will team with Will Packer Productions on the film.

Q&a Issa Rae

Jo-Issa “Issa Rae” Diop Hometown: Los Angeles Big Break: The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl Current Project: Insecure Born Jo-Issa Diop to parents Abdiulaye and Delyana Diop, this Los Angeles native has been serving some serious melanin on the Hollywood scene. From producing the YouTube series “Awkward Black Girl” to the hit TV series “Insecure”, Issa has proven to be a force to reckon with, which has landed her a Golden Globe nominations for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series and received the Rising Star Award the American Black Film Festival Honors. Where did you get your inspiration when you wrote the script for Insecure? In the writers’ room, we talk about our lives, have debates and arguments and stay true to our stories. Even today, talking about a specific storyline, we never want to take a specific stance. We always just want to start conversations that lives in the grey area of things—that’s where things are most interesting— when we are just like, this is something that we all go through but have different views or interpretations of. That’s what art is and should do. The writing staff on “Insecure” is mostly comprised of women. How does that help your creative process? I remember sometimes we would split into rooms to focus on episodes. One room would focus on episode one and another room would focus on episode two. And when we split rooms we realized—and it would just be random—that it would just be women. One of our guy writers actually happened to be out of town, and it was literally the week when bombshell after bombshell, dude after dude was being taken down [in the storyline]. Tell us about the process of Awkward Black Girl, what did you learn from this? In creating the first episode of Awkward Black Girl, I had to pull so many resources together and I had to hit up a couple of random people. Even in editing it myself, trying to tell the story because I couldn’t afford to get the shot that I wanted or go to this location that I wanted and piecing that together, there’s so much creativeness in brokenness. Brokenness will have you making it work. You’ve got to hold on to that broke energy because so much of that stuff makes you relatable. You’ve mentioned before that “bald head changed your life” what does that mean and where did the idea come from? I was trying to get Awkward Black Girl off the ground and I tweeted something like “I wish someone would just break up with me so that I could have an excuse to shave my hair off.” Then I was like that’s a funny plot line of like a show or something. So I put it on Facebook and all my friends were like OMG do it, you’re about to be so ugly, what if you have like a weird-shaped head. I saw how much attention I was getting and I thought what if I used this? I should shave my head and then do a trailer for Awkward Black Girl where I feature my baldhead and that way people who want to see what I look like will also know about this new show that I’m trying to do. I did it and got 3,000 views in a day. I had a bald head and I had a fresh start. That bald head changed my life.

Calendar of events

Ongoing Exhibition: We Wanted A Revolution: Black Radical Women 1965-85 Examines the political, social, cultural, and aesthetic priorities of women of color during the emergence of second-wave feminism. Artists represented include Elizabeth Catlett, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Loïs Mailou Jones, Barbara Jones-Hogu, Carolyn Lawrence, Samella Lewis, Alison Saar, Betye Saar, and Carrie Mae Weems Tues - Sat 10am-5:00pm Sun 11am-5pm Free • (Parking: $12) California African American Museum 600 State Drive Exposition Park (213) 744-7432 19th Annual Downtown On Ice (Through January 15) Annual outdoor skating rink featuring a variety of free activities, including youth programs, special events, and live music. Open daily (Times vary) $9 – Admission; $4 – Skate Rental Pershing Square 532 South Olive Street Contact: (213) 847-5970

Wednesday, January 10

Saturday, January 6

On Stage: “Disney’s Aladdin” (Through March) Check online for times/prices Hollywood Pantages Theatre 6233 Hollywood Blvd Contact: (323) 468-1770

Xscape: The Great Xscape Tour (Through January 7) 8pm • $59.50–$125 Nokia Theatre-LA Live 777 Chick Hearn Court

Sunday, January 7 33rd Commemorative Concert in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Featuring the Alpha Kappa Alpha Chorus and the Delta Sigma Theta Choraliers 4PM Bethel AME Church 7900 S. Western Avenue Information: (310) 749-3186 or (213) 718-4373

Tuesday, January 9 Inglewood Housing Rights Free Walk-In Clinic The Housing Rights Center, in collaboration with the City of Inglewood, conducts a Free Housing Rights Walk-In Clinic for residents to learn about landlord/tenant rights, 1pm – 4pm • Free Beat 3 Police Community Center, 2901 W. Manchester Blvd. in Inglewood, CA Info: (213) 387-8400

2018 LA Art Show (Through Sunday, January 14) Modern & Contemporary Art 11am-7pm/ Sun 11am-5pm • $25$60 LA Convention Center 1201 S. Figueroa Street Contact: (561) 822-5440

Thursday, January 11 “Lula Washington Dance Theatre” (Through Sat.,

January 13) 7:30pm • $45-$125 Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts 9390 North Santa Monica Blvd Tickets: (310) 746-4000

Friday, January 12 Sharing The Dream Awards Luncheon Honorees include Pat Harvey and Susan Kelechi Watson (“This Is Us”) Special Guest Speaker: Steve Ballmer Mistress of Ceremonies: Black-ish star Anthony Anderson Presented by the MLK Community Health Foundation 11:00am -2pm Individual Tickets: $150 Dorothy Chandler Pavilion–Grand Hall 135 North Grand Avenue

EVENT SPOTLIGHT Monday, January 15 32nd Annual Kingdom Day Parade Featuring 150 floats and marching bands 9am–1pm • Free Martin Luther King Blvd./Western Ave. to Crenshaw Blvd./Vernon Ave Festival at Leimert Park Info: (323) 934-3683 • (844) 454-6432

L.A. Focus/January 2018

Zendaya Coleman at the Sydney premiere of ‘The Greatest Showman’


e of premier e at the ll a i' H d e X ast J Chloe rs The L 'Star Wa

Anthony Anderson at the premiere of 'Ferdin and'

the nya Lewis Lee at Spike Lee and To di' Je st La e Th s r War premiere of 'Sta

Nicole Ari Parker and Boris Kodjoe at the premiere of 'Ferdinand'

Tina KnowlesLawson, Marilyn Booker, Cookie Johnson, Magic Johnson, Leah Pump and Holly RobinsonPeete attend Ladylike Day at UCLA.

Contact: (213) 622-2344

Saturday, January 13 26th Annual Empowerment Congress Summit Workshop topics include: criminal justice reform, gentrification, homelessness and equity in education 9am–1pm • Free USC Bovard Auditorium Register: (213) 346-3246 In Concert: Smokey Robinson 8pm • $95 Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts 12700 Center Court Drive Contact: (562) 916-8500 3nd Annual R&B Rewind Fest Headliners include Boyz II Men, Jodeci, Blackstreet, SWV, Jagged Edge, Soul For Real 8pm • $47–$295 Nokia Theatre-LA Live 777 Chick Hearn Court

Kenny Latimore, Traci Braxton, Towanda Braxton, Evelyn Braxton, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Trina Braxton and Cornelius Smith Jr. attend Sheryl Lee Ralph's 27th Annual DIVAS Simply Singing event

In Concert: Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (ICYOLA) “A Celebration of the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” 7:00pm • Free West Angeles COGIC 3045 Crenshaw Blvd Information: (213) 268-3082 The Power of Love Christian Fellowship 2018 Business Prayer Breakfast & Community Day Features Business Expo, Entertainment, and Giveaways 9am – 11:30am • Free 1426 W. Manchester Ave Information: (323) 752-6525

Sunday, January 14, 2nd Annual LA Honors by Personal Involvement Center Honorees include: Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Reverend Xavier Thompson and LA Lakers Youth Foundation and LA Lakers 7:00pm – 9:00pm • $75

The Proud Bird 11022 Aviation Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90045

Monday, January 15 49th Annual NAACP Image Awards Celebrating the outstanding performances of people of color in the arts. (Broadcasting live on TV One @9pm) Red carpet 8pm/ Awards 9pm • $150-$500 Pasadena Civic Auditorium 300 E. Green Street Tickets: (323) 938-2790 Martin Luther King Day Celebration art-making activities and food, visit our exhibitions, reading of Martin Luther King Jr. speeches 10pm – 5pm • Free California African American Museum 600 State Drive– Exposition Park RSVP: (213) 744-7432

“Fresh Start Revival 2018” Presented by Southern Saint Paul Church (Through Friday, Jan 19) Featuring Dr. Jamal H. Bryant and Dr. Frederick Haynes III 7PM Nightly • Free Southern Saint Paul Church 4678 W. Adams Blvd Contact: (323) 731-2703 In Concert: Garrett Morris Presents A Night of Comedy & Blues Special appearance by the Manhattan Transfer 8:30pm • $20 Catalina Bar & Grill 6725 W. Sunset Blvd

Friday, January 19 In Concert: The Temptations 8pm • $70–$90 Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts 12700 Center Court Drive Contact: (562) 916-8500

2nd Annual Women’s March LA 9am - 4pm Pershing Square 532 S. Olive Street

Saturday, January 27 Southern University Alumni Los Angeles Chapter: Boule de Masquerade de Mardi Gras 7pm-12midnight • $125 Marriott Hotel - Bayview Ballroom 4100 Admiralty Way Marina del Rey, California 90292 In Concert: Herbie Hancock 8pm • $52-$131 Walt Disney Concert Hall 111 South Grand Ave Los Angeles March Against Slavery in Libya 9am - 1pm Pershing Square 532 S. Olive Street

around los angeles Wednesday, January 17

Sunday, January 28 In Concert: The Temptations $38 – 68 • 9pm The Canyon 28912 Roadside Drive Agoura Hills Contact: (818) 8795016/(888) 645-5006 In Concert: George Benson and Kenny G The Breezin' & Breathless Tour 7:30pm • $49.50–$129.50 Nokia Theatre-LA Live 777 Chick Hearn Court

Wednesday, January 31 Book Signing: Laila Ali (“Food For Life: Delicious & Healthy Comfort Foods From My Table To Yours”) Barnes & Noble 189 The Grove Drive Information: (323) 525-0270

hanna at Kendrick Lamar & Ri Christmas Toy Drive

Yvette Nicole Brown and Niecy Nash at the 49th NAACP Image Awards Nominees' Luncheon

Shaunie O'Neal and Loni Love at the Los Angeles Mission's Christmas Celebration on Skid Ro w

L.A. Focus/January 2018

a Brown and Compton Mayor Aj ron Davis at Ba yer retired NBA pla Annual Mayor Brown's 5th ay ve Compton Toy Gi aw

Women’s Prayer Breakfast “Sizing Up The Enemy”

8am Atherton Baptist Church 2627 West 116th Street Hawthorne Information: (323) 757-3113


Eye On Gospel Marvin Sapp Humbled by Grammy/NAACP Image Award Nominations “Even after more than 25 years in the music business, award nominations are an exciting and a tremendous honor,” said award-winning gospel star Marvin Sapp of recent nominations for both the 60th annual Grammy Awards and the 49th NAACP Image Awards. Sapp’s GRAMMY nomination is for Best Gospel Album, and he is nominated for Outstanding Gospel/Christian Album for the 49th NAACP Image Awards. This marks his 11th GRAMMY nomination, and his fourth NAACP Image Award nomination. Both nods are in recognition of his 11th album, “Close”, which was released September 29th on Verity Records. “Close” delivered Sapp’s fifth consecutive #1 album debut. “My name does not have to be called,” Sapp continued, “so I am humbled and grateful when it is. Thank you to both the Recording Academy and the NAACP Image Awards committee, and congratulations to all of my peers who are also nominated.” Marvin Sapp is featured on AT&T’s holiday song “Be the Glow” along with Earnest Pugh, Fred Hammond, Monica, Romeo and Fantasia. Last month, Sapp performed with The National Symphony Orchestra at The Kennedy Center, in its celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Grammy® and Dove award–winning Handel’s Messiah. The one-night only event also featured BeBe Winans, Chanté Moore, The Clark Sisters, Take 6, Deitrick Haddon, Jennifer Holiday and more. One of the most beloved voices in gospel music, Marvin Sapp is an internationally acclaimed recording artist. He is a multiple GRAMMY and Billboard Award nominee, two-time BET Award winner and multiple (22) Stellar Gospel Music Award recipient. Sapp is Senior Pastor of Lighthouse Full Life Center, which has locations in Grand Rapids and Muskegon, Michigan. He is also Metropolitan Bishop within the Global United

Fellowship, where he oversees more than 100 churches in 19 states.

Charles Jenkins Receives Early Christmas Gift Charles Jenkins & Fellowship Chicago Ft. Le’Andria have received an early Christmas gift. Their uplifting, finger-snapping, retro R&B-flavored cut, “Grace” (Inspired People/Empire), hits the top spot on both the Billboard (up from No. 2 last week) and Mediabase (up from No. 3 last week) Gospel Airplay charts this week. It marks the eighth unique Billboard No. 1 for the Chicago-based pastor, Jenkins, over the course of his five-year career as a recording artist. The song also makes its first appearance in the Top Ten on the Billboard Digital Gospel Songs (sales) chart, coming in at No. 10. “Grace” anchors the forthcoming and tentatively entitled album, “Keep the Faith,” which will release in 2018. The project will be recorded live at Fellowship Chicago. “We are really excited about this new album. God has given me a range of singable music that will appeal to all generations,” Jenkins explains. “ The album will be full of music every church can sing out loud.” The St. Petersburg, FL native burst on the national music scene in 2012 when his debut radio single with Fellowship Chicago, “Awesome,” reached the No. 1 spot on

L.A. Focus/January 2018

Re d Carpet Style


GUGU MBATHA-RAW in a beautiful long red trench coat

YARA SHAHIDI in a white lace Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini dress

Billboard Magazine’s Gospel Airplay chart and stayed there for 22 weeks. In 2014, the group followed up with the smash “#WAR” that also hit No. 1 on the Gospel Airplay chart and was cited as the most played gospel song of 2015 on Billboard’s end-of-the-year chart. Jenkins has enjoyed other Top Ten hits such as “Just To Know Him” and “Winning.”

Kirk Franklin To Host New Gospel Music Festival To fill a gaping void in the gospel music industry, Kirk Franklin has announced that he will launch a gospel music festival in his hometown of Irving, Texas. With the move, he hopes to add a much-needed platform to the genre. The 47-year old gospel recording artist—who remains gospel’s bestselling artist—announced that he would partner with Live Nation to present the weeklong Exodus Music & Arts Festival for the inaugural even on Memorial Day weekend. "It's not about me. It's about the music," he posted. "I'm excited because finally the genre that I love and that I'm a part of, something that's very important to me now has a wonderful opportunity to see another level of excitement and another platform to be able to give you the best in hopeful music, gospel music, that feel good music. "Memorial Day weekend it will be the first ever of its kind in the history of its genre. It's going to have the best and brightest in gospel music. This is huge. Not huge for me, but huge for us." Marvin Sapp, Tamela Mann and Tye Tribbett are just some of the artists set to appear, with more to be announced in the coming weeks. Tickets are already on sale at Briefly: Cece Winans teamed up with the Clark Sisters for a performance with The National Symphony Orchestra at The Kennedy Center recently, as it celebrated the 25th anniversary of the award–winning Handel’s Messiah. The one-night only event also featured BeBe Winans, Chante Moore, Marvin Sapp, Fred Hammond, Take 6, Deitrick Haddon, Jennifer Holliday and other artists.

Celebrities turn out in style at The Hollywood Reporter's Women in Entertainment Breakfast last month in Los Angeles.

AMANDLA STENBERG flaunting a blood orange Solace London turtle neck and white box clutch.

SUSAN KELECHI WATSON in a beautiful strapless flared white extended dress.

SHAONDA RHIMES wearing a long black coat with wide heeled thigh high boots.

Through the Storm


Fred Hammond’s Personal Story of Victory Over Pain

ith all his pioneering success in gospel music— which includes his tenure with with the hit group Commissioned; his forging the advent of praise and worship with the hit ensemble Radical For Christ; and a string of hit solo CDs that have made him the third best-selling gospel artist of all-time, multiple Dove, Stellar and Grammy Award-winning gospel artist, Fred Hammond has had his own unique set of trials and tribulations. Fact is, for the better part of the last two decades while on stage singing such classic hits as “Glory To Glory”, “You Are The Living Word” and “No Weapon (Formed Against Me Will Prosper)”, Hammond was in excruciating knee and leg pain. Not only on stage, but simple ordinary day-to-day tasks such as walking up a flight of stairs, going through an airport or even shopping would end in pain. He considered surgery, but two things held him back. The first being his doctor, who suggested that he wait until he was 58 or 60 years old—which meant at least another five years of pain. The second reason was that it was the very same surgery that his father—who was only having one knee done—died of complications from after the surgery. “So, over the years I learned to function and live with the pain and I used to sweat a lot. I would be standing at the airport drenched in sweat,” Hammond said. “I tried to claim victory, live through the pain and not get the much-needed surgery. But in doing that, I reached a place where my knees had become so severely damaged that the doctor said I could no longer wait. “So, in August 2013—along with my doctor and my family—I made the decision that the first of the yearJanuary 3, 2014, I would have both knees replaced. Normally it’s suggested that you have the knees done one at a time-but both my knees were so bad-and I had little downtime to have two separate surgeries-so I went ahead with the decision to have them both done.” The surgery went well, but he couldn’t have been more ill-prepared for what followed. “I think I got tricked,” says Hammond. “My doctor had told me about the consequences of doing both knees at the same time, but then he shared with me about a patient of his —a woman—who had gotten both her knees done and I thought well, if she can do it, so can I.” It was a decision he would second guess more than once in what he says was a very painful recovery and a huge test of faith. “I thought I made a horrible mistake by getting them both done at the same time. That was the most excruciating pain I’ve ever been in in my life.” Not only was it painful, but it left a man who was very comfortable fending for himself, at the mercy of others. “Simple tasks like going to the restroom or putting on my socks felt almost impossible without assistance. Simply put-sometimes it was downright embarrassing…it made me feel as though I had done too much

Simple tasks like going to the restroom or putting on my



socks without







downright embarrassing…it made

me feel as though I had done too

much and possibly have bitten off more than I could chew. and possibly have bitten off more than I could chew. As I lay there in bed sometimes with tears running down my face uncontrollably… I would whisper to myself “I have to trust Him.” Out of that experience was birthed the song “I Will Trust”, the lead single and title of his 14th solo album. With it, he used the experience to tap into the emotions of others going through similar challenges. “I wanted to feel what people were feeling during a traumatic time…and be touched by the feeling of everyone else’s issues.” “At the end of the day, [the surgery] was the best thing for me,” Hammond reflects. “The pain I used to have I almost don’t remember. It’s three years now and I’m treating them [his knees] gent l y because I want it to last, but I could stand u p through a whole concert now. I looked up one day about a month ago and my peo-

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ple said, ‘You know you didn’t sit down, not one time.’ But just as he was getting his knees under control, he had to adjust to the bottom falling out of the gospel music industry with the decline of album sales and the rise of streaming. “Before it was really simple,” Hammond reports. “Now, there’s streaming, which seems to be like holding water in your hands. You can’t really figure it out and there’s no real transparency so everybody’s just kind of out here. “I personally feel that traditional radio has pretty much told me, ‘Thanks for the memories. We’ll let you get so far, but we’ve really got to push this new blood— the Travis Greenes, Tasha Cobbs and Jonathan McReynolds. “It doesn’t matter because it’s really about people who come on my site. I’ve got 1.4 million people on Facebook. I direct them to Spotify, Apple Music, or Vimeo and I have brand new music coming out once a month—one song a month. No need for me to put out an album and people are not buying that anyway.” Now, says Hammond, it’s time for him to share in the revenues. “To reap a minimum of half of what I generate. I’ve never been close to that,” Hammond reveals. While walking away from the traditional [record label] machine has come with its own set of challenges, there is also the freedom of Hammond expanding his brand into new areas. “What I’ve added to my name is “independent artist” and independent filmmaker because the gospel must be seen,” said Hammond. “Now, I’m going to show you a part of my of my life that has been broken and you will understand where “No Weapon” comes from. That’s what we’ve not seen. “I have a series of things that I’m writing—that I’ve already started to shoot and I’m negotiating distribution for. One of them is called “The Choir.” This is not “War Room”. This is the gospel version of “Empire” and I’m about to be 60 years old so I don’t care what people say. I’m coming to help somebody and if God doesn’t want me to do this, he wouldn’t have put it in my heart.” The same is true of Hammond’s recent collaboration with Snoop Dogg on the rap superstar’s upcoming gospel album, which has made for a firestorm of controversy on social media. “They were going crazy,” Hammond states. “’Oh my God, Fred Hammond and Snoop Dogg.’ They didn’t even hear the record yet it was like guilty by association. They kept using this scripture, come out from among them and be ye separated. I just said relax. “When I heard the song,” he continues, “I didn’t know what to expect, whether it was going to be watered down, but this song mentioned Jesus about 50 times. I am preaching from beginning to end. “People are going to find some fault with it anyway, but when I heard the passion and the heart of what Snoop was doing with this, I didn’t care about anything

Specializing in Residential & Commercial Property Life, Health& Disability Insurance Tax Preparer, Notary Services Credit Restoration Program

Game Changers: Areva Martin As a CNN legal commentator and recurring cohost on the Emmy Award-winning daytime talk show, The Doctors, Areva Martin has become one of the most sought-after legal and social issues experts on television, making regular appearances on Dr. Phil, World News Tonight, Good Morning America, and shows across HLN, while establishing herself and her law firm—Martin and Martin as powerful national advocates for civil rights and justice. But it is right here in Los Angeles where Martin has made the biggest impact and a lasting legacy with the Special Needs Network she established in 2005 to raise public awareness to developmental disabilities and to impact public policy, while providing education and resources to families, children and adults. In the decade since, Special Needs Network programs have provided resources and services to more than 50,000 families in the process becoming the premier nonprofit organization in South Los Angeles working on issues of autism and related developmental disabilities.

Martin’s Special Needs Network was born out of a personal mission that came with the 2003 diagnosis of her youngest son with autism. “I was devastated,” Martin recalled. “I couldn’t say the word autism initially without crying. I looked for less harsh words to describe his condition, so it took me awhile before I would even tell anyone what he had.” Earnest Martin III, known as Marty, was 18 months old when Martin first noticed that he was wasn’t using language the way his older sisters had at the same age. She also noticed that Marty often isolated himself from others. Concerned, she reached out to other parents for advice. Martin visited her regular pediatrician, who referred her to a developmental pediatrician After a couple of evaluations, the developmental pediatrician would diagnosis Marty with autism, a neurological disorder that affects the development of social and communication skills. Martin and her husband had no idea how to proceed after the diagnosis. “On that visit when she actually told us what it was, we didn’t understand the gravity, but we knew it was bad news. The first thing she said is we don’t know what causes this, and there’s not a cure, and there’s no medication.” “Even though I didn’t know what was in store for us, we left that office having more questions than answers and having the doctor tell us she didn’t have any answers. So it was disheartening.” But overcoming challenges is what fueled the success of the St. Louis native

When we first went into our community, we found mostly despair. We found frustration. We found anger.

who was born in the projects but graduated with honors from both the University of Chicago and Harvard Law School; and whose law firm, Martin & Martin, LLP, has become one of the top AfricanAmerican female owned firms in Los Angeles. Martin went to work, setting up a practice group in her firm that represented families with autism who were trying to navigate the legal system and began taking classes to learn more about autism. It was during these classes that Martin began to realize the disparities between minorities and whites when it came to autism treatment. To address these issues, she organized a town hall meeting in May of 2005 at the Challenger Boys and Girls Club in South Los Angeles. At the meeting, entitled “Impact of Autism on Communities of Color,” nearly 1,000 community members came out to vent their frustrations to an audience that included local and state politicians. As she listened to story after story of parents who were struggling to navigate an unequal system, Martin knew she needed to provide a permanent outlet for their frustrations. “That day crystallized for me the need for a parent centered, non-profit that really, really focused on how this disorder was

impacting people of color. “ From this meeting, the Special Needs Network was born. While her non-profit and legal work has largely focused on Southern California, the Harvard Law School graduate targeted a national audience with the release of her second book The Everyday Advocate, a guide for parents of autistic children to the best treatment and services. Her third book entitled Make It Rain: How to Use the Media to Revolutionize Your Business and Brand (Hachette) hits bookshelves in March. In it, Martin shares “what insiders know about the power of media appearances to get one’s core message to the people who need it most.” The wife and mother of three has already changed the game for not only her son, but for thousands of parents and children dealing with Autism through a range of programs that include a back to school health and resource fair, a Christmas care program, parent advocacy mentor program, summer camp, Tools For Transformation Conference and a Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities located in the Compton, Watts and Willowbrook community to serve as a onestop shop for low-income families in need of behavioral therapy services “When we first went into our community, we found mostly despair. We found frustration. We found anger. We found bitterness,” Martin says. “Now, we see people stand up at meetings and say ‘I am an advocate. I know my rights and that knowledge gives me power.’

T R IE D S T O N E M B C 1249 E.C A R SO N STR EET • C A R SO N C A 90745 • Q U EN TIN T.O D EN ,PA STO R


Resolve To Be There For The Moments That Matter Renee Gibson, Disability Insurance Branch, Deputy Director, Employment Development Department The new year is always a time for new goals and new intentions. It’s often the time for resolutions to lose weight, save more money and finally clear out the clutter. Although studies show most resolutions to hit the gym or break a bad habit fall short by the time February rolls around, there’s one resolution that can be fulfilled at any time throughout the year: resolving to be there for your family during the moments that matter. Thanks to California’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) program, eligible Californians can receive up to six weeks of paid benefits to either bond with a new child (including biological, foster, or adopted children) or to care for a seriously ill or injured family member (child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or registered domestic partner). In 2004, California was the first state in the nation to enact a PFL program and now, starting this month, the program is getting even better: •Eligible Californians can now get approximately 60 to 70 percent of their pay while on leave – the highest wage replacement rate in the nation – up to the $1,216 weekly maximum benefit amount. •The seven-day waiting period has been eliminated, meaning that benefits

are payable starting on the first eligible day of leave. Together, the benefit increase and the waiting period elimination are designed to encourage more people to use their PFL benefits by further easing the financial burden of taking time off from work. It’s also important to remember that most Californians have already paid for PFL benefits. PFL is not a government assistance program; rather, it’s funded by mandatory paycheck deductions that more than 18 million Californians are paying to State Disability Insurance, noted as “CASDI” on most paystubs. PFL also allows parents and caregivers to split their six weeks of leave over a 12month period, providing additional flexibility for those who may need to provide care or bond with a child on a more intermittent basis or want to coordinate their leave with another family member. These PFL benefits make the program a win for parents, caregivers, families and our state. So as we get to work on our new diets, our new budgets, and our new habits, let’s also make a commitment to take a new look at PFL and resolve to be with our families during the moments that matter most. For more information about PFL, visit

CALVARY BAPTIST CHURCH OF PACOIMA is proud to announce the appointment of

Xavier L. Thompson as its new pastor.

Join us for services on Sunday mornings. 12928 Vaughn St, San Fernando, Ca 91340

and be on the lookout for details of the official installation of our new pastor next month.

ChurchNews Triedstone Baptist Church Gets New Home With Miracle Move Of God


uentin Oden, senior pastor of Triedstone Baptist Church was doing 65 on the 405 Freeway when he says God gave him word that He was about to do something big. Ironically enough, the message came in a song— William Murphy’s “It’s Working”— that Oden wasn’t particularly fond of. “The anointing was so strong it felt like I was standing in the pulpit preaching,” Oden recalls. “The lyrics said that this was the season to reap what I had sown.” A short time later, Oden received a $2 million offer on the small edifice they owned on Adams near Fairfax. He scouted locations in L.A. for another building but they were way more expensive than Triedstone could afford. “Then my wife and I were driving home on the 405 freeway and spot this church,” Oden picks up the story. “I’d seen it a year earlier and it had been listed for $6 million, so I stopped looking. But we decided to get off the freeway and take a [second] look. The building is still available and the price is closer to what we need, but not quite there.” With offers still coming, Oden and the trustees decided to list the property, subsequently receiving an offer of $4 million, which the church accepted. “That first offer fell out of escrow because the buyer wanted to change the terms,” Oden states. “But within 24 hours they had another buyer who offered more than the previous buyer to close the deal out at $4.2 million, which allowed us to buy the building so that we’re in paid in full. No mortgage, and with enough money in the bank to finish the building off. The Lord worked out all the details. “Sometimes I show up at the church and say, Lord, really?” At, 21,000 square feet, with a sanctuary that seats 640, the Carson-based church was seven times larger than the building they’d occupied, complete with a huge fellowship hall and built-in music studio. And while a dozen or so members didn’t make the trip, Oden says the Lord has “sent an increase” and they’re already surpassed the numbers they had before. With the move his biggest hope is that the miracle God worked for his small church would encourage others. “The Lord spoke and then directed every detail including advanced warnings when challenges would come. I had a chance to watch spiritual warfare on a level you could have never imagined. I watched him move people and things out of the way,” said Oden, who has served as pastor of 200-member church for 21 years. “It’s still an unfolding story. There are things God is doing for me personally,” reveals Oden, who has since been made moderator of the LAX Urban Center division of the mostly white Southern Baptist Convention. “That the Lord moved us to a culture that is very diverse in Carson is not accidental.” Oden continues. “The primary job I’ve been given to do is to declare that our gospel is bigger than our ethnicity. The Lord is calling us to raise praise to a level that is above just our cultural preferences and to get into the thing that the Lord’s most concerned about and that’s the salvation of people. To be as diverse and inclusive we can be and to make sure that no one Jesus died for misses out on the change of getting the gospel because they happen to be born the wrong color. That’s what the Lord invested the $4 million in.” In national church news, Pastor John Gray and his wife broke the news on social media that they have accepted a position as senior pastors that will effectively end their tenure at Lakewood Church next year. “It is with tremendous gratitude in our hearts for the past and expectancy for the future, that we are honored to share that we have said YES to God's next assignment for our lives,” Gray posted. “We will be the new senior Pastors of what has been known as Redemption Church in Greenville South Carolina! To Pastor Ron and Hope Carpenter and the entire Redemption family, we say thank you for seeing the future in us and we are eager to begin this new journey.”

Agape Church of Los Angeles Worship Center Consolidated Plaza: 3725 Don Felipe Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90008 Corprate Office: 4602 Crenshaw Blvd, Suite 2A, Los Angeles, CA 90043 (323) 295-5571 Bishop Craig A. Worsham, Founder & Senior Pastor Sunday School: 10:00am Morning Worship: 11:00am Loving, Lifting & Liberating Humanity Through The Word Bethel Missionary Baptist Church of South L.A. 10905 S. Compton Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90059 (323) 566.5286 Pastor Reginald A. Pope Sunday School: 9:30am Morning Worship: 8am • 11am Children’s Church: 11am (2nd/4th Sundays) Evangelism Training/Bible Study/Independent Prayer: (Mon): 7:29pm Mobile Prayer/Bible Study: (Wed) 11am Book by Book Bible Study (Wed.): 6:30pm Bryant Temple AME Church 2525 W. Vernon Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90008 (323) 293-6201 • F: (323) 293-0082 Pastor Dwain Jackson Sunday School: 8:15am Morning Worship: 10:00 am Bible Study (Tues): Noontime Pastor’s Bible Study( Tues): 6:00pm

Christ The Good Shepherd Episcopal Church 3303 W. Vernon Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90008 (323) 295-4139 • F: (323) 295-4681 Rev. Joseph Oloimooja Sunday School: 10:00am Early Worship: 8:00am Morning Worship: 10:00am Mon. Centering Prayer/Meditation: 6:30pm Mon. Overeaters Anonymous: 7:00pm Wed. Bible Study & Eucharist: 7:00pm Wed. Alcoholic Anonymous: 7:00pm E: Congregational Church of Christian Fellowship 2085 S. Hobart Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90018 Phone: (323) 731-8869 • F: (323) 731-0851 Pastor James K. McKnight Sun. Early Worship: 8:00am Prayer Meeting: 10:30am Morning Worship: 11:00am Wed. Afternoon Bible Study: 1:00pm Wed. Prayer Meeting: 6:00pm Wed. Evening Bible Study: 7:00pm View Pastor McKnight’s Sermons on YouTube Crenshaw Christian Center 7901 South Vermont, Los Angeles, CA 90044 (323) 758-3777 • F: (323)565-4231 • Apostle Frederick K.C. Price, Founder Sunday Service: 9:45am Bible Study (Tue): 11:00am & 7:00pm Tue. Night Children’s Ministry: 7:00pm Tue. Night Bible Study (Teens): 7:00pm Alcohol & Drug Abuse Program (Wed): 7:00pm

First AME Church (FAME) 2270 South Harvard Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90018 (323) 735-1251 • F: (323) 735-3353 • Pastor J. Edgar Boyd, Senior Pastor/CEO Sunday School: 10:00am Worship: 8:00am, 10:00am, Noon Teen Church (2nd Sundays):Noon,Allen House Wed. Prayer Service: Noon Wed. Bible Study: 7:00pm Radio: 10:30am on KJLH-102.3FM First AME is the oldest Black Church in the City Grant AME Church 10435 S. Central Avenue • Los Angeles, CA 90002 (323) 564-1151 • F: (323) 564-5027 Rev. Dr. J. Arthur Rumph, Senior Pastor Sunday School: 8am Worship: 9:30am Wed. Bible Study: 11:30am •6pm

Grace Temple Baptist Church 7017 South Gramercy Place, Los Angeles, CA 90047 (323) 971-8192 Bishop Miquail M. Broadous Sr., Senior Pastor Sunday School: 9am Morning Worship: 10:00am Wednesday Worship: 6:45pm E-Mail: Grace United Methodist Church 4112 West Slauson Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90043 (323) 294-6653 • F: (323) 294-8753 • Rev. Pastor Paul A. Hill • Early Morning Worship: 7:45am Sunday School: 9:45am Morning Worship: 10:45am Wed. Bible Study: Noon & 7:00pm Fri. Alcoholic Anonymous: 7:00pm Tues. Prayer Fellowship: 6:30pm Super Seniors (Thurs/Bi-Monthly): 10:30am Follow us on Facebook Greater Ebenezer Baptist Church 5300 S. Denker Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90062 (323) 759-4996 Rev. DeNon Porter Early Worship: 8am Sunday School: 9:30am Mid-Morning Worship: 11am Radio-KALI 900AM: Sun. 11-Noon, 7-8pm KTYM 1460AM Sundays: 5:30pm Bible Study (Tues, Wed & Thurs): 7pm

Holman United Methodist Church 3320 W. Adams Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90018 (323) 731-7285 • F: (323) 731-2609 • Rev. Kelvin Sauls Sunday School: 9:30am(Youth) & 9:45(Adult) Sunday Worship: 8am and 11am Morning Worship: 11:00am Bible Study (Thurs.): Noon Sun. Radio: KJLH 102.3FM: 11:00am Praise and Worship: 2nd Wed’s 6:30pm-8:00pm Jazz for the Soul: 4th Wed’s 6:30pm-8:00pm Gather, Grow, Go and Live The Gospel Jesus Christ

Liberty Baptist Church 1500 West 51st Place, Los Angeles, CA 90062 (323) 295-3866 • F: (323) 295-0366 • E: Rev. Terry Lovell Brown Sr. Sunday Church School: 9:00am Morning Worship: 10:30am & 12:30pm Wed. Bible Study: noon & 6:30pm Prayer Meeting: 6:00pm Follow us on Twitter @dacrossculture Mt. Moriah Baptist Church of LA, Inc. 4269 S. Figueroa St. Los Angeles, CA 90037 (323) 846-1950 Rev. Melvin V. Wade, Sr. Sunday School: 8:15am Morning Worship: 9:45am Evening Worship: 6:30pm Mid-Week Worship (Wed): 7:00pm Bible Study (Wed.): 8:00pm

Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church of Los Angeles 3669 W. 54th St. Los Angeles, CA 90043 • (323) 291-1121

F: (323) 291-1133 • • Pastor George E. Hurtt, Pastor-Teacher Sunday Worship: 8:00am, 11:00am Discipleship Hour (Sun): 9:37am Noonday Prayer (Mon): Noon Noonday Bible Study (Tue): 12:00pm Tuesday Night in the Truth: Email: • Our Goal: To win more Christians & develop better Christians to the glory of God. (Matt. 28:18-20) Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church 1300 E. 50th Street Los Angeles, CA 90011 (323) 235-2103 • F: (323) 235-3177 • Dr. Edward V. Hill, II, Pastor Sunday Intercessory Prayer: 9:15am Morning Worship: 9:30am Children’s Church: 9:30am Sunday School: 11:30am Baptism: 2nd Sun. & Lord’s Supper: 1st. Sun. Tues. Pastor’s Bible Study: 6:30pm Wed. Noon-day Prayer: Noon

New Antioch Church of God in Christ 7826 So. Vermont Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90044 (323) 778-7965 Elder Jeffrey M. Lewis Sunday Early Morning Worship: 8:00am Sunday School: 9:30 am Morning Worship: 11:00am Tuesday Prayer and Bible Band: 11:00am Wednesday Bible Study: 7:30pm Wednesday in the Word: 7:30pm

New Mt. Calvary Baptist Church 402 E. El Segundo Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90061 (310)324-0644 • F: (310) 769-1287 Rev. Sonja Dawson, Senior Pastor • Rev. Lonnie Dawson, Sr., Founder (1962 - 2010) Morning Worship: 7:30am & 10:45am Sunday School: 9:45am Wed. Prayer/Bible Study: Noon Pastor’s Bible Study: 7:00pm

People’s Independent Church of Christ 5856 West Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90043 • (323) 296-5776 Sundays: Morning Worship: 8:00am & 11:00am Wednesday Bible Study & Mid Week Worship: Noon & 7:00pm Prayer Meeting: 6:30pm

St. Matthew Tabernacle of Praise “The S.T.O.P.” 1740 West 59th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90047 Mailing Address: P.O. Box 56608, Los Angeles, CA 90056 (323) 291-1115 • F: (323) 293-0471 Rev. C.Barry Greene, Pastor Sunday Worship Service: 8:00am PrayerLine: (Tuesday & Wednesday): 6:00am WordLine (Tuesday): 7:00pm ( (712) 775-7031 Access Code: 814352108) E:

Pleasant Hill Baptist Church 2009 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90062 (323) 293-6448 • F: (323) 293-6605 Dr. Sylvester Washington Sunday School: 8:00am Morning Worship: 10:00am Tues. Bible Study: 11:00am Wed. Evangelism Class: 6:30pm First Sun. Holy Communion Service: 4:00pm

Southern Saint Paul Church 4678 West Adams Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90016 (323) 731-2703 • Rev. Xavier L. Thompson, Senior Pastor/Teacher L.I.F.E. Groups Sundays: 9:30am Morning Worship Service: 11:00am Baptism & Communion (First Sunday): 4:00pm Weekly Bible Enrichment Tuesdays: 7:00pm North Campus: 9:00am Wednesday Bible Enrichment: 7:00pm 11137 Herrick Av • Pacoima 91331 (818) 899-8031 • “Loving People Making Disciples”

Thompson Accepts Pastorate of Calvary Baptist Church of Pacoima; Now Pastors Three Churches Xavier L. Thompson, president of the Baptist Ministers Conference of Southern California and senior pastor of Southern St. Paul Baptist Church —a merger of Southern Missionary Baptist Church and St. Paul Baptist Church in Pacoima—has been appointed pastor of Calvary Baptist Church of Pacoima. The move marks the third pastorate for Thompson, who was voted in at a special meeting held December 19. Thompson had been serving as an interim pastor of the 62-year old church since the sudden passing of Bishop Miquail Broadous last March. Broadous, who’d been installed only a few months earlier proceeded his father, the Rev. William T. Broadous, who passed in May of 2016. “It has been a very difficult time for the church, which has experienced the loss of two pastors within a ten month period,” Thompson said. “It’s difficult enough to deal with the passing of one pastor let alone two pastors in not even a calendar year. In addition to that, you’re dealing with the death of a father and a son—of Apostle William I. Broadus, Sr. and his son, Bishop Miquail Broadus. So there’s an array of emotions and that church has been pastored by three generations of Broadus’ and know nothing other than a Broadous.” Thompson said he embraced the post as an Apostolic assignment. “It has become abundantly clear that it’s not that I had sought this inasmuch as it has sought me. None of this did I covet, lust after or pursue and I recognize there is no precedent for it, however I fully embrace the call as an apostolic assignment of God taking the anointing of my life beyond just one church. That God has

ordered my steps.” In a sense, Thompson—who started his pastoral journey at the age of 20 in Pacoima as senior pastor of St. Paul Baptist Church of Pacoima—has come full circle to the appointment of the church that is one of the strongest (and leading) black churches in the Northeast San Fernando Valley, with a longstanding reputation for its community activism and service. The L.A. native says its now a time of healing and restoration for the church of some 250 members that has experienced some fallout in the transition that has followed the loss of two pastors in a ten-month period. “The first priority for me is to bring about healing and stability to that church,” Thompson stressed. “Their spiritual and emotional equilibrium has been off. This is a time of getting our legs back up under us.” Thompson developed his early passion for everything church-related by emulating his grandfather, the Rev. Joe Lee Mitchell, who at one time served as the assistant pastor at the Southern Missionary Baptist Church Baptized at the age of 4, Thompson always knew what his calling was. On June 4th, 1982, he was licensed to preach at the age of 7. Though he entered the pulpit at a young age, Thompson insists it was God, not his grandfather or anyone else, who led him to the ministry and plans on manning the pulpit of all three locations every Sunday with services at Southern commencing at 9am, followed by services at Calvary at 10:55am and then at St. Paul (now referred to as Southern St. Paul’s north campus) at 12:30pm.

“It has been a transition for Southern (our headquarter church). They have been asked to make the adjustment and for the most part, none has been lost,” Thompson reports. “It is uncharted waters for me as a pastor and calls for me to be more disciplined with my time, but a pastor pastoring multiple churches also is unprecedented in this jurisdiction, particularly in Southern California.”

One Church International 614 N. La Brea Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90036 (818) 763-4521 • Sr. Pastor Toure’ Roberts

Praises of Zion Baptist Church (“Praise City”) 8222 So. San Pedro Street, Los Angeles, CA 90003 (323) 750-1033 • F: (323) 750-5458 • Dr. J. Benjamin Hardwick, Sr. Pastor

Trinity Baptist Church 2040 West Jefferson Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90018 (323) 735-0044 • F: (323) 735-0219 Rev. Alvin Tunstill, Jr

Sunday Worship: 9:00am, 11:00am & 1:00pm Wednesday Midweek Service: 8pm—View live streaming

Paradise Baptist Church 5100 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90037 (323) 231-4366 Dr. Aaron Iverson Pastor’s Bible Class & Sunday School: 8am Morning Worship: 9:30am Tues. Prayer: 7:00pm Tues. Bible Study: 8:00pm

Morning Worship: 8:00am & 11:00am Bible Study Wednesday: Noon & 7:00pm Communion: 1st Sunday at 8:00am & 11:00am

Price Chapel AME Church 4000 W. Slauson Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90043 (323) 296-2406 • Rev. Benjamin Hollins Sunday Worship Service: 10:00am Sunday School: 8:30am Power Lunch Bible Study (Wed): 11:00am Praise & Worship Bible Study (Wed): 6:30pm

St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church 5017 S. Compton Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90011 (323) 231-1040 • Rev. Dr. Lovely Haynes Sunday Morning Worship: 8:00am & 11:00am Sunday School: 9:30am Mon-Wed: Prayer Bible Study: 6:00 - 6:55 pm Mon. Night Bible Study: 7:00pm Tue Choir Rehersal Wednesday Prayer: Noon Wed. Exposition of Sunday School Lesson: 7pm Wed. Prayer Meeting: 7:00pm Thurs. Evangelism: 7:00pm (enrollment required)

Sunday Worship: 7:30 & 10:30am Sunday Church School: 9:00am Radio Broadcast KJLH FM: 9:00am Wed. Prayer & Bible Study: Noon-7:00pm

Calvary Baptist Church 4911 W. 59th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90056 (323) 298-1605• Rev. Dr. Virgil V. Jones Sunday Prayer: 8:30am Sunday School: 9:30am Sunday Worship:11:00am Bible Study Wednesday:12:00pm & 7:00pm

Weller Street Baptist Church 129 S. Gless St, Los Angeles, CA 90033 (323) 261-0949 • F: (323)264-6601 • Pastor K.W. Tulloss Sunday School: 8:00am Sunday Morning Worship: 9:00am Tues. Bible Study: 6:45pm “We have not walked this way before” Joshua 3:1-6

L.A. Focus/January 2018

Park Windsor Baptist Church 1842 W. 108th St. Los Angeles, CA 90047 (323) 756-3966 • Rev. Terrell Taylor

Early Morning Worship: 6:45am Educational Hour: 9:15am Mid-Morning Worship: 10:45am Wed. Bible Study: Noon & 7:00pm Sunday Morning Broadcast: 5:30am Live Streaming Sundays: 12:00pm


West Angeles Church of God In Christ 3045 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90016 (323) 733-8300 Bishop Charles E. Blake

Sunday School: 8:00am & 10:30am Early Worship: 8:00am Morning Worship: 11:00am Evening Worship (North Campus): 7:00pm Wed. Mid-Week Worship: 7:00pm Sun. Radio Broadcast KJLH 102.3FM: 10:00am

In Altadena

Lifeline Fellowship Christian Center 2556 N. Lake Ave., Altadena, CA 91001 (626) 797-3585 • F: (626) 797-3233 • Pastor Charles D. Dorsey Sunday School: 9:00am Early Worship (Glory Prayer): 8:00am Morning Worship: 10:30am Evening Worship (1st & 2nd Sun.): 5:00pm Wed. Bible Study: 7:00pm Peace Apostolic Church 21224 Figueroa Street, Carson, CA 90745 (310) 212-5673 Suff. Bishop Howard A. Swancy

In Carson

Sunday School: 10:00am Morning Worship: 11:45am Evening Worship: 6:30pm Wed. Noon Day Bible Class: 12:30pm Wed. Bible Class: 7:30pm

Citizens of Zion Missionary Baptist Church In Compton 12930 No. Lime Ave., Compton, CA 90221 (310) 638-0536 • F: (323) 636-2080 • Rev. Bobby Newman, Jr., Senior Pastor; Rev. B.T. Newman, Pastor (Pastor Emeritus) Sunday School: 9:00am Morning Service: 10:45am Wed. Mid-Week Bible Study: 7:00pm

Greater Zion Church Family 2408 North Wilmington Avenue, Compton, CA 90222 (310) 639-5535 • E: Reverend Michael J. Fisher & Dr. W. Jerome Fisher, Pastor Emeritus

The City of Refuge 14527 S. San Pedro Street, Gardena, CA 90248 (310) 516-1433 Bishop Noel Jones

In Gardena

Morning Worship: 8:00am & 11:00am Evening Worship: 6:00pm Bible Study (Wed): Noon & 7:00pm BET/Fresh Oil (Wed): 7:00am

The Liberty Church 14725 S. Gramercy Place, Gardena, CA 90249 (310) 715-8400 Pastor David W. Cross

Sunday Morning Worship: 9:00am, 11:00am & 5:00pm Wed. Bible Studies: Noon-7:00pm

Early Worship: 8:30am Morning Worship: 9am & 11am Children’s Church: Both Services Word Power Wed.: 7-8pm

Love and Unity Christian Fellowship 1840 S. Wilmington Ave, P.O. Box 5449, Compton 90220 (310) 604-5900 Fax: (310) 604-5915 Dr. Ron C Hill Sunday Morning Worship: 8:00am & 11:30am Sunday Evening Worship: 6:30pm Bible Studies: Wed. 7:30pm & Sat. 9am Food for Your Soul Radio & Television Ministry: beblessedwebradio: Mon - Fri. 6:30am Church Channel: Tues. 5:30pm & Fri. 2:30pm

Atherton Baptist Church 2627 W. 116th Street Hawthorne,CA 90250 (323) 757-3113 • F: 323-757-8772 • Pastor Larry Weaver

In Hawthorne

Sunday Morning Worship: 8:00am & 11:00 am Sunday Bible Enrichment Class: 9:45am Mon.-Thurs. Bible Study: 7:00pm Wednesday Bible Study: 12:30pm & 7:00pm

Pastor Profile: E.L. Williams Church: New Prospect Baptist Church How Many Years At Church: 10 years Home Town: Los Angeles Family: Married to wife, Evonne 28 years, three grown daughters Where did you get your love for church? I got the love for church as a little boy. I got baptized out of the Faithful Central Baptist Church in 1963 under the late Dr. Willy L. Robinson. I’ve always watched preachers. I love music and I’m a singer. I loved being around my dad who was a preacher and I’ve always been privileged to watch and observe. How did you come to receive the call to preach? I knew that I had a calling on my life all my life but I just ran from it. Went to high school, at Crenshaw High (class of ’73), went on to LA College and ended up with a football career. I wanted to be a nightclub owner but I always was involved in the church. I ran from it until I was in my mid 20s because I saw the a w e s o m e responsibilities that come with it, I saw some of the problems that m y father a n d other

preachers had to face sometimes with contrary members, sometimes with misunderstanding and especially when it came to doing without but it never did go away. What made you stop running? A point in my life where I tried going the world’s way. I’d been a former dope seller—never was a dope user, but it was a way to make lots of money. I would give elaborate parties and this particular weekend I was just moved by God to get in my car and drive. When I got in my car, I drove all the way out to San Pedro and the Lord spoke to my heart and said to me, ‘If you want to live; if you want to continue to breathe and grow, you need to make a choice. You’re either going to live for me or you are going to die early.’ I said, ‘Lord, whatever it is that you want me to do, I’ll do.’ The next thing I know, I found myself at my pastor’s home knocking at his door at 12:16 a.m. on a Friday night and his wife came to the door asking who is this and I said ‘Edward.’ She said, ‘Edward?’ And I said, ‘Yes, I’d like to talk to pastor,’ and she said, ‘James?’ And he said ‘open the door’ and asked ‘what’s the matter?’ I said ‘pastor, I’ve been called to preach, and he said ‘what took you so long?’ I thought he was going to tell me to go pray and he said, ‘what took you so long?’ When I woke up that morning, I had two keys of marijuana that needed to be sold and I called my distributor who lived in Palos Verdes at the time and said ‘listen, man, you need to pick up this weed.’ He said, ‘What’s going on?’ I said, ‘I can’t do it no more. I got called to the ministry.’ Then I told him he had two hours to come get it or I would flush it and then I’m going to have to deal with you, but I’m getting it out of my house and out of my life. That same fellow who I had been buying weed from and distributing weed when I told him my story, became a pastor and he pastors a church in Jamaica Queens. What is your goal as pastor of New Prospect? To be obedient to God. What is it that you want to get across to your members? To be obedient to God. How do you do that and how effective have you been? Well, there’s only one way and that is to teach the word of God, the infallible

truth, without error. I also give leadership to the Broadway Coalition. I’m part of the Mayor support team, Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson’s support team. I’m the preacher's friend, I’m the church van driver if need be. I just do my work—whatever it takes. When you think about what the city of Los Angeles needs, what unique gifts do you bring to the mix? I would say the need for brotherhood—the need for us to understand that it makes no difference whether we are ants or elephants, without God giving us breath we can’t exist. You can’t overlook ants because ants can crawl up in the elephant’s nose and attack him and kill him. At the same time, ants are definitely afraid of elephants because of their mere weight, and sometimes what we allow is our ministry to be compromised because of what we think the other fellow is achieving. Just do your work and be obedient to get around that. Don’t put your eyes on men, put your eyes on God. How do you want churches to be viewed in Los Angeles? I want churches to be viewed as havens, places of rescue Do you think the church has all the resources it needs to do the work? I cannot say because every individual church has a different need. There are needs that need to be met in Baldwin Hills that necessarily are not the needs that need to be met in south central LA. I have the resources that God provided and at some point, He lets you see a need and then you go to work on that need and once that need is supplied, God moves on to the next need. What do you see is the most critical need in your community right now and how are you addressing it? For people to understand that they are not misfits, but to be taught how to fit in. My real prayer is that I will be able to leave this community that I serve with one thing and that is surely this one man was trying to follow the God who saved him. What is your philosophy of life? You have to live life with appreciation. You have to laugh at life with an air of lightness and you must love live, because God grants it day by day.

Victory Institutional Baptist Church 4712 West El Segundo Blvd., Hawthorne, CA 90250 (310) 263-7073 • Pastor Richard Williams, III Sunday Morning Worship: 9:00am Sunday Evening Worship: 6:00pm Wed. Mid-Week Worship: 7:00pm Bible Study Tuesday: Noon & 7:00pm

In Inglewood Bible Enrichment Fellowship International 400 E. Kelso, Inglewood, CA 90301 (310) 330-4700 • Dr. Beverly “BAM” Crawford Morning Worship: 9:30am Tues. Bible Study: 7:30pm Wed. Mid-Week Prayer: 5am, Noon & 7:00pm Wednesday Pathway: 7:00pm Thurs Bible Study: 10:00am Sat Marriage & Family Prayer: 7:30am

Blessed Family Covenant Church 325 North Hillcrest Blvd, Inglewood, CA, 90301 (310)-674-0303 • F: (310)-674-0303 •

First Lady Files

True Friendship Missionary Baptist Church 7901 South Van Ness Ave. Inglewood, CA 90305 (323) 750-7304 Rev. James A. Perkins

Caroline Barnett

Sunday School: 9:30am Early Worship: 8am Morning Worship: 10:45am Bible Adventure Hour (Tues): 6pm Bible Study (Tues): 7pm Bible Study (Thurs): Noon

Christ Our Redeemer AME Church In Irvine 45 Tesla, Irvine, CA 92618 (949) 955-0014 • F:(949) 955-0021 • Pastor Mark E. Whitlock, II Sunday Worship: 8:00am, 10:30am New Generation Praise Service: 10:30am Sun. Bible Univ.: 9:30am Tues. Interactive Bible Study: 7:00pm Wed. Pastor's Bible Study: Noon, 7:00pm Thurs. Bible Study: 7:00pm Fri. Singles Bible Study (1st Fri): 7:00pm Antioch Church of Long Beach 1535 Gundry Ave. Long Beach, CA 90813 (562) 591-8778 • F: (562) 599-6048 Pastor Wayne Chaney Jr.

In Long Beach

Rev. Wendy Howlett Sunday School: 8:30am Morning Worship: 9:30am Wed. Prayer & Bible Study: 7:00pm

Crusade Christian Faith Center 801 S. La Brea Avenue, Inglewood, CA 90301 (310) 330-8535 Bishop Virgil D. Patterson Sr. Wed. Mid-Week Service: 7:00pm Sunday School: 9:00am Sunday Worship: 10:30am

Faithful Central Bible Church 321 N. Eucalyptus Ave. Inglewood, CA 90301 (310) 330-8000 • F: (310) 330-8035 Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer, Ph.D. Senior Pastor/Teacher Services at The Tabernacle: Sunday Services: 7:00am, 9:30am & 11:45am Wed. Mid-Week Service: 7:00pm The Tabernacle is located at 321 N. Eucalyptus Ave., Inglewood First Church of God Center of Hope 9550 Crenshaw Blvd., Inglewood, CA 90305 (323) 757-1804 Pastor Geremy L. Dixon Morning Worship: 8:00am & 11:00am Wed. Mid-Week Service: Noon Wed. Teaching Ministry: 7:00pm 1st Sunday Communion 5th Sunday Baptism

Jacob’s Ladder Community Fellowship, inc. 1152 E. Hyde Park Blvd., Inglewood, CA 90303 (866) 330-1702 • F: (310) 674-0760 Watchman/Shepherd Dr. Robert T. Douglas Sr. Sunday School: 10:00am Morning Services: 11:45am Evening Service: 7:00pm Wed. Lock & Load Prayer: 7:00pm Wed. Bible Study: 7:30pm 3rd Friday Youth Night: 7:30pm KYTYM 1460AM (Sunday): 11:30am New Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church 434 S. Grevillea, Inglewood CA 90301 (310) 673-6250 Office • (310) 673-2153 Rev. Dr. Phillip A. Lewis, D. D., D. Th., Senior Pastor Sunday School: 9:30am Early Worship: 8:00am Morning Worship: 11:00am First Sunday Evening Worship: 5:00pm Mid-Week Bible Study Wed.: 7:00pm Radio: KTYM 1460 AM Saturdays at 8:00pm & Mondays at 7:00pm

Worship Services: 8am, 9:30am, 11:30am Tuesday Youth Bible Study: 7:00pm WednesdayBible Study: Noon

Christ Second Baptist Church 1471 Martin Luther King, Jr., Ave. Long Beach, CA 90813 (562) 599-3421 • Fax: (562) 599-6175 • Rev. Welton Pleasant II, Senior Pastor Sunday School: 8:30am Sunday Worship Service: 9:40am Wed. Bible Study: 7:00pm Wed Youth & Young Adult Ministry: 7:00pm

Family of Faith Christian Center 345 E. Carson Street, Long Beach, CA 90807 (562) 595-1222 • F: (562) 595-1444 Pastor: Sherman A. Gordon, E.D. Min Sunday School: 9:00 AM Early Worship: 7:30 AM Morning Worship: 10:00 Am Bible Study: Every Wednesday 12 (Noon) & 7:00 PM Radio: 7:00 PM (1st & 3rd Sunday) Station: KJLH

L.A. Dream Center As the co-founder of the L.A. Dream Center, alongside her husband Matthew Barnett, Caroline Barnett knows first-hand what it takes to be a leading lady for Christ. “When you're called you can't imagine doing anything else.” Born in Sweden, her parents came to America for a better life. “My parents American dream was a lot harder than they thought when they moved here so I grew up in Hawthorne and was the only blonde girl in my school. I grew up really rough but my parents really loved Jesus.” Then at the age of seventeen Barnett had a spiritual awakening after she strayed away from God in her junior and senior year of high school. This ultimately lead her to the Dream Center. “I was still in high school, seventeen years old with braces and the moment I stepped on campus, I thought this is it! This is what I am going to do with the rest of my life.” Over the next three years Caroline worked in every department of The Dream Center and started a successful Food Truck Ministry where food was given out on a daily basis (it has grown to now feeding over 50,000 people each month). Years later after working side by side with Pastor Matthew, the two were married after dating just six months. Since then Caroline has been responsible for programs such as Project Prevention, which is designed to keep children with their parents rather than allowing the state to separate them. In conjunction with that a Women’s Ministry was birthed because God told Barnett that the women of the church were to be the army behind the program. She feels that it is a God-given mandate to inspire the women of her church to find their God-given passion to change this world. When asked about balancing life and ministry Barnett says, “It's one of those things that constantly needs adjustment. You are never perfectly balanced. I take it in seasons. I wrote a book called Willing To Walk On Water and I talk about how God is looking for a willingness and our level of willingness looks different in every season.”

Second Baptist Church In Monrovia 925 S. Shamrock Avenue • P.O. Box 479, Monrovia, CA 91017 •(626) 358-2136 • F: (626) 303-2477 Bishop W.M. Larue Dillard, Phd. Sunday Worship: 7:45am, 10:45am, 4:45pm Ministry Worship to Children/Youth Sunday: 9:45am - 10:45am Prayer/Academy of Biblical Studies (Wed): 10:45am - 6:45pm

Gospel Memorial Church of God In Christ 1480 Atlantic Ave. Long Beach, CA 90813 (562) 599-7389 • F: 562-599-5779 • Bishop Joe L. Ealy Sunday School: 9:30am Sunday Worship: 11:00am Evening Worship: 6:30pm Wed. Intercessory Prayer: 7:00pm Wed. Pastoral teaching adults: 7:30pm Wed. Youth Ministry Boot-Camp; Youth Bible Study: 7:00pm & Choir Rehearsal: 7:30pm

First AME Santa Monica In 1823 Michigan Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90404 (310) 450-0331 F: (310) 450-4680 Facebook: First AME Church Santa Monica Rev. Rueben W. Ford, Pastor

Grant AME Church of Long Beach 1129 Alamitos Ave. Long Beach, CA 90813 • (562) 437-1567 • Rev. Michael W. Eagle, Sr.

Arise Christian Center In Westchester 6949 La Tijera Blvd. Suite C, Westchester, CA 90045 (310)568-8445•F: (310) 568-8430 • Pastor Ron Taylor

Sun. Worship Experience: 10:45am 3rd Sun. Healing & Annointing: 10:45am Wed. Bible Study: Noon & 6pm Mothers of Murdered Youth & Children Were all receive a little attention, affection and love. New Philadelphia A.M.E. Church 6380 S. Orange Avenue, Long Beach, Ca 90805 (562)422-9300•F: (562) 422-9400 Pastor Darryl E. Walker, Senior Pastor Worship: 9:00am —1st & 5th Sunday Sunday School/New Member Classes: 8:00am Live Streaming on NuPhilly AppNuPhilly website: 9:00am 2nd thru 4th Sunday Worship:7:30 am &10:00am•Sunday School New Member Classes: 9:00am Live Streaming on the NuPhilly App/website: 7:30am Pastor’s Bible Study: Wednesday Eve 7:00pm Mid-Week Bible Study: Thursday 12:00 noon

Santa Monica

Sunday School: 9:30am Sunday Worship: 11:00am Bible Study/Prayer Meditation: Thursday 6pm “The Church In The Heart Of The Community with The Community at Heart”

Morning Worship: 9:00am & 11:15am Bible Study Wednesday: 7:00pm Intercessory Prayer Tuesday : 7:00pm Intercessory Prayer Sunday: 8am - 8:45am Intercessory Prayer Thursday: 11:30pm - 12:30pm Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church 980 Rio Grande Street, Pasadena, CA 91104 *Mailing Address: 1416 N. Mentor Ave. Pasadena, 91104 (626) 794-4875 • F: (626) 794-7815 Pastor W. Harrison Trotter Sunday School: 8:30am Sunday Worship: 10:00am Bible Study Wednesday: 7:00pm Intercessory Prayer (Fourth Wed.): 7:00pm Christians Uniting To Make A Difference -Eph. 4:13

From the Pulpit: West Angeles Church of God in Christ “Lord, I will follow You, but......."; Luke 9:61


Bishop IV Hilliard & Pastor Bridget Hilliard to Pass The Baton To Daughter, Dr. Irishea Hilliard


becomes the first female senior pastor of a megachurch in Houston. For the last few years, Dr. Irishea has been the on-site pastor at New Light Church West location and will continue to uphold the dynamic precedent set by Bishop Hilliard. She eases into the role and will seamlessly transition into the Senior Pastor position offering a bold new direction for the ministry, officially taking over the reins December 31. Her official installation service, however, is being set for February 23, 2018.

L.A. Focus/January 2018

uke 9:61 says, “And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but…” But is one of those words that by its nature signifies a point of interruption, or a change of direction. "I was on my way to the store, but the phone rang." "I planned on going to church this morning, but I remembered it was the final round of the playoffs.” novel series. Anytime I'm in a conversation with someone and Seaton just released his latest they're telling me something good or giving me a compliinstallment of the Mantamaji saga ment then all of a sudden, they say 'but', I know that I'm Bishop IV Hilliard has announced that’s just as action-packed, just as about to hear something I might not want to hear. that he will elevate his daughter, Dr. Critically acclaimed Graphic Novelist magical and even more dangerous. "We've been married for 20 years. We have some beauIrishea Hilliard to Senior Pastor, and Eric Dean Seaton Returns With His Two months ago, Elijah Alexander tiful children. We've built a beautiful life together and I'll President of the 20,000 member Latest Installment was a cocky Assistant District always love you, but …" strong New Light Church World Two-time NAACP Image AwardIn fact, whatever someone said before slips into nothOutreach and Worship Centers nominated episodic director, Eric Attorney who wanted everything his ingness as soon the word "but" shows up. It comes to the Church Division in Houston, as he Dean Seaton has directed numerous poor upbringing couldn’t give him. point that whatever compliment or good thing that was moves into a larger effort to continue episodes of hit shows such as “Life in When he learned he was descended being said feels like only a diversion, a disarming tactic and expand New Light’s global evan- Pieces,” “Dr. Ken,” “Fuller House,” from an ancient race of heroes, Elijah that sets you up for the unpleasant nature of what was gelical outreach. “Marlon” and “Stuck in the Middle” became the last Mantamaji and used their true thought or whatever came after the 'but'. Named by the Houston Chronicle to name a few, as well as multiple his mystical ankh and powers of illuIt is a tragic situation, the promise of so many things, as one of the Houston’s Top music videos and TV pilots for sion to defeat the evil sorcerer so much potential that could have been reached in life but Churches, New Light Church has Nickelodeon and Disney Channel, Sirach. But now that this enemy is something went wrong, but something happened that multiple locations throughout the including the “Raven’s Home” pilot. gone, a new enemy, In Legend of the destroyed that bright future. area and is one of the most prolific Seaton is also the creator, writer and Mantamaji: Bloodlines, nothing is There’s the young man who got A’s all his young life. and influential ministries in the publisher of the critically-acclaimed safe… not even history. For more information, visit legHe went on to college and graduated at the top of his class country. With the move, Dr. Irishea “Legend of the Mantamaji” graphic in business school. He showed such promise on his path to becoming CEO, but he couldn't keep his hands off of his secSt. Stephen Missionary Baptist Church California Worship Center In North Hollywood In La Puente retary and other female employees. That talented young 1720 N. Walnut Avenue, La Puente, CA 91744 13000 Hart Street, North Hollywood, CA singer at the start of her career who seemed to make the (626) 918-3225 • F: (626) 918-3265 91103 heavens open up every time she sang BUT she overdosed Pastor Tony Dockery (818) 716-1173 • F: (626) 794-6592 and died just as she was about to release her first album. Pastor Warren S. Campbell II Sunday School: 9:30 AM First Lady Erica Campbell 'But', such a small and in many cases, tragic word. "Lord I Early Worship: 8:00 AM will follow you, but…" Morning Worship: 11:00 AM Prayer Service: 10:00am At this point in the text in Luke 9, the ministry of Spanish Service: 9:30AM Sunday Worship: 11:00am (or live online) Jesus is in full swing. He had already given his mission Bible Study: Every Wednesday 7:00 PM Email: statement in Luke 4:18-19 saying, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenheartUpLift Christian Fellowship In Pasadena Bethlehem Church 4745 W. Slauson Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90056 ed, To proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight 1550 North Fair Oaks Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91103 (310) 927-3476 • to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To (626) 794-5211 • F: (626) 794-6592 Pastor Anthony Thompson proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” He has been Pastor Christopher A. Bourne teaching and preaching in all of the synagogues in and Sunday Worship: 10:00am Sunday School: 9:00am around the regions of Galilee, Capernaum, and Judea. Bible Study Wednesday: 7:00pm Sunday Worship: 10:00am Everywhere he went Luke says that reports about him Tuesday Bible Study: 7:00pm spread throughout the entire region. Everyone had either Mid-day Worship Thursday: Noon heard of or was talking about this man. One day when He was traveling from one village, again there was a huge crowd around Jesus and someone said, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said done something in their lives that we'd still be talking bear some kind of responsibility to? Think about it, on one to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, about. They could have been great....but! hand we are told to honor our mother and father, yet in but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Then He Some of us may come to church just to get our minds this account, leaving them to follow Christ is encouraged. said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first off what's going on at the job or at the house for a moment. Almost everyone that is saved has someone in their famigo and bury my father.” We may be hurt or depressed and just need a pick-me-up ly who doesn't agree with their decision to be a Christian. Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, for. Sometimes we come to church just to see what's going Following Jesus may not mean literally abandoning but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” And another to happen that day, who’s going to be singing, or who’s your family, but it may mean abandoning the way that also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid going to be at service. Church to some has become a form they taught you to think and live if it doesn't line up with them farewell who are at my house.” But Jesus said to him, of entertainment. We approach it with the same attitude the Word of God. We sometimes forget that the bulk of “No one, having put his hand to the plow and looking back, as going to a movie or a ball game. We come to church and those who heard Jesus speak agreed with the Pharisees is fit for the kingdom of God.” worship, but we don't really that our lives could actually and the Sanhedrin and following Christ would have put These men along with almost everyone else in the be transformed. someone in direct conflict with their fathers, mothers, crowd heard Jesus of Nazareth was in the area and probaAll of a sudden Christ Jesus looks at us right square brothers, sisters, and wives who did not believe Jesus or bly just wanted to hear something that would give them a in our eyes and our hearts and says: "Follow me" and we what he was saying. boost and get their mind off of things. No doubt that they, say: "Yes Lord, I would follow you but....I start this new job It seemed like Jesus didn't care that these men were along with the entire region, had heard how tomorrow." "I would follow you, but I need to make some going through what they were going through. One wantJesus had healed the sick and raised the money to pay these bills." "I would follow you, but I need ed the security of a home. Another wanted to bury his dead; spoke to the storm and it obeyed a husband." father. The third had a divided heart and put his family him and commanded devils and spirits. One of the men that Jesus told to follow him wanted ahead of Jesus. But Jesus wanted to emphasize the radiMaybe people just wanted to hear an to go home and bury his father. If we try to, we can see him cal requirements involved in following him. inspirational word that would pep them feeling the pain of his loss—afraid of the future and the If we are honest with ourselves we would have to realup and send them on their way. unknown and feeling the stress of taking care of his fami- ize that there will never be a right time to follow Jesus in Perhaps they wanted a free meal. But ly. the future. There will always be an excuse and some of before they knew it they were The Jews were very particular about this sort of thing. them are not really bad. My favorite is "I will follow you getting more than they There were many preparations to be made. but I need to get my life together first." bargained for when If you really look at these men’s excuses you'll Let me tell you that you won't get your life together Jesus said: "Follow see that these by themselves are not bad unless you follow Christ. The right time to follow Jesus is me". things. Most of the time our reasons for right now. The Messiah knew that there would always be It must have been a not really doing what God may call us to a reason ['but'] that would keep them from following Him, terrifying and overdo seem like good valid reasons don't they? but the call to follow is still made by our Lord and Savior. whelming experience. Isn't it a good son that would pay proper By following Christ, you'll save everything that you were "Follow me", they respect to his dearly departed father? Isn't afraid to lose. Don't let the things of this world, the 'buts' could have been men it a good father or good host that wouldn't keep you from having your best life and future. Make the whose names we abandon his guest order family without at decision to follow Christ today. remember and celeleast saying goodbye? Romans 5:8 says but God demonstrates His own love brate to this day. This begs the question: Does God wish that towards us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died Pastorour Charles E. Blake God could have Charles Blake Jr. we abandon families and II those that we for us. Make the decision to follow Christ today.


InGoodTaste Gina Taylor – Pickens and her husband, Jim Pickens (Dr. Richard Weber from Grey’s Anatomy).

Gina TaylorPickens

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Maxine Waters continued from page 6

David A. Love continued from page 7

counting on catching voters off guard who believe that I am in a safe seat.” Navarro, who is making his second attempt to unseat Waters—now in her 14th term— was reportedly on probation until March for a criminal conviction stemming from his use of an electronic tracking device he attached to his wife’s car, according to the Daily Breeze.

to do the bidding of private interests and lobbyists rather than serve the public, according to a Harvard Business School study. The political industrial complex is why the country cannot solve its most pressing problems. Big banks get a bailout, but Black America doesn’t get reparations. Handguns seem more accessible than a quality education, safe drinking water or a nutritious meal. People are denied the right to vote 50 years after the Civil Rights Movement. And there’s no peace in the Middle East. Why? Because somebody paid for that, and they have receipts. Meanwhile, now that the Republicans have their tax cuts, guess what’s next. They’re coming for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. These morally-inept criminals have no shame, and it is time to make them pay—in the streets and in the ballot box–lest we get pimped again.

New Laws continued from page 6

upon the value of the car) to help pay for highway repairs. Disabled Person Parking Placards and Plates: Changes have been made to the administration of the Disabled Person Parking Placard and Disabled Person License Plate Program, including requiring applicants to provide proof of true full name and birthdate. The law also will limit the number of replacement disabled person parking placards an applicant can request without obtaining a medical certification to four in two years. Criminal Justice: No juvenile offenders can be sentenced to life without parole and those already in prison will become eligible for release after 25 years. Immigration: Pushing back on new Trump policies, California has placed limits on how much local law enforcement officials can help federal immigration authorities. Ammunition Sales: Starting January 1, all ammunition purchases in California must be made in person through a vendor licensed by the Department of Justice. The law also applies to any transfers of ammunition. Gun owners will also be prohibited from importing ammunition from outside the state without it going through a licensed vendor in California first. Feminine Hygiene: New law AB10 requires public middle and high schools with a high percentage of low-income students to provide free feminine hygiene products in half of the school's bathrooms. Child Hunger Prevention And Fair Treatment Act: Effective January 1, the Child Hunger Prevention and Fair Treatment Act, will ensure that school officials do not delay or deny food or publicly shame students whose parents have unpaid school meal fees. The bill's author, Senator Robert Hertzberg, said: “We know that hunger undercuts a child’s ability to learn and succeed in school. We also know that embarrassing children in front of peers can destroy their self-confidence.”

taste Salt and pepper to ack Sauce: Mississippi Comeb o 1 pint may ili Sauce ½ cup of Heinz Ch tarragon d ¼ cup chives an d) pe (finely chop ed paprika 1 tablespoon smok powder ion 1 tablespoon on ed garlic lat nu gra 1 tablespoon e pepper a pinch of cayenn juice on 1 tablespoon lem te tas to er Salt and pepp

Fred Hammond continued from page 17

else. He is a legend in the game. I have legacy over here. We’re coming together and we’re saying, Jesus is the answer to what is going on in the world today. I’m not on any of his other stuff. He’s not on my stuff. We haven’t exchanged money. It ain’t a money thing. “God is using strange, unconventional methods to reach his people and I’m proud to be a part of it. He’s still Snoop. Whatever his private struggles are, it’s on him and you can feel it, but there are going to be literally millions of people who are going to hear this record and be pointed in the direction of God.” In the meantime, Hammond—who has been responsible for putting together some of gospel’s biggest concert tours— is working on his next gospel tour. “Three tours in gospel music a year is not great, but we [Hammond, Kirk Franklin and McDonald’s Inspiration Gospel Tour] do it because we still want people to experience God in Technicolor. Presentation is everything and when you come to a Fred Hammond concert or a Kirk Franklin concert, we want you to have the same experience as you would have at any of the other big-ticket concert. At the end of the day, it’s about what are we doing to effect people?”

Faye Washington

Dr. Cecil “Chip” Murray Karla Gordy Bristol

10th COUNCIL DISTRICT WOMEN’S STEERING COMMITTEE 43nd Annual Installation and Fundraiser Luncheon Tribute to our Founder 10th District Councilman David S Cunningham, Jr. Sunday, January 28,2018 1:30pm - 6pm USC Radisson Hotel 3540 S. Figueroa Street Los Angeles, CA 90007 Theme: “Embracing the Future” Women-Education-Diversity Invocation: Dr. Cecil L. “Chip” Murray, PhD. Keynote Speaker: Ms. Faye Washington, Mistress of Cermony: Karla Gordy Bristol, VIP Reception $150.00 General Admission $75.00 Entertainment and Dancing For more info, call Julie 323-309-7321, Gloria 323-203-8599 or Jackie 323-371-1071 Visit our website



L.A. Focus/January 2018

he lead actress in a hit television show and Broadway musical, Merle Dandridge began her journey to Hollywood from the Broadway stage. Not just another pretty face, the fortysomething actress paid her dues before landing the role of Grace “Gigi” Greenleaf in the Oprah Winfrey Network drama series Greenleaf, starring opposite the extraordinarily gifted and talented Lynn Whitfield (Lady Mae Greenleaf) and Keith David (Bishop James Greenleaf), who portray her parents. Winfrey’s selection of Dandridge for the Greenleaf role was unlike the process used to cast Keith David, Lynn Whitfield, and Deborah Joy Winans. Winfrey hand-picked David and Whitfield and had seen Winans in the early stages of a workshop performance of BeBe Winans’ musical, Born for This. Dandridge was an unknown to Winfrey and was introduced via an audition tape viewed on her iPad. “Never discount the pre-read or the taped audition because you never know where the tape will end up,” Dandridge advises, of her audition for the drama about a black church and the family that runs it. “I received the ten-page script and went in with the casting director. This is how I know that I am where I am supposed to be. A week later, I got an email while I was working on a different show and it said, ‘Oprah would like to meet you today, at 6 o’clock.’ Dandridge then met with Winfrey; Carla Gardini, the EVP of Harpo Films; and Craig Wright, the creator of the show. She says the creative team shared their intentions for the show, including the storylines they wanted to explore that would hopefully resonate with the audience and be used as vehicles to touch and heal viewers. In season two of Greenleaf, the writers and producers tackled the subject of pedophilia and child sexual abuse within the family and the church. Dandridge’s character Grace Greenleaf kills her uncle, Robert “Mac” McCready (portrayed by acclaimed actor Gregory Alan Williams), who was also a member of the church’s hierarchy. When Grace suspected that Uncle Mac had molested her daughter, Sophia Greenleaf (Desiree Ross), her confrontation with him resulted in his murder. Dandridge knows that the subject of child sexual abuse struck a chord with the show’s audience, creating conversations within the church and the larger AfricanAmerican community. “When the responses started coming back [from the first episode of the second season], or when people stop me on the street daily, multiple times a day, and share their testimonies, and what the show has done for them; I know this has started many of them on their journey to healing.” The episode raised numerous questions: In a contemporary church environment when ministry, counseling, and assistance are the pathways to redemption, how does the church effectively serve the churched and


Merle Dandridge under-churched in the community of the sick and wounded without the proper help? Without any known effective psychiatric treatment for the pedophile, is an intervention likely to work on its own? “We took this issue [pedophilia] very seriously,” says Dandridge of the show’s creative team. “We did our due diligence and our homework. I think what we are going to see with Grace, is the aftermath of that and the consequence of how she chose to deal with her pain. Did she make the right decisions? Could she have done it differently? And how it haunts her.” Dandridge was born in Okinawa, Japan, to a mother of Japanese and Korean descent, and an AfricanAmerican father who was in the Airforce Explosive Ordnance Disposal squad. The family moved from Japan to Korea and then Sacramento before being stationed at Offutt Air Force Base, in Bellevue, Nebraska, at the then-Strategic Air Command. Dandridge was raised in the suburbs of Omaha. For Dandridge, an interest in acting took root in high school, when one of her girlfriends from church suggested that she take a drama class to fulfill her elective requirement. ‘Oh, it’s an easy elective,’ her friend told her. The advice changed the course of her life. While in high school Dandridge attended the International Thespian Festival, a weeklong theater festival where high school theater programs and groups across the country gather and participate in a series of workshops taught by high school teachers, college professors, and theater professionals. Dandridge auditioned and received a full scholarship to the Theatre Conservatory at Roosevelt University, also known as the Chicago College of Performing Arts. It proved to be the launching pad to her career. Growing up with an athletic background, Dandridge understood the concept of discipline and what it takes to win. While attending this top conservatory, she immersed herself in the theater scene in Chicago, becoming inspired by its many local theater groups, including the Steppenwolf Theatre Company and the many actors who came out of that company. “I put my plow to the field, and put in the work,” says Dandridge. “I came out of that conservatory a completely different performer and person, and I had such a great skill set. All of a sudden, I had this craft that I had fallen in love with, the Chicago theater community embraced me, and I, in turn, fell in love with it, and put my whole self back into it.” After college, Dandridge packed up a U-Haul truck and headed to New York City with $100 in her pocket. A resident of New York for 13 years, she made her Broadway debut in Jesus Christ Superstar and went

on to star in Aida, and later appeared in Rent, Tarzan and Monty Python’s Spamalot. In between Broadway shows, she toured extensively throughout Europe and performed in U.S. national tours of Ain’t Misbehavin’, Smokey Joe’s Café, Aida, Spamalot, and Rent. Dandridge’s regional theater credits include a mix of

I received the ten-page script and went in with the casting director. This is how I know that I am where I am supposed to be. A week later, I got an email while I was working on a different show and it said, ‘Oprah would like to meet you today, at 6 o’clock.”

contemporary works, including two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage’s By The Way, Meet Vera Stark and Atlanta at the Geffen Playhouse, and Kiss Me Kate and Showtune: Celebrating the Words & Music of Jerry Herman at the Pasadena Playhouse, among others. Dandridge has also built an impressive list of television and voiceover credits; she’s the voice behind several videogame characters including Uncharted 4: A Thief ’s End, The Last of Us, and numerous others. Spiritually grounded, Dandridge is clear that her faith is the guiding force in her life. She knows that God has ordered her steps and that her life prepared her for this moment. She confesses that carrying the role of a leading lady was initially scary because of the visibility that comes with it, but she stepped into her confidence. “With a character like this [Grace Greenleaf], on a [cable] network with a great cast and a great team of producers and writers, led by a woman [Oprah Winfrey] who continues to raise the consciousness of our culture, I knew that we were going to do something special. Everything she [Oprah Winfrey] does is with such great intention and purpose,” she notes. Dandridge’s current role as Pape Ge in Once On The Island, a musical celebrating Caribbean culture—that premiered November 9 at the Circle In The Square Theatre—also reconnects her to her time as a young actress at the International Thespian Festival, where she first saw the show. “I feel that I am coming full circle,” she says.

Watts Up Community Development Corporation would like to acknowledge and thank its partner programs.

Canon Human Services Centers (323) 249-9097 office (323) 249-9131 fax Email: Canon Human Services provides intensive drug-free counseling services in group and individual capacity, 12 step meetings, mental health referrals, court liaison service, urinalysis testing, referrals and aftercare services both on an outpatient basis and in residential setting. Residential services are currently available only to male applicants, The outpatient program is open to both men and women.

National University Nurse Managed Clinic Caring board certified nurse practitioners and health professionals provide free primary care services to residents of Watts and surrounding communities, including disease management (Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Asthma), physical exams, vision/hearing testing, nutrition assessment, OB/GYN, HIV/STD testing and counseling, cold/flu treatments and fbehavioral health screening with social service referrals, Open Tuesdays and Thursdays: 9:00am2:00pm. Walk-Ins welcome. Call for appointments 310-662-2052.

Dad’s Back ! academy

Five Keys Schools & Programs

Dad's Back! Academy supports reentry parents through the process of reconnecting with their families, their communities and rejoining the workforce. Four week training and workshops assist with skills building and development, parenting, healthy relationships, job readiness and basic computer skills. Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00am - 5:00pm Orientation - Tuesdays at 10:00 AM For more information, call (213) 412-8912 X112

FREE classes to earn your High School Diploma • FREE GED and HiSet Preparation and Vouchers -FREE Career Path Academy Courses and Certifications (Forklift, Food Handler, OSHA and more!) For information, please contact: Ms. Angelina Barron (626) 346-9574 Classes begin January 3, 2018

And coming soon

Montessori Preschool Montessori Association of Covina (323) 566-1202

9702 Holmes Avenue • Los Angeles, CA 90002 • (323) 566.1202 Pastor Marcus Murchison , CEO

L.A. Focus On The Word January 2018  
L.A. Focus On The Word January 2018