L.A. Focus Newspaper January 2023

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VOLUME XXVII • ISSUE 11 •January 2023 >> WWW.LAFOCUSNEWSPAPER.COM L.A. FOCUS @LAFOCUSNEWS << CHURCH NEWS Pastor Shep Crawford is Celebrated for his Work Hlollywood Buzz Mary J. Blige Sets Banner Year in Motion with New Deal SAVING GRACE Octavia Spencer “Truth Be Told” >> SEE PAGE 7 Mayor Karen Bass Moves Aggressive Agenda Forward in Tackling LA’s Homeless Crisis Up Front SEE PAGE 12

Commentary “CBC Members Stood United at Swearing-In”

Mayor Karen Bass Moves Aggressive Agenda Forward in Tackling LA’s Homeless Crisis; Billion Dollar Fund helps Califonia Homeowners Make Past Due Mortgage Payments; California Welcomes Slate of New Laws & There’s Something for Everyone

14 Hollywood Buzz

Banner Year Ahead for Mary J. Blige;Real Housewives Drama: On the Road Again?


Storm Reid

Red Carpet Style

Hollywood Reporter’s 2022 Women In Entertainment Gala

Eye On Gospel

Kanye West is Billboard’s top gospel artist of 2022; Brent Jones Heads to Europe; Jacky Clark Chisholm Showcases Another Talent; Shekinah Glory Ministry Returns with New Project

Through The Storm

“Despite A Devasting Stroke,Sinbad is Still Beating The Odds”


Richest University Taps Black Woman to Lead


Inglewood Calls on Legislators to Return Local Control to City’s Schools; What California Seniors 50+ Need to Know About Latest Vaccine

Pastor Profile

23 From The Pulpit

Martin Luther King Jr., 1954 “Creating the Abdundant Life”

First Lady Files

26 In Good Taste

Saving Grace

Harvard University has announced that Dean Claudine Gay will become the university’s 30th president, mak ing her the first Black and only the second woman to lead an Ivy League school. Dean will officially assume the role on July 1.

October 2022 advisory board #LAFOCUS @L.A.Focus @Lafocusnews Address all correspondence to: L.A. Focus, 333 W. Florence Ave., Suite C333 Inglewood, CA 90301 • (310) 677-6011 Subscription rates $25.00 per year. www.lafocusnewspaper.com Publisher/Editor-In-Chief Staff Writers Photographer Advertising Lisa Collins Gerald Bell,,Keith Delawder, Chez’Ney Hadley Ian Foxx Kisha Smith staff Napoleon Brandford Apostle Beverly Crawford Lem Daniels Bob Blake Siebert, Brandford, Shank & Co. Bible Enrichment Fellowship Int’l Morgan Stanley Bob Blake & Associates West Angeles C.O.G.I.C. Bishop Charles Blake City of Refuge Bishop Noel Jones Greater Zion Church Family Pastor Michael J.T.
Southern Saint Paul Church Rev.
Faithful Central Bible Church Bishop
C. Ulmer Mt. Moriah Baptist Church Pastor Emeritus Melvin
Baptist Minister’s Conference Pastor K.W. Tulloss Inglewood Minister’s Assoc. Bishop
Sr. honorary
Cover Design: UpScale Media Group L.A. Focus/ January 2023 3 con
L.A. Focus Publications January 2023
Robert T. Douglas
Continues to Grow... But Not Without Dissent Tips for Getting Your Finances On Track in 2023 “A Life Not Measured in Dollars and Cents”
(Left): Mayor Karen Bass is sworn in as Mayor by Vice President Kamala Harris; (Middle) Supervisor Holly Mitchell, Links President Sherril Rieux (Beverly Hills West Chapter), member Zna Houston and Congresswoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove share a moment at holiday event in honor of Kamlager; (Right) 'The Best Man Final Chapters” cast–Morris Chestnut, Melissa DeSousa, Sanaa Lathan, Taye Diggs, Nia Long, Regina Hall, Harold Perrineau and Terrence Howard– attend red carpet premiere last month.
6 20 21
Kiara Manuel
Pastor Shep Crawford Celebrated by City of Refuge; Appointment of Bridgeforth Sparks Division; Brooklyn Pastor Who Made Headlines Is Arrested Mack Mossett Chef Adrienne McDaniels
22 15
Octavia Spencer
Cover Story
Serena Williams Launches Line of Topical pain Relief; Jay-Z Looks to Get Into Casino Business; Comcast Rise;World’s
News Briefs On the Money Church News
From The Editor “Keeping Hope Alive in 2023” UpFront Money
Hate & Extremism in Los Angeles Reaching Critical Point L.A. Focus Survey Reveals Headlines From
8 Head 2 Head 18 10

“CBC Members Stood United at Swearing-In”

On Tuesday, Jan. 3, members of the Congressional Black Caucus held an inspiring swearing-in ceremony, even as Republicans were fighting over who would become the next Speaker of the House.

“In the work we do, we honor our history, like the many Black members that served before there was even a Congressional Black Caucus,” said Nevada Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford, the CBC’s new chairman.

Horsford, 49, counted among the 58 CBC members taking the oath of office, most praised the Biden-Harris administration, spoke glowingly of the CBC’s history, and kept an eye on their Republican counterparts as they tried to find the votes to select a new speaker. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who is 57 and from California, continued to face strong opposition from his own party as he tried to replace outgoing speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California).

At least six members of the GOP have opposed McCarthy, who needs 218 votes.

Democrats have seized upon the GOP’s inability to unite.

“The 118th Congress has yet to begin, and Americans are already seeing how dysfunctional and disastrous GOP control of the House is going to be,” said Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Washington).

DelBene is the new chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“While House Republicans fight one another in unprecedented ways, and Kevin McCarthy gives in to the most extreme flanks of the Republican Party in desperate plays for their support, Democrats are clear-minded, unified, and eager to get to work for the American people,”

she said.

“No matter who becomes Speaker of the House or how many votes it takes, the contrast is clear, and in two short years voters will reject this chaos and confusion.”

Further complicating McCarthy’s bid, Republicans with a small majority only occupy 222 seats in the 118th Congress, which means there’s enough opposition to block his candidacy.

He needs a majority of the present members to vote for him.

Incoming House Minority Leader, New York Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, said no Democratic party member would be absent for a vote and did not expect any to simply vote “present.”

Headed into Tuesday, there was even the belief that

From the Editor

“Keeping Hope Alive in 2023”

ineteenth century philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote: "In nature, every moment is new; the past is always swallowed and forgotten; the coming only is sacred....life is a series of surprises. We do not guess today the mood, the pleasure, and the power of tomorrow, when we are building up our being. The new position of the advancing man has all the powers of the old, yet has them anew. It carries in its bosom all the energies of the past, yet is in itself an exhalation of the morning..."

On the 2023 horizon is a futuristic age of designer children, avatar technology, behavioral biometrics, quantum computing, refrigerators that can plan your next meal based on what's inside of them while serving as the control center for your homes; wearable medical monitoring devices, mood boosting foods, and a boom of psychiatric medications to treat an alarming crisis of post traumatic stress disorders that appear to have consumed so much of our society. And yet, a looming recession, rising homelessness, unaffordable housing and the record-breaking number of hate crime incidents coupled with fears that the war in Ukraine could grow into something much larger, let us know that this brave new world we are entering comes with its fair share of challenges.

In most cases, the big stories of the previous year bear witness to what we can expect in the year to come. Of course, it is often the more personal stories that touch us the most. In the 24 hours following Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin being rushed to the hospital in critical condition after a routine footbal play, Americans donated $5 million to his fundraiser. A fatal crash in Windsor Hills triggered by a woman with mental issues left us not only mourning for the six souls lost, but reminding us how precious and tenuous life is. And who can ever forget Will

Smith’s infamous slap to Chris Rock’s face at last year’s Academy Awards…

In so many of the stories we are still grappling with the lessons to be learned as with that of a racist tape that led to one of city hall’s biggest scandals, the elevated hate rhetoric spewed by those like Kanye West and Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter.

With the gains the GOP is making with Blacks–leaders like Al Sharpton have warned Democrats to step up their game in the run up to the 2024 election and civic officials in major cities across the country are grappling with gentrification on steroids in the Black community.

But for all that has come against Black folks, not enough can be said of the inroads we have made. One of my favorite quotes on that is from the late trailblazing actress/singer Ethel Waters who said: "I have the soundest of reasons for being proud of my people. We Negroes have always had such a tough time that our very survival in this white world with the dice loaded against us is the greatest possible testimonial to our strength, our courage and our immunity to adversity... Our greatest eloquence, the pith of our joy and sorrow in our unbreakable hearts, comes when we lift up our faces and talk to God, person to person. Ours is the truest dignity of man, the dignity of the undefeated."

You can see that dignity on full display in the grace of Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson and more recently, the victory that recently made Congresswoman Karen Bass the first female to become Mayor of Los Angeles with her win over a billionaire who spent over $100 milion–more than ten times what she did–in his quest to defeat her.

As we move forward, we would do well to remember that everything begins with the individual choices we make. For as technologically advanced as we are, we remain human beings whose choices determine our individual outcomes. You can choose to excel or instead resign yourself to whatever circumstances make up your world. When resigned, no amount of direction is

Jeffries, 52, could get more votes than McCarthy in a first round of voting. But, because the GOP controls the House, he wouldn’t become speaker.

“We’re focused right now on making sure that every single Democrat is present and voting, and I hope to be able to earn everyone’s vote,” said Jefferies, the first African American to lead a party in Congress.

“It’s unfortunate that all we’re seeing is chaos, crisis, confusion, and craziness take hold of the other side of the aisle, as opposed to trying to find common ground to deliver real results for the American people,” Jefferies continued.

“Hopefully, we’ll get to a place sooner rather than later when the Congress can actually function in a way that brings Democrats and Republicans together to get things done for the American people.”

Jeffries and Horsford focused on the historic battles of African Americans.

“Our community’s journey in this country has been a turbulent one. From slavery to Jim Crow, Jim Crow to mass incarceration, and mass incarceration to a malignant narcissist in the White House,” Jeffries states.

Horsford added that “this is our opportunity to advance the mission, the vision, and the goals of those 13 founders and the 166 Black members of Congress who have served in our nation’s 246 years in both the House and the Senate.”

Stacy Brown is the senior national correspondent for the NNPA Newswire, a veteran journalist and author of the new book, "Celebrity Trials: Legacies Lost, Lives Shattered, So What's the Real Truth."

going to make your life any better.

A brave new world awaits us all, but it is our world. We will determine its boundaries just as surely as each of us will decide our role in it. If you leave it to others to decide, know that the role you play is likely to be no more than that of a pawn.

I am fond of citing a study done on a class of graduating seniors who were asked to write out their goals. Just 10% of them actually followed through and listed them on paper. Ten years later they interviewed the graduates and the students who’d written out their goals earned an average of 500% more than the 90% who didn’t. The motto being that people who didn’t set goals ended up working for those that did.”

That life can be difficult comes as no surprise. It is however within our ability to stretch, rebound, learn; to be inspired and in turn inspire; to teach—and despite our challenges and obstacles–to overcome and to keep dreaming like the man whose birthday we celebrate this month, the late great Dr. Martin Luther King.

As we welcome 2023, we would all do well to remember that the key to every man’s success is his own thought.

Now is the time to dream and then to step out and make that dream happen remembering that what you can and cannot do starts and stops with you.

It has been said, “To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but believe.”

Happy New Year and keep the faith.

4 L.A. Focus/ January 2023 Commentary STACY BROWN Guest Columnist

California Welcomes Slate of New Laws & There’s Something for Everyone

ut with the old year and in with a new slate of over 1000 laws passed by the California legislature and signed by Governor Gavin Newsom, spanning everything from hate speech and abortion rights to the pink tax and sex trafficking. California’s minimum wage will increase to $15.50, jaywalking citations are set to become a thing of the past, those incarcerated in state prisons or local juvenile detention facilities will be able to make and receive phone calls free of charge, and Juneteenth (June 19) officially becomes a state holiday (although optional).

Beginning January 1, it is illegal for an employer to refuse to grant bereavement leave for up to five days to employees in the event of a family death. And there’s good news for those who would like to put past misdeeds behind as a new law will allow for the criminal records of some offenders to be sealed if they have completed their sentence and maintained a clean record for a minimum of four years for starters. The law does not however apply to sex offenders or those convicted of violent or serious crimes.

That is just a sampling of some of the new legislation going into effect this month. From crime and punishment to the workplace, here are just some of the new laws you might want to make note of.

Crime and Punishment

•Come January 1, police are prohibited from stopping a pedestrian for jaywalking “unless a reasonably careful person would realize there is an immediate danger of collision with a moving vehicle or other device moving exclusively by human power.”

•The “Keep Families Connected Act,” eliminates the onerous per-minute charges and connection fees that make it tremendously expensive for incarcerated men and women to stay in touch with their loved ones.

•Hotels will be subject to civil penalties if employees fail to inform police of sex trafficking at their facilities.

•With hate speech on the rise, a new California law will require social media companies to publicly post policies on hate speech, disinformation, harassment and extremism and to provide reports to the state prosecutor regarding violations and enforcement.

•Persons convicted of misdemeanor child or elder abuse on or after January 1, 2023 will be prohibited from possessing a firearm.

Health Care

•Health care providers will not be legally compelled to release medical information about a woman seeking abortion care in response to a subpoena from outside the


•AB2098 will designate the dissemination of misinformation or disinformation related to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, or “COVID-19,” by physicians and surgeons as unprofessional conduct.

•Family members, first responders and clinicians can request that a judge order treatment for individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. Those refusing treatment could then be placed in a conservatorship and ordered to comply.


•Lower and middle income employees will see increases in their paid family leave benefits should they need to take time off to care for loved ones.

•Companies with 15 or more employees will now have to post what the pay range is on job posting as well as to provide employees with a salary range, if requested.

•Employers will be required to provide employees with workplace COVID exposure notifications until 2024, including the dates on which an employee with a confirmed case of COVID-19 was on the worksite premises and the location of the exposure.

•SB-1044 prohibits employers from taking or threatening adverse action against any employee for refusing to come to


work or leaving if the employee has a reasonable belief that the workplace is not safe.


•AB 1287 prohibits “the pink tax” referring to gender-based pricing on products based on who they're marketed toward.

•The sale and manufacturing of new fur clothing and accessories is banned in California.


•Starting in June of 2023, Dolly Parton’s “Dolly’s Library” will expand statewide, providing children from birth to five with free books–increasing literacy and opening minds.


•SB-103 provides that the states presidential electors must cast ballots for those candidates who’ve won the popular vote and may not switch candidates or abstain from voting.


In addition to the declaration of Juneteenth as a new state holiday beginning in 2023, April 24 will be recognized as Genocide Remembrance Day and the fourth Friday of September is now designated as Native American Day.

6 L.A. Focus/ January 2023


Mayor Karen Bass Moves Aggressive Agenda Forward in Tackling LA’s Homeless Crisis

Mayor Karen Bass is proving that she is a woman of her word as she presses full steam ahead in her goal of getting homeless people off the streets and clearing out the unsightly encampments that have overwhelmed parts of the city.

Just as she said she would, her first order of business was declaring a state of emergency in her efforts aimed at sheltering the city’s 40,000-plus unhoused residents. It is a move that would serve to fast track the process of creating more affordable housing and get money to homeless service providers.

Mayor Bass followed that up with a directive that would require the departments overseeing the processing of affordable housing to complete their re views in 60 days. And less than a week into her term, the newly elected mayor is putting her plan into motion to bring 17,000 people inside in her first year of office with the launch of “Inside Safe”.

“We are shifting the way the city approaches homelessness, and the In side Safe initiative represents a change in how we help and house people living in tents and encampments,” Mayor Bass said. “The new strategy on home lessness I am bringing to City Hall replaces quick fixes with real solutions. People should not be left to live and die on the streets because the city isn’t giving them someplace to go. Under

my administration, we are giving people safe places to move inside, and we will ensure people can stay inside and safe for good.”

Inside Safe will assess street homelessness across Los Angeles and then proactively engage with people living in tents and encampments based on which locations are most chronic and where people are most in crisis with the following five goals:

1. Reduce the loss of life on our streets

2. Increase access to mental health and substance abuse treatment for those living in encampments

3. Eliminate street encampments

4. Promote long-term housing stability for people experiencing homelessness

5. Enhance the safety and hygiene of neighborhoods for all residents, businesses, and neigh-

“It is imperative that we immediately begin to move people living in encampments indoors,” Bass said. “Once in interim housing, social service agencies will provide wrap-around care to each participant to transition those previously living in encampments into permanent housing, improve their wellbeing, and promote their stability. Such an effort will simultaneously enhance the safety and hygiene of our neigh-

borhoods for all residents, businesses, and neighbors.”

According to a new poll, she has the backing of voters, a majority of whom have faith in her efforts to solve L.A.’s homeless crisis. And earlier this week, she got the support of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, who unanimously voted to back the Mayor’s state of emergency declaration in addressing homelessness.

“The only way we can really solve this crisis is if we are working in complete partnership,” Bass noted as she met with the county supervisors earlier this week.

To that end, she has directed her cabinet–inclusive of her Chief of Housing and designees from the departments of housing, transportation and public works–to coordinate in the effort with L.A. Metro, the Department of Water of Power, World Airports and other L.A. County agencies that serve those experiencing homelessness.

But the former Congresswoman who made history as L.A.’s first female mayor didn’t stop there. In a recent meeting with members of the Baptist Minister’s Conference of Southern California, she let them know that she would be calling on them for their assistance. And on Sunday at First AME Church, Bass once again encouraged Angelenos to join her in the effort.

“Thank you for being on the journey with me to win the election, but now the work begins,” Bass said. “And I want to ask you if you will please continue to pray for me, with me, walk with me as we go to this part of the journey. Everybody has to have skin in this game. Housing has to be built everywhere.”

Billion Dollar Fund Helps California Homeowners Make Past Due Mortgage Payments

Relief is available for homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage due to financial hardships caused by the Pandemic.

The California Mortgage Relief Program is providing a lifeline for qualifying California property owners, especially in underserved communities. Proponents of the program regard it as a safeguard to protecting generational wealth and assets.

“If you are deemed eligible and approved, we send the payment directly to your servicer or the county in which the home resides for the property tax payment, and then they're caught up,” said CalHFA Homeowner Relief Corporation President Rebecca Franklin, who was appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The California Mortgage Relief Program is giving grants that are funded by $1 billion in federal funds from the American Rescue Plans Homeowner Assistance Fund. Grants up to $80,000 for past due mortgages, and up to $20,000 for missed property taxes, will be distributed to households facing pandemic-related financial hardship. There are no fees to apply, and the grants never have to be

paid back.

The relief payments are distributed on a first come, first served basis

“This is an awesome program that reminds me of Keep Your Home, California,” said HUD certified housing counselor Linda Jackson. “Keep Your Home, California did have restrictions, you had to stay in the house for a period of time, so that that loan could be forgiven. I say to everyone, this is free money ya’ll. So, we got to get the free money because you don't have to pay this back. If anyone charges you for this program, run, because it's at no cost.”

The application is at www.CAMortgageRelief.org and it includes a calculator to help you see if you qualify. The website also provides resources to help fill out the application. To complete the process, you will need some basic documentation like a mortgage statement, property tax bill, or utility bill.

The application typically takes less than 20 minutes to fill out online. For help completing it, contact the program center at 1(888)840-2594. Additional help with this program and others is available from the United States Department of

Housing and Urban Development certified counselors at 1-800-569-4287.

“One of the biggest issues is a lot of our community members are older community members that don't know how to use computers,” said Community Action League CEO Pharaoh Mitchell. “They come in and they’re frustrated, and we literally have to be counselors to them, to [tell them] ‘calm down, we're here to help you. This is a friendly process. Let's get you through it.”

“I’m proud that they're making a conscious effort to really reach into the Black community and make sure our underserved community is served,” Mitchell added.

The program is designed to help low and moderate-income households. It has a cap for people earning more than 150% of the median income in their county, adjusted for the number of people in the household. Officials say it was created to assist people who are behind on payments, specifically those who have missed at least two payments and currently have a past due balance as of Dec. 1, 2022.

Aside from the income requirement and the delinquent payment criteria,

Robert Johnson’s Efforts Pay Off with Legislation Addressing Retirement Savings Crisis Facing Blacks and Low Wage Workers

Late last month, the bi-partisan Congress supported the longtime efforts of Robert L. Johnson, founder of The RLJ Companies and Chairman of Portability Services Network (PSN) and Retirement Clearinghouse (RCH), by passing legislation that codifies auto portability. Auto Portability is the routine, standardized, and automated movement of an employee's retirement saving account balance (under $5000) from the retirement plan of their former employer into an active account in their current employer's plan. Retirement Clearinghouse developed the technology and created the intellectual property to power auto portability, which makes it easy for American workers to move and consolidate their 401(k) account at the point they change jobs.

"I am pleased that this Congress codified auto portability and thereby recognized the value and importance this plan feature delivers to address the retirement security needs of so many underserved Americans," said Johnson. "I am particularly grateful to Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) for their support in advancing auto portability through this Congress.

I also want to thank Marc Morial, President & CEO of the National Urban League and Derrick Johnson, President & CEO of the NAACP for their leadership and being early, vocal supporters of auto portability. As the leading National organizations respectively focused on equality and economic empowerment, they noted that auto portability addresses the retirement savings crisis confronting Black Americans and low-wage workers, ensures a financial infrastructure necessary to maintain economic stability for retirement savings, and addresses the racial wealth gap," Johnson concluded.

Approximately $92 billion in savings leaves the U.S. retirement system every year because Americans who change jobs prematurely cash out their workplace retirement accounts and pay taxes and penalties on those cash-outs.

The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) estimates that if auto Portability was broadly adopted, over the course of a 40-year period, an additional $1.5 trillion in savings would be preserved in the U.S. retirement system, including $619 billion for 67 million Black and minority workers, and $365 billion for 42 million women participants of all ethnicities.


Reparations Movement Continues to Grow...But Not Without Dissent HeadToHead

Universities profited from slavery and played a role in the enslavement of Black people. And it is time that they acknowledge this legacy and make amends for the harm they caused. Harvard University is the latest institution of higher education to address its role in slavery. The Ivy League university–with a massive $53.2 billion endowment–released a 134-page report on its legacy of slavery and announced a $100 million “Legacy of Slavery” fund to provide redress.

Among its findings, Harvard faculty, staff and leaders owned at least 70 people between the school’s founding in 1636 and 1783, when slavery was abolished in Massachusetts. These individuals had names such as Cicely, Titus, Venus, Violet, Juba, Dorcas, Guinea, Pompey, Hope and Bilhah, while others were known as “The Moor,” “The Spaniard,” “unnamed Negro boy,” “Young Jerry” and “the Negar.” Some of these enslaved people lived and worked on the Harvard campus and tended to the needs of Harvard presidents, faculty and students.

“Through connections to multiple donors, the University had extensive financial ties to, and profited from, slavery during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries,” the report says. “These donors helped the University build a national reputation, hire faculty, support students, grow its collections, expand its physical footprint, and develop its infrastructure.” Even today, Harvard honors benefactors with ties to slavery through buildings and professorships.

Harvard also noted that some of its professors embraced eugenics, its museum has the remains of African and Indigenous people, and the legacy of slavery, segregation and discrimination lasted on campus well into the 20th century.

As a Harvard alum, I applaud the decision, which is socially responsible, if not a form of enlightened self-interest for the university. Colleges and universities produce the future leaders and thinkers, help to shape the direction of society, and have a great impact on the country. And while many of these institutions have benefited from Black labor and profited from the exploitation of their bodies, many of these universities were not originally intended for Black people–HBCUs notwithstanding, of course.

The University of Pennsylvania, where I received my law degree, found that while the university never owned slaves, at least 75 of its earliest trustees owned enslaved people, and faculty members and alumni were slaveholders, made Black folks threefifths of a person in the U.S. Constitution, supported the Confederacy and promoted racial pseudoscience. Benjamin Franklin, Penn’s founder, owned slaves before becoming an abolitionist in his later years.

The University of Oxford, where I studied international human rights law, has established a scholarship program for Caribbean students. One of Oxford’s colleges was funded by a British sugar plantation baron and has a library named after him, while another college built a statue in honor of the colonizer Cecil Rhodes, who committed genocide against the people of southern Africa.

And Rutgers University, where I teach journalism and media studies, acknowledged that it was founded by slaveholders and built by enslaved people of African descent. Rutgers has

Love continued to page 24

Headlines From Africa

Botswana: Botswana has been chosen to host the 15th U.S.-Africa Business Summit, a major platform to strengthen U.S.-Africa trade and investment ties.

Burundi: President Evariste Ndayishimiye promises to promote youth entrepreneurship and front them in key positions in efforts to improve the country’s economic status.

Cameroon: Officials have deployed troops to Cameroon’s port city of Douala, the nation's economic hub, to stem a wave of gang violence that has also disrupted exports to its landlocked neighbors, the Central African Republic and Chad.

Congo: Three prominent Congolese figures, including Nobel winner Denis Mukwege have accused President Felix Tshisekedi of pushing the Democratic Republic of Congo towards breakup by bringing in outside nations to tackle its security crisis.

Eritrea: A high-level Ethiopian government delegation met in Tigray capital Mekelle with Tigrayan leaders to discuss issues related to humanitarian aid, basic services, commerce and the withdrawal of Eritrea and Amhara forces.

Ethiopia: Ethiopian and Sudanese military intelligence agencies agree to enhance cooperation and to share intelligence for the sake of peace and security.

Ghana: Police warn faith leaders against making traditional New Year prophecies which can cause fear, anxiety or death.

Kenya: Severe drought fuels malnutrition and reduced hospital-delivery births in the Turkana County region.

Malawi: Serious concerns persist in relation to risks of trafficking of children and forced labor as large numbers of children working on tobacco farms in Malawi are missing school. Experts call for strengthened monitoring, enforcement, and business accountability on an urgent basis to prevent human rights abuses and ensure

When it comes to the absurdity of American taxpayers giving "reparations" to black descendants of slaves, it's hard to limit the number of objections. Apart from the fact that American slavery, though horrific, was legal; that it ended 157 years ago; that the government did not own slaves, the private sector did; that most Southerners did not own slaves; that nearly all slave owners were Democrats – so why should non-Democrats pay?; that hundreds of thousands of white Northerners lost their lives and suffered serious injuries fighting in the Civil War that ended slavery; and that today, as conservative writer Michael Medved puts it, only about 5% of whites bear "a generational guilt" to slavery – there's the role Africa itself played.

Take the 2022 movie "The Woman King," starring Viola Davis, about African female warriors. It portrays white slavers as villains and the female warriors as antislavery avengers, and the film claims it is "Inspired by true events." IMDB describes its plot:

"A historical epic inspired by true events that took place in The Kingdom of Dahomey, one of the most powerful states of Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries."

Inspired by true events? Really?

There was, in fact, a band of warrior women in Africa called the Dahomey. True, they were fierce, feared and bloodthirsty fighters. But they used that ferocity to kill and conquer other Africans for sale to slave traders. The trans-Atlantic African and the Arab African slave trade could not have occurred without the complicity of African chiefs, who sold conquered Africans to European and Arab slavers.

In the film, white slavers are the enemy when, in reality, they were business partners with the "women kings."

Critic Robert Daniels, who mostly praised the film, said: "You might wonder how (director Gina) Prince-Bythewood can shape a tale centering the Agojie warriors – an all-woman group of soldiers known as the Amazons, sworn to honor and sisterhood – hailing from the West African kingdom of Dahomey, when one considers their hand in perpetuating the transatlantic slave trade."

A review on Last Movie Outpost, called "'The Woman King' Historical Embarrassment," puts it this way: "The movie has been set-up as a having a historical basis, telling the story of the reallife Kingdom of Dahomey in the 18th and 19th centuries. ... In reality, Dahomey was a notorious slave kingdom, and not the Pan-African freedom fighters as the movie presents them. They enslaved and murdered hundreds of thousands from other tribes and sold them into the slave trade.

"Dahomey was renowned as the 'Black Sparta,' and was a fiercely militaristic society bent on domination and conquest. Their soldiers struck fear into other tribes all along what is still known as the Slave Coast, as they captured tribespeople from enemy tribes and sold them as slaves.

"The Dahomey women fought to protect their own slave trade. Even worse for those who struggle with reality, the Amazons were formed from among the king's 'third class' wives. These were those considered insufficiently beautiful to share his bed and who had not borne children. Awkward!"

About the film, "History vs. Hollywood" writes: "In real life, the Dahomey are much more the villains than the heroes. ... They conquered neighboring African states and took their citizens as

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A look at current news from the continent of Africa

codes of conduct are effectively implemented.

Mozambique: A bill legalizing the involvement of local militias in the fight against jihadists in the northern province of Cabo Delgado has been approved despite the belief that the Mozambican army alone is not able to deal with the jihadists.

: Namibia, Angola ministries enter agreement to cooperate on petroleum, natural gas development and improve the mutual social, economic and environmental interests between the two countries.

Nigeria: The Central Bank significantly increased the limits imposed on cash withdrawals following public outcry. The bank announced the limits to rein in excess cash and promote cashless payments, but critics say it could stifle small businesses.

Rwanda: As the Rwandan economy rebounds, a drastic rise in the cost of living has left many households struggling to make ends meet due to higher food prices and unemployment that remains at approximately 18%. Rwanda is among the top ten countries globally worst affected by food price inflation, while nominal food inflation rose by 34%.

Senegal: Faced with an ever expanding jihadist threat from its eastern frontier, Senegal sets up military bases near Mali border.

South Africa: Social media users demand answers after two Black teens were attacked for swimming in a “White’s Only’ pool at a South African resort. In a viral video, white men are seen grabbing the teens by their necks and hair at the Maselspoort Resort & Conference Center.

Zambia: Government officials announced increased minimum wages for domestic workers, shopkeepers and general workers, effective January 1.

Harvard Reparations Plan Reminds Us of the Role of Universities in Black Enslavement David A. Love Reparations: Blackwashing Slavery Larry Elder

Serena Williams Launches Line of Topical Pain Relief; Jay-Z Looks to Get Into Casino Business

a follow-up to her evolution from tennis, Serena Williams has teamed up with two CPG veterans to launch Will Perform, a line of clean, cruelty-free topical pain relief and daily muscle care solutions designed to reimagine recovery. The five available products span four categories of daily skin and muscle care, that aim to bridge the gap between performance and self-care in everyday life and fast track recovery.

"Recovery has played an integral role in my performance and professional success. It's a practice that can benefit anyone with an active lifestyle. That belief is what inspired us to develop a line of products that targets your muscles and can be incorporated into your daily self-care routine," says Williams.

Comcast Rise

Comcast Corporation recently announced that Comcast RISE–an initiative created in 2020 to help strengthen and empower small businesses hard hit by COVID-19–has met its goal of supporting 13,000 small businesses nationwide by the program’s close at the end of 2022. In total, Comcast RISE has provided over $110 million in monetary, marketing, and technology grants to 13,000 small businesses owned by women and people of color — including Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, and Asian Americans, among others.

U.S. small businesses were particularly hard hit by the pandemic, which is why Comcast RISE was launched in 2020. A study from the National Bureau of Economic Research cited that Blackowned small businesses were hardest hit.

Comcast RISE is one of several programs that Comcast has overseen aimed at closing the digital divide and achieving digital equity. A new phase of Comcast RISE in 2023 will continue the company’s efforts and help an even broader range of small businesses, while continuing to focus on diversity, inclusion, and community investment.

“We recognize that small businesses are the backbone of our economy and look forward to taking our learnings from this program as we find new ways to further empower and strengthen even more small businesses and entrepreneurs at the heart of our local communities,” said Teresa Ward-Maupin, Senior Vice President, Digital and Customer Experience, Comcast Business.

Additional details about Comcast RISE in 2023 will be forthcoming. For more information on Comcast’s continuing programs and partnerships to advance economic mobility and open doors for the next generation of entrepreneurs, visit Project UP.

Jay-Z Teams With Investment Group for Stake in Casino Biz?

The New York Post is reporting that Jay-Z is teaming with SL Green and Caesars Entertainment to submit proposals to the state to erect the first full-scale boutique-style casino at 1515 Broadway office tower. For his part, Jay-Z would oversee entertainment programming at the property. “New York is the epicenter of culture. We have the opportunity to create a destination at the heart of the true crossroads of the word,” the rapper and entrepreneur said in a statement. “My partnership with SL Green and Caesars has all the promise and commitment to economic opportunity, growth and enrichment for the community and everyone that visits the Empire State.”

World’s Richest University Taps Black Woman to Lead

One of the world’s richest and most prestigious university will have a Black woman at its helm come July 1 when Claudine Gay officially takes the reins as the 30th president of Harvard University.

Gay, who has served as dean of Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences since 2018, guided efforts to expand student access and opportunity, spur excellence and innovation in teaching and research, enhance aspects of academic culture, and bring new emphasis and energy to areas such as quantum science and engineering; ethnicity, and the humanities.

“People are Harvard’s institutional strength. I want to take on this role because I believe in them and I want a Harvard that matches their ambition and promise,” said Gay.

Last year, the near 400-year old university that boasts an endowment of about $53 million, announced a $100 million fund for slavery reparations. A report found that more than one third of its private donations came from fortunes tied to slavery and that. Harvard’s faculty and staff enslaved at least 70 Blacks in the 1800s.

Biz News Briefs A

Money Matters

Tips for Getting Your Finances On Track in 2023

Okay, 2023 is here and like most you’ve already made some resolutions and for most of us, reassessing our finances and more than likely course correcting them is among the top items on the list.

Interest rates have risen; the cost of living has skyrocketed–particularly if you are paying rent in Los Angeles County; experts suggest that stocks will remain in shaky territory for some time; and the Fed is signaling more rate hikes and experts continue to debate whether or not a recession could be on the horizon with most leaning towards the affirmative.

Putting a financial plan into place for your income, debts, savings can help to make some necessary adjustments to ensure you make progress with your goals in what has become an uncertain economy. That includes taking stock on how much you are spending and what you are spending it on.

Below are some helpful tips experts suggest that you should incorporate into your lifestyle to advance your financial goals in 2023 and beyond.

Set a budget

The hallmark of financial planning and the most important factor in getting your finances back on track is a budget that accurately reflects your real needs, circumstances and goals. Start by listing your income all of your expenses in a given month, including rent, utilities, food, entertainment, transportation, credit card balance and any other debt.

If you spending more you are earning, it’s time to cut back your expenses in the area of non-essential needs. It may mean going to the hairstylist less, thinking twice about eating out or putting off that dream vacation. Another easy place to find spending cuts is at the grocery store. Trade out those high end brands for their store or off-brand competitors.

Pay down credit cards

The first order of business is to pay down those highinterest credit cards. Not paying off the balance by the end of your billing cycle can drive those interest fees up quickly.

Be sure to take the time to research credit cards before you sign up and steer clear of “buy now, pay later” programs as the devil may be in the details.

Create an emergency fund

Establish an emergency fund of six months to help with any sudden financial emergencies or any expenditures you haven’t made part of your monthly budget. It may mean storing up any extra cash you come across or perhaps a tax refund. Kickstarting that side hustle can also help to create a cash cushion to fall back on in

case of a reduction in or loss of your primary income. Keep in mind that in a recession people with access to cash are better positioned to take advantage of opportunities. And living in earthquake territory, experts suggest that you keep

Reassess your subscriptions and memberships

Whether it’s those TV streaming services or gym memberships you’ve signed up for but don’t use, take a hard look at what you’ve signed up for over the years that may still be charging you. On survey found that over 70 percent of consumers estimate that they waste over $50 every month on recurring payments for things they either no longer need or have forgotten about. Better alternatives may be to consolidate your streaming or check into those services like T-Mobile that offer free access to streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Be vigilant about energy & health costs

Keep those energy bills down by turning off the lights when you leave a room; do laundry and run the dishwasher after 7 p.m., when the cost of electricity is typically lower; and unplug electronics when you’re not using them as are still drawing electricity even when turned off.

Also check into low income energy efficient programs available to seniors and low income families that can assist in reducing household energy costs.

Medication is a major cost factor for many Americans, particularly seniors and too few of them take advantage of programs that lower the cost of expensive drugs. Medicare, the state of California and drug manufacturers offer such programs. Make sure that you are taking advantage of them if eligible.

Increase Your Savings

Experts suggest that 20% of your income should go towards savings. Check into savings accounts that offer automatic monthly contributions. While that is convenient, it can also make it easier to reach your goal. Also consider U.S. Treasury bills. Considered the safest of the safe investments, Treasury bond yields are the highest they’ve been since 2010 and they pay more than 4 percent.

Master the Art of Negotiation

Think smart and creatively when negotiating big ticket items like cars and rent. Don’t just accept the sticker price. Jockey for deals and or get creative with terms that will financially benefit you in the long run.

Remember, if you're falling behind, reach out to your creditors and let them know what’s going on. You can even ask for hardship concessions.

On the Money

“A Life Not Measured in Dollars and Cents”

From 1957 until the day he died in 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is said to have traveled 6 million miles, given over 2,500 speeches and written five books.

What he did not do was to make a lot of money.

He earned a base salary of $8,000 a year as a pastor, which would have been the equivalent of about $68,000 today and the $54,123 King received in prize money from his Nobel Peace Prize was donated back to the civil rights movement.

At the time of his death, his net worth was just under $6,000, (the equivalent of about $51,329 today) and the most valuable asset in his estate was reported to be a disputed bequest of $12,351.36 from poet Dorothy Parker.

Of money, Dr. King once remarked, “Money in its proper place is a worthwhile and necessary instrument for a well-rounded life, but when it is projected to the status of a God, it becomes a power that corrupts and an instrument of exploitation.”

King also shared his thoughts on money and how people spend it in a few of sermons. In his “The Drum Major Instinct” sermon, King spoke of people living beyond their means.

“Do you ever see people buy cars that they can’t even begin to buy in terms of their income?,” King said. “You’ve seen people riding around in Cadillacs and Chryslers who don’t earn enough to have a good TModel Ford. You know, economists tell us that your automobile should not cost more than half of your annual income… But so often, haven’t you seen people making five thousand dollars a year and driving a car that costs six thousand? And they wonder why their ends never meet.”

“The Drum Major Instinct” was among about 7,000 items –including books, papers and speeches–that the City of Atlanta paid the King family $32 million to purchase and subsequently donate to Morehouse College, King’s alma mater.

In 2021, 12 rare autographs of the famed civil rights leader sold at auction for more than $130,000. The autographs ironically enough came from the logbook of the Birmingham jail from which he wrote his famed, “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”

Last year, draft pages from the civil rights icon's book "Stride Toward Free dom: The Montgomery Story” went up for auc tion with a starting bid of $225,000.

11 L.A. Focus/January 2023

This December the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations (LACCHR) released their detailed fifty-two page “2021 Hate Crime Report'' which provides statistical evidence to support what law enforcement offices and citizen groups have been raising concern about for the last several years— hate on the rise in Los Angeles. According to the report there was a 23 percent increase in reported hate crimes from the previous year, totaling 786— which is the most recorded since 2002. And though the numbers for 2022 have yet to be finalized and confirmed, L.A. Police Chief Michel Moore announced at a recent Police Commission meeting that hate crime reports are up another 13 percent from last year's record setting numbers.

Both the LACCHR report and the Police Commission found that of all the different targeted groups, black people were overwhelmingly the victims of the most hate related incidents. Although black people make up only 9 percent of the county’s population, the LACCHR reported that they made up a staggering 46 percent of racial hate crime victims, with Police Chief Moore reporting that another 279 crimes were reported against black people in 2022.

“I see anti-black rhetoric showing up implicitly and explicitly now more than ever in very disappointing ways,” says Jeff Tisch user, Senior Research Analyst for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). "There still exists a lot of groups in this country that are very organized, white power groups, that are just trying to kill people who have melanin (skin of color) and certain types of hair."

The SPLC is a national agency that monitors political and individual hate and extremist groups across the U.S. who bring any expression or act of hate upon oppressed people. “We are here to provide general guidance on how to speak about hate in communities,” explains Tischauser. “But nobody knows what’s good for the black

community like black people.”

To further understand how the existence of hate based activity has affected our community, L.A. Focus as part of the “Stop the Hate” initiative conducted our own survey with 340 readers, community members and parishioners sharing their attitudes and experiences relative to hate related activity.

Overwhelmingly, 71 percent of respondents reported feeling like the threat of hate crimes/incidents was more than it was five years ago. And while 65 percent of the survey respondents have experienced a hate crime, only 30 percent say they filed a report to law enforcement, and worse, 66 percent had little confidence that the police would view solving reported hate crimes as a priority.

“Law enforcement will let you know they hate you,” offered one survey respondent. Another went on to add, “Police officers act as if they are above the law.”

Circulating the L.A. Focus survey across several local Christian churches, it was no surprise to learn that pastors and parishioners alike reported having experienced incidents of hate, some as early as their elementary school years and others well into their elder age. Some indicated a wide range of incidents that included being racially profiled by police, being jumped by whites in grade school and college, chased by hate groups, being called racial slurs by total strangers while waiting at a bus stop or standing in the grocery store line, and even at the office by fellow professional colleagues.

“When I was a teen looking for a job, they said no n****s’ work at this hotel,” noted one respondent of the many that indicated in the survey that they have been called the “N word”. Of the respondents who gave written answers when asked whether they have experienced or witnessed a hate crime or hate speech, nearly 40 percent recalled experiences having the “N word” or other overt name calling hate speech aimed at them.

While the racial hate incidents Blacks have endured are staggering, the survey results also embodied Mi-

Congresswoman Karen Bass
We have to constantly remind the world that the number one victims of hate crimes are black people, and we don’t do it because we’re trying to win the oppression Olympics, but because we face a constant criminalization of blackness. So, by blaming the victim, which is always what has happened to us in this country, we’re perpetuating anti-blackness...

chelle Obama’s “when they go low, we stay high” mentality.

When asked if they harbor any ill will over another ethnicity, an overwhelming 88 percent of respondents said ‘no’.

“The church teaches us to love all,” says one respondent who noted facing hate incidents while on the job. “But I [still] have empathy for all.” Another survey participant chose the high road stating that they have “no ill will (against hate perpetrators), for God created us all the same.”

While it is impossible to put the cause of the uptick of hate activities on one particular event or person, many respondents believe the media is a significant contributor to the increasing rate of hate.

Survey participants credited the media, hate speech on TV, in music and on the internet as the biggest factors in the rise and spread of hate crimes.

54 percent say press coverage adds to the prevalence of the culture of hate, while 46 percent said press coverage helps people stay informed about what is going on when incidents of hate occur.

88 percent felt that media exposure further propagated incidents of hate. And moreover, of those who responded to the question “have they ever experienced hate speech online”, 66 percent responded in the affirmative.

The recent online comments made by Kanye West and Kyrie Irving that went viral resulted in both celebrities coming under fire and facing antisemitic accusations. Not only did the two suffer the loss of product endorsements, but they also had to contend with a backlash of slander being spewed from haters on multiple social media platforms.

“Anytime a high-profile person comes out and supports something as asinine as antisemitism it helps provide legitimacy to the hatred and evil ideology that’s been with us for so long, “says Jeff Tischauser. "It’s a falsehood and it undercuts a lot of things that historically point to today's civil rights leaders.”

Though there may be some correlations between the rise of anti-Semitic behavior and the antics of a celebrity like Kanye West, radio personality and activist Dominique DiPrima reminds us that putting the cause of the issue on one person is extremely problematic.

“No matter how you feel about [West], blaming him for the rise in anti-Semitism is a form of anti-blackness,” explains DiPrima. “When our Chief of Police came out and named Kanye as the cause of a spike in anti-Semitism without talking about the former President who has been race-baiting since day one, and the countless other hate groups like the ‘Proud Boys’ who have made anti-Semitism a pillar of their organization— it’s a form of blaming the victim and it’s a problem.”

Just as telling for DiPrima is the sentiment of a great number of her listeners who feel that the Kanye West situation confirms that hate speech is only taken seriously when it’s aimed at a group that isn’t black.

“When [West] was saying anti-black remarks like ‘white lives matter’ or that ‘slavery was a choice’, nothing really happened,” recalls DiPrima. “It was only when he started saying anti-Semitic things that there

began to have real consequences. It gives the impression that no one really cares about hate speech against black people.

“We have to constantly remind the world that the number one victims of hate crimes are black people, and we don’t do it because we’re trying to win the oppression Olympics, but because we face a constant criminalization of blackness. So, by blaming the victim, which is always what has happened to us in this country, we’re perpetuating anti-blackness”.

As documented incidents of hate have increased largely due to the abundance of resources and training law enforcement is now prepared with for these crimes, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), confirms that nearly half of all violent hate crimes are not reported to law enforcement and an even greater portion of hate incidents and nonviolent hate crimes go unreported.

And while the reasons for not reporting hate are many— including mistrust of law enforcement, believ-

incident,” says Officer Chow. “We want to know about these things because it allows us to get a feeling about what's going on in the community. Also, it gives us the ability to identify someone who was involved in a hate incident, and if they commit a hate crime later on it will be important for prosecution purposes to show a pattern of behavior.”

Former L.A. County Deputy District Attorney and current Victims’ Rights and Family Law Attorney Adrien Gidaya Roxas, of the law firm Roxas, APC, agrees that the first thing you should do is contact law enforcement.

“Law enforcement cannot act on the incident unless they are reported,” says Roxas. “Prior to contacting them, record the details of the incident on your phone such as what was said and done and how to identify the suspect— it can really make or break the case.”

When the hate event is occurring Roxas says that California law protects the right to intervene with force without liability, but only if certain very important criteria are met.

“You are allowed to use force in self-defense if you reasonably believe that you or another person is in imminent danger of physical harm and that force is necessary to stop the danger,” says Roxas. “However, there are three important things you must ask yourself before you decide that self- defense is necessary. The first is whether the danger of suffering bodily harm is immediate, or happening now, not in the future or past. Secondly, is it reasonable for you to use force and was it necessary at that moment. And thirdly, be sure that you are using reasonable force that is proportional to the attack. Self-defense laws won’t work for you if you use too much force than is necessary.

Roxas emphasizes his third point because he warns that he has seen the law work against people who step into a situation in defense but use too much force.

ing the incident may not important enough to be reported, believing there is nothing the police could do to help, and believing reporting the incident would bring more trouble for the victim, just to name a few— there is a common misunderstanding about the difference between hate crimes and hate incidences.

Because the right to free speech is protected by the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution, instances of hate such as name calling, insults, displaying hate material on your own property, posting hate material that does not result in property damage, and distribution of materials with hate messages in public places— are not technically crimes but referred to as hate incidents.

While hate incidents are not prosecuted and punished the way crimes such as assault, larceny, property damage, threats of violence, etc. are, LAPD Deputy Chief Blake Chow wants you to know that hate incidents are still reportable to law enforcement and he highly encourages you to do so if you are witness to or a victim of a hate incident.

“You can still be a victim of an instance of hate when there is no crime involved due to the protections of the first amendment. So, if someone sees a hate incident or is themselves a victim, it’s still a reportable

“For example, if someone were to tell me to go back to where I came from and punch me, I would be within my rights to punch back. I would not however be protected if I pulled out a baseball bat and beat them half to death,” says Roxas. “In that case I could potentially be prosecuted.”

While the law does protect against force in a situation of defense, Roxas advises to use nonviolent methods of defense whenever possible.

“There are steps you can use that are nonviolent, nonphysical, and much safer that can de-escalate situations,” says Roxas. “You can use what are known as the ‘five D’s’-- Direct, Distract, Document, Delegate, and Delay. Also consider carrying non-lethal weapons as a way of defense such as pepper spray, stun guns, or personal alarms.”

Though reporting an instance of hate is emotionally and mentally taxing, Roxas wants you to know that there are resources out there to support you or your loved ones in your time of crisis.

“If you are a victim of a hate crime or a hate incident, you're going to feel alone, alienated, isolated and even embarrassed,” says Roxas. “But I hope you feel empowered to take action because there are rights and protections under the law that are set up to support you.”

13 L.A. Focus/ January 2023


If you like a good thriller than you might want to check out “Missing” when it bows at theatres later this month starring Storm Reid and Nia Long. The film is actually a sequel of sorts to a critically successful 2018 film titled Searching, about a father (portrayed by Asian American actor John Cho) who uses all the technology at his disposal to search for his missing 16-year old daughter.

While the theme of the 2023 installment is similar, the movie takes on a fresh take. This time it’s the daughter (Storm Reid) who is searching for answers when her mom (Nia Long) goes missing while on vacation in Colombia with her new boyfriend.

Stuck thousands of miles away in Los Angeles, June (Storm Reid) creatively uses all the latest technology at her fingertips to try and find her before it’s too late. But as she digs deeper, her digital sleuthing raises more questions than answers…and


when June unravels secrets about her mom, she discovers that she never really knew her at all and finds that she may be in danger as well.

“It’s not like a direct sequel in the traditional sense,” says the film’s cowriter/co-director Nick Johnson of the roller coaster mystery. “We wanted this movie to be bigger and better in visual style. And inject as much of a youthful energy into it. So, telling the story about a child looking for her mom really presented great opportunities for that.”

At 19, Storm Reid pulls off a powerful performance as a teen not willing to give up on finding her mom. Missing is set for release on January 20.

Hometown: Atlanta

Age: 19

Breakout Role: 12 Years A Slave

Current Projects: Euphoria

Upcoming: “Missing (In theatres January 20)

At the age of 10, Storm Reid made her acting debut in 12 Years A Slave, but her breakthrough came in 2018 when she was cast for a lead role in “A Wrinkle in Time”, opposite Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Chris Pine. In the years since, she has been taking Hollywood by storm with roles in “When They See Us”, “The Invisible Man”, “The Suicide Squad” while landing high profile endorsement deals; and for the last three years playing the little sister to Zendaya in HBO’s critically acclaimed series, “Euphoria”.

On God choosing her career:

"'I wanna be on TV. I wanna be a superstar!' Since I know this is my passion and I feel like God chose this career for me, I just knew I was ready to do it."

Banner Year Ahead for Mary J. Mary J. Blige kicked off 2022 co-headlining Super Bowl LVI Half-Time show with Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent and following that up with the release of her 15th studio album, Good Morning Gorgeous, which earned her six Grammy nominations, including “album of the year”. But the Queen of Hip Hop Soul has proven that there are no limits to her talents and lately, her business sense.

The singer-turned-actress’ three-year old production company, Blue Butterfly, has scored a first-look nonscripted deal and a secondlook scripted deal with BET and a first-look scripted TV deal with Lionsgate.

“BET has been one of my biggest supporters throughout my career. Being able to now

for the type of content I will create, is something I am grateful and excited for,” said Blige. “We already have multiple projects in the works and there is much more to come.”

“We are proud to supercharge the portfolio of content through our collaboration with Mary J. Blige’s production company, Blue Butterfly,” said BET EVP Connie Orlando.

“Throughout her legendary career, Mary has blazed trails to become a global superstar. With Blue Butterfly, Mary develops awe-inspiring stories of the Black experience while uniquely using music to set the foundation.”

First up from her new deal is a talk show, The Wine Down, hosted by Blige and featuring–according to a press statement–some of the hottest, most outspoken, highly sought-after people in entertainment, sports, social media, and politics” for “raw, provocative, insightful, and real conversations over wine. Among other various TV and film projects in the works is the film, “Real Love” with Lifetime. Then of course, she will return to her starring role in Starz hit series, “Power Book II: Ghost” on March 17.

Real Housewives Drama

Federal authorities are seeking ten years of prison time for Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star Jen Shah, when she is formally sentenced on January 6. Attorneys for Shah– who pled guilty of wire fraud earlier this year–are requesting that her sentence be three years.

What is clear is that she will have to serve some time. In a recent filing,

Feds maintained that she was an integral leader of a wide-ranging telemarketing fraud scheme that victimized thousands. Shah recently wrapped filming on a third season of the show, but was a no show for the RHOSLC reunion show, posting on social media “that out of respect for the courts and a standing judicial order, I would not be in a position to discuss anything related to my legal case or sentencing.” Instead, she said she was focusing on family. In other real housewife news, word on the streets is that Phaedra Parks may be making a reality TV comeback, but not with the Real Housewives of Atlanta. Instead, she may be joining the cast of Married to Medicine given that her new boo is a doctor.

On the road again?

It’s been over seven years since Bill Cosby appeared onstage, but the now 85-year old comedian hopes to change all that next year and get back to what he loves best: the stage.

“When I come out of this, I feel that I will be able to perform and be the Bill Cosby that my audience knows me to be…there is “so much fun to be had in this storytelling that I do,” the entertainer told radio talk show host Scott Spears.

Two questions remain: who would pay money to see him and when, if ever, will his legal issues be over. Last year, Cosby was made to pay $500K to a woman who sued him for forcing her to perform a sex act on him when she was 16 and in a separate case, five women filed a lawsuit last month for sexual assault and battery in a New York court.

On activism:

I'm all about the equity work and being civically engaged to facilitate the integrity of life within a community, whether you're doing that politically or non-politically. I choose to do it non-politically. Hopefully, I can inspire my peers and the younger generations to try to make a change as well.

On her Euphoria co-star Zendaya:

She has become like my big sister. I’m able to reach out to her if I need anything, whether it’s talking about ‘growing up in Hollywood’ or just things that normal teenagers are going through. If I’ve ever needed advice, she’s always there.”

On fashion:

I’m a girl who loves a dress and some sneakers. I feel the most grounded, comfortable, and inspired in sneakers. Of course, I do live in tracksuits now.

Or if I’m feeling fancy, I’ll pull out a skirt and some sneakers. That’s what is so beautiful about sneakers–you can dress them up or down.

On the advice Oprah gave her:

Miss Oprah told me this while we were having a conversation when we were filming “Wrinkle [In Time]”; she said, “Don’t waste energy on things you can’t change in life when you can be using that energy on something else positive in your life.

On purpose:

"I'm a purpose-driven person and in everything that I do, if it doesn't match up with my morals and my values my mom taught me, then it's not something that I want to be a part of."

On balancing her education with her acting, endorsements and life:

I am trying to accomplish furthering my education and just being a regular, normal teenager at school, experiencing life, but then also running a production company and acting and being the face of brands. It becomes a lot and sometimes feels like I bit off a little more than I can chew, but I always have to remind myself: I wouldn’t be in a position to be doing these things if I couldn’t handle it.

14 L.A. Focus/ January 2023
StormReid Footnotes
Chez Hadley Plane January 13 A Snowy Day In Oakland January 20 Shotgun Wedding January 27
House Party January 13

RedCarpet Style

Eye On Gospel

Kanye West is Billboard’s top gospel artist of 2022 Billboard Magazine closed out 2022 with its annual year-end music recaps and Kanye West came out on top as the number one male artist of the year powered by the success of his second faith-based album, Donda, which ranked as number one on the year-end top gospel albums chart. This marks the second year straight that the artist–who has been mired in controversy over his anti-Semitic rantings – has come out on top in the category. West also ranked as the top male Christian artist of 2022.

Donda is second to only Jesus Is King, West’s first gospel release, as the longest reigning titles in the history of the Top Gospel Albums chart. Plus, West holds the Nos. 1 and 2 positions of the year on the year-end streaming-, airplay and sales based Hot Gospel Songs tally with “Praise God” at No. 1 and “Hurricane” at No. 2.

CeCe Winans took the title of Billboard’s top female gospel artist of the year, thanks to the success of her 2021 album, Believe For It: A Live Worship, which was at number three on the Top Gospel Albums year-end tally. Marking her ninth #1 hit, the album spent seven weeks in the top slot and all of 2022 in the top 10.

The Atlanta-based worship collective Maverick City Music ranked as Billboard’s top duo/group of 2022. Their release, Old Church Basement, bowed at number one in May of 2021 and has remained in the top three for the whole of 2022.

Brent Jones Heads to Europe

Riding high on the success of his hit single "Nothing Else Matters", Stellar award winning artist Brent Jones jetted to Europe last month to headline the Italy Gospel Festival. The largest of its kind in Europe, the 8-day festival features the best gospel choirs and choruses from

around the globe.

Said Jones, "When we kicked off the new album prerelease tour in Alaska in May, 'Nothing Else Matters' hadn't gone to radio yet but with the great success of the song, that initial tour has now morphed into a fullfledged 100-city Nothing Else Matters tour that’s booked into this Spring.

“We're so excited to add Italy & Switzerland to the Tour and I definitely want to express gratitude to my singers who are sacrificing the holidays at home with loved ones to help me share the gospel of Jesus Christ to Europe - ya'll are the best," said Jones.

"Nothing Else Matters" is the highly anticipated follow-up to "Open Your Mouth and Say Something", which topped the Billboard charts for over 54+ weeks, earning widespread critical acclaim and mul tiple award nominations including the 2019 Dove Award and 2019 Stellar Award.

Jacky Clark Chisholm Showcases Another Talent

As a member of the legendary Clark Sisters, Jacky Clark-Chisholm is a gospel icon, but you won’t hear her latest project on the radio. In stead, Clark-Chisholm is playing to another one of her talents with the recent release of a cookbook.

Clark-Chisholm–who is well known for her culinary skills among family and friends–was encouraged to write the cookbook by her daughter who while visiting on one occasion, taped her Mom whip ping something up in the kitchen and posted it to social media. The post garnered 13,000 views and Clark-Chisholm was persuaded to host a weekly cooking show which led to viewer requests for her to pen a cookbook.

“The cookbook was put together to help people who don’t know anything about cooking but want to learn,” said Clark-Chisholm of the book that also shares seasoning tips and some of her family favorites.

“Cooking with Auntie Jacky” is available for purchase on Amazon, Target and Barnes and Noble sites.

Shekinah Glory Ministry Returns with New Project

Shekinah Glory Ministry (known for gospel classics such as “Praise is What I Do” and “Yes”), teamed up with an urban producer on the rise, Avehre, to release a four-song digital EP, The Artist Project, Vol. 2 (Kingdom Records). The set of songs, now available on all digital music platforms, features bright but overlooked talents who deserve the public’s attention. Avehre is a protégé of soul music legend, Gladys Knight, and he is making noise in urban circles with his slick productions. The focus radio single, “Live Up,” is a lite, upbeat track with R&B flavored programming. It’s led by the Kansas City sister act, Tobbi & Tommi, who have done background vocals for a who’s who in music ranging from Chaka Khan to Patti LaBelle. They were the featured vocalists on Donald Lawrence & Company’s ’s gospel rendition of Khan’s classic “Through the Fire” on the group’s bestselling album, YRM (Your Righteous Mind), in 2011. Then, Bebe Winans showcased them on his 2017 No. 1 gospel hit, “He Promised Me.” The sisters’ soulful voices glisten and shine brilliantly on “Live Up.”

THUSO MBEDU paired a tweed jacket, with a patterned vest, white sweater and orange slacks ISSA RAE stood out in this shimmery lavendar Hervé Leger gown with fringe YVONNE ORJI sported this purple velvet blazer withmetallic paisley print wide-leg pants JURNEE SMOLLETT is the picture of grace in this Giambattista Valli floral midi dress SANAA LATHAM was the picture of sophistocation in this gray pinstriped ensemble The Hollywood Reporter’s 2022 Women In Entertainment Gala drew some of the entertainment industry’s brightest stars, including Issa Rae, who was one of the honorees. Here are some of our favorite looks.

Through The Storm

“Despite A Devastating Stroke, Sinbad is Still Beating The Odds”

As fate would so appropriately have it, David Adkins (better known as “Sinbad”) began his career on “Star Search”. And from acclaimed stand-up comedy specials to roles in NBC’s “A

West Hills Medical Center and doctors performed a thrombectomy to remove the clot and restore normal blood flow to the brain. After surgery, Sinbad was talking and moving with some weakness, but the prognosis was very promising. The next day, however, another blood clot formed, half the size of the first. He underwent the same surgery again successfully, but it took a little more from him than the

He was transferred to Cedar Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles where the doctors indicated that his brain had begun to swell. They performed a craniotomy to relieve the pressure and reduce the swelling.

During surgery, however, the doctors discovered a bleed. It wasfore the family learnedbad

had returned to the Neuro-ICU in a medically induced coma and had been placed on a ventilator.

“Our hearts were devastated,” the family said. “The road to recovery became unclear and extremely difficult for the family to navigate.

“It would be weeks before he would open his eyes, speak, or show signs of basic mobility. It wasn’t long before we realized he couldn’t move his left side or simply hold his head up. The more time passed the more the family learned how much had been lost.”

For the next several months, Sinbad moved through acute care facilities where he was weaned off the ventilator and eventually cleared to start intense therapy. In May of 2021, he was admitted to California Rehabilitation Institute and began physical, occupational, and speech therapy. It was there that he began to make considerable progress toward recovery.

On July 7, 2021, nearly nine months after the initial stroke, the comedian was released from the hospital and allowed to go home where he continues to receive therapy, fighting for every inch. His family reports that his progress is nothing short of remarkable. Limbs that were said to be “dead” are coming alive and he’s taking the steps necessary to learn to walk again.

In his own words, Sinbad has said,"I am not done. I will not stop fighting until I can walk across the stage again.... I can’t wait to see you all again soon. As always, stay funky, stay prayed up.”

Given that survival odds from this type of event are approximately 30%, the family is encouraged by the fact that he has already beaten the odds, making significant progress beyond what anyone expected, though challenge still remain.

The costs of therapy far exceed what insurance

covers and it has taken its toll on the family financially. To that end, the family went public with the creation of a website (TheJourneyForward.life) for those wanting to lend their support and or contribute in some way. All contributions will go to the Adkins Trust to help provide for Sinbad’s care and help him continue to fight this battle. The family believes, without exception, Sinbad is here because of the multitude of prayers from all who know and love him.

“We are eternally grateful,” the family said. “Every outpouring of love and the memories of how he has touched all of you have not gone unheard, unseen, or unfelt. Thank you. You have lifted his spirits along the way and inspired the entire family.”

About Strokes

Strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of disability. Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Every 3.5 minutes, someone dies of stroke. Nearly 1 in 4–are in people who have had a previous stroke and approximately 87% of all strokes are ischemic strokes, in which blood flow to the brain is blocked.

The risk of having a first stroke is nearly twice as high for Blacks as for Whites, and Blacks have the highest rate of death due to stroke.

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts (or ruptures). When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it and brain cells die.

Everyone should know the following signs and

symptoms of a stroke:

•Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.

•Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech.

•Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.

•Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination.

•Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that 80 percent of strokes are preventable. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, and diabetes are leading causes. Listed below are some things you can do to lower your chance of having a stroke:

•Know your blood pressure. Optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg. Work with your health care professional to manage it if it’s high.

•Don’t smoke or vape and avoid secondhand smoke

•Eat healthy foods low in saturated fat, trans fat and sodium (salt).

•Reduce sugary drinks

•Do regular physical activity

•Keep a healthy weight

•Limit alcohol to one drink a day for women; two drinks per day for men

•Take medications as directed

•Reduce stress

•Have regular medical checkups, including assessment of your risk for stroke

•Get adequate sleep, 7-9 hours of sleep per night for adults; more for children and kids.

Survey Finds GOP Making Headway with Black Voters

The support base of Republican candidates by Black voters has jumped six points from 8% to 14% since the last midterm elections four years ago according to AP VoteCast, which conducted an extensive national survey of the electorate.

There is concern that the rising numbers could spell trouble for Democrats in 2024 in states like Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania particularly in a close race where turning out the Black vote is key and given the fact that Republican candidates in some key states grew their base of Latino voters.

The survey found that those Black voters aligning with the GOP believe that the party’s priorities resonate more with them than those of Democrats

Here are some facts about Black Republicans based on recent Pew Research Center surveys.

•Around three-in-ten Black Republicans (28%) are ages 18 to 29 — higher than the share among Black Democrats (17%);

•Black Republicans are about as likely as Black Democrats to live in upper-income (12% vs. 10%) or middle-income households (37% vs. 40%);

•Roughly half live in the South;

•Black Republicans are less likely than Black Democrats (22% vs. 34%) to attend predominantly Black Protestant churches;

•Black Republicans are less likely than Black Democrats (44% vs. 73%) to say racial discrimination is the main reason Black people can’t get ahead in the U.S., and they are more likely to say Black people who can’t get ahead are mostly responsible for their own condition (45% vs. 21%);

•Black Republicans are about as likely as Black Democrats (39% vs. 45%) to say equality for Black people in the U.S. is a little or not all likely.

The L.A. County Office of Education (LACOE) will soon announce its choice for the next County Administrator for the Inglewood Unified School District (IUSD). In the job description applicants were told “the district has made significant strides toward recovery and is within 3-4 years of being able to meet the minimum milestone for self-governance, offering the successful candidate a rare leadership opportunity.”

If history is any indication, IUSD has had eight State/County Administrators (including 3 interim) in a little over 10 years. The odds are against the ninth administrator being around to coordinate IUSD’s transition back to local control.

The IUSD Board of Education should be selecting the next leader for the school district, not LACOE. But, in 2012 facing the possibility of insolvency, Senate Bill 533 authorized a state loan and gave the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI), Tom Torlakson control over IUSD. In 2018, Assembly Bill 1840 transferred authority to LACOE Superintendent Debra Duardo.

Since 2012, IUSD’s five-member board has been serving in an advisory role to the revolving door of appointed State and County Administrators.

Existing laws governing receivership say that a school district will regain control when it shows adequate progress in implementing the recommendations of a comprehensive review conducted by the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance (FCMAT) in five operational areas (financial management, personnel management, community relations and gov-

ernance, facilities management, and pupil achievement).

FCMAT is an independent and external state agency that provides financial management assistance and general consulting to the state’s school districts. Their latest review of IUSD generated 885 recommendations for implementing 153 operational standards spread across the five operational areas.

IUSD has achieved proficiency in just two of the FCMAT operational areas — governance and personnel managementafter 10 years under State and County control. Existing laws give Duardo, with the concurrence of SPI Tony Thurmond and State Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond, the power to determine when IUSD can resume local control. However, many Inglewood residents familiar with the school district believe it’s Duardo’s choice of administrators that are failing to conform with FCMAT standards.

The nine reviews FCMAT conducted show that constant turnover of leader-

ship and the number of poor leader choices by the State and County have led to inconsistency in developing and executing effective recovery plans for IUSD, stunted academic progress for the students, and inadequate maintenance of IUSD facilities.

When Torlakson took over IUSD, he said, “The State Administrator will control the district until fiscal insolvency has been eliminated, between 2 - 6 years.”

The commentary I wrote titled, “After 10 Years it’s Time to Return Control of Inglewood Schools to the Community,” showed that ten years of state intervention is not a guarantee that a school district in receivership will be better managed. While existing law mandates that the state controls IUSD to protect its $29 million loan, the opportunity cost to IUSD of the state’s mismanagement has been significantly more than the amount it borrowed.

For example, before receivership, the Los Angeles World Airports agreed to fund noise mitigation measures not to exceed $118.5 million. The State/County Administrators who took over have only secured $44 million of the funding, leaving $74.5 million on the table.

City Honors High School is a dependent charter school run by IUSD that was recognized by U.S. World and News Report as a silver-medal finalist. When the Charter Schools Facilities Program was awarding grants for charter school construction, Don Brann, who Torlakson had appointed to oversee IUSD, didn’t apply for a state grant. But, DaVinci Charter schools which Brann helped found in the

Wiseburn Unified School District located next door to IUSD applied and was awarded a $52.7 million grant. Had IUSD applied for a grant for a City Honors building it would have been ahead of DaVinci in line for the limited funds.

Since 2012, IUSD has paid FCMAT about $2.6 Million for 9 yearly comprehensive reviews, an expense mandated by the statue authorizing the loan and paid from the district’s General Fund.

IUSD is no longer in financial trouble. According to the latest 2022-23 budget projections, it will have a positive ending General Fund balance of $94.5 million and positive ending cash balance of $83.7 million. IUSD owes $19.6 million on its state loan.

In a recent review FCMAT conducted, LACOE admitted that IUSD had made little annual progress and is no closer to recovery today than two years ago.

IUSD has gone without local control longer than any school district that’s taken a state loan. It can no longer afford the compromised quality of education being delivered to students by LACOE’s management.

The IUSD community has been expressing its frustration at school board meetings about the quality of the schools the last 10 years, but LACOE lacks the management judgment to effectively respond to community concerns.

Schools LACOE operates not including IUSD, lead all California with the largest gap between Black and White students meeting states standards on the 2022 Smarter Balanced Assessments in

JOE W. BOWERS JR. CA Black Media
Commentary: Inglewood Calls on Legislators to Return Local Control to City’s Schools Continued to page 24 8704 W. FIGUEROA STREET, LOS ANGELES, CA 90003 For information, call

What California Seniors 50+ Need to Know About Latest Vaccine

Physicians and public health officials are raising alarms about a “tripledemic” happening as the holiday travel season approaches. Communities around California are susceptible to infection by new COVID-19 variants, the seasonal flu, and the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).

People who are vulnerable to serious infection, especially those over age 50, are encouraged to get the updated bivalent COVID vaccine and this year’s flu vaccine.

“Young babies, our older patients, and of course people who have complications from things like diabetes or heart disease, or people who have obesity, people who have immuno-compromised symptoms, these people are very vulnerable,” said Dr. Sharon Okonkwo-Holmes a Kaiser Permanente family practice physician during an informational event at the Yvonne B. Burke Senior & Community Center in Los Angeles. “The CDC is really recommending that you get your flu vaccine at the same time as your COVID vaccine.”

The flu vaccine, which changes every year to protect against the flu strains most likely to circulate in the coming season, appears to be “a very good match” according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

However, data shows fewer people are getting vaccinated, including fewer pregnant women, seniors, and children.

RSV is a common respiratory virus

that usually causes mild cold-like symptoms. Although it is not dangerous for most people, it can cause serious problems, especially in infants and seniors. No vaccine is currently available for RSV.

COVID-19, flu and RSV share many of the same symptoms, leading to confusion about which course of treatment to take.

The first action people should take if they are not feeling well is to isolate and do a home test for COVID. An infected person may test negative on the first day of symptoms.

“In early infections, the home test may not pick it up right away, but it will pick it up on day two or day three,” said Okonkwo-Holmes. “Keep your mask on, try and stay in your room... On days one to five, you really do want to avoid exposure with everyone else because you are shedding virus... By day five, you’re considered to be okay. If you're not having fever for two days, go ahead and put your mask on and you can go out into the community, but we're still asking you to keep your mask on until day ten.

People over 50 should strongly consider getting vaccinated for Shingles, a viral skin condition causing blisters and a burning or tingling sensation that can last for weeks.

Shingles and associated inflammation can cause complications, including long term nerve pain, vision loss, and has also been linked to increased risk for stroke and dementia. The two-dose shingles vaccine, Shingrix, is recommended

for all people over the age of 50 and people who are 19 and older with a weakened immune system due to disease or medication.

“If you've ever had chickenpox as a kid, when you're 50 you should ask your doctor for your shingles shot,” said Okonkwo-Holmes.

Doctors know that three shots at the same time can be too much for some patients. But due to the urgency of the situation, doctors are recommending getting the flu and COVID vaccine together.

“Right now, we're seeing more COVID, number one, flu, number two, then shingles. So, if you want to put off that third one, then go ahead and put off the shingles one... Get your COVID and flu shots at the same time,” OkonkwoHolmes said.

Communities of color have been hit especially hard by the pandemic because of “social determinants of health,” like where we live, the types of jobs we have, and our level of the stress hormone cortisol.

“The stress that we endure in America, it has an impact on our cells,” said Okonkwo-Holmes. When society treats you differently, when you are profiled, when the police are following you, when you hear bad news in the media about another person who has been killed who looks like us... It raises our blood pressure; it also raises a [stress] hormone in our bodies called cortisol... It makes us more susceptible to things like diabetes,

hypertension, heart disease, [and] stroke... So, I would argue that a lot of the systemic racism and microaggressions in our society are directly impacting our DNA and impacting our health... The racism is making us sick.”

For our communities to stay healthy, we must take action. “For me, action means trying to sleep well, avoiding alcohol, avoiding smoke [including] marijuana, trying my hardest to eat well.”

As for stress, Dr. Okonkwo-Holmes recommends laughter. “Go ahead and laugh out loud and have some enjoyment, go on long walks 30 minutes a day and spend time with people who make you feel good.”

As Black communities continue to navigate the pandemic, it is important to use the tools available to keep us as healthy as we can.

Okonkwo-Holmes believes people should wear masks indoors, even though it is not currently a requirement in many places, we should stay up to date with vaccinations to prevent serious illness and hospitalization, and if a COVID infection is acquired, get one of the available treatments, which most seniors will qualify for and usually tolerate well.

“None of my patients have had severe complications at all from treatments,” said Okonkwo-Holmes. “You don't want to stay really sick. If you don't feel well and you're having difficulty breathing. You want to get to the hospital right away or call 911.”

Pastor Shep Crawford Celebrated by City of Refuge; Appointment of Bridgeforth Sparks Division

ordination of self-avowed practicing homosexuals. McClendon warned that such decisions increase "the likelihood of further fracturing of the denomination.

Since the filing, 964 people signed onto McClendon's complaint against the Western Jurisdiction bishops in agreement.

In other local news, the Board of Elders at the University Christian Church–located in Ladera Heights– has accepted the resignation of Senior Pastor Rudy Hagood. The pastor announced during a recent service that he would be stepping down from the post. The elders subsequently hosted a congregational meeting on December 18 to address concerns and answer questions.

Agape Church of Los Angeles

Worship Center: Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center 4305 Degnan Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90008

Corprate Office: 4602 Crenshaw Blvd, Suite 2A, Los Angeles, CA 90043 (323) 295-5571 www.agapela.org

Bishop Craig A. Worsham, Founder & Senior Pastor

Sunday School: 10:00am Morning Worship: 11:00am Loving, Lifting & Liberating Humanity Through The Word

Bethesda Temple Apostolic Faith 4909 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90043 (323) 299-2591 • thevoice4904@att.net

Pastor Kyron S. Shorter

Sunday Morning Prayer: 9:00am Sunday School: 9:30am

Morning Worship: 11:00am Children’s Church: 11:00am Sunday Evening Service: 6:00pm

Brookins-Kirkland Community AME Church

3719 West Slauson Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90043 (323) 296-5610 • www.bkcamechurchla.org

Last month, the City of Refuge celebrated the grassroots and community work that has become the hallmark of ECM Pastor Shep Crawford.

“He has done wonderful work with young men particularly on the gun violence thing and the issue with our OGs and young Gs, so we’re giving him an award for the work that does…boots on the ground,” said Bishop Noel Jones.” For the work he’s done in building people’s lives.”

With a motto that reads, “Out of the box, but in the world”, Pastor Shep and and his wife and co-pastor Shalonda Crawford say their goal is to “turn the Holy Scriptures into a modern day script through drama, music, dance, and most of all, current day language, so that their congregation may understand how each biblical story and lesson applies specifically to their lives.”

Crawford has worked diligently to preserve the peace of rival gangs on L.A.’s east side. Over the years, Crawford has hosted a number of events with rival gang members from the Crips & Bloods together.

Some of the gang members had been part of the 1992 gang truce and had held strong to that commitment of peace. Many had turned their lives around, were gainfully employed, providers of jobs, work training programs and other resources to help their communities. During these talks they expressed concern about being able to reach the younger gang members and through their experiences mentor them and help them to get on the right track. This became the primary focal point for the work ahead.

Understanding that there was a direct correlation between poverty & crime Pastor Shep has worked identify the needs of gang members and has witnessed how meeting those needs has helped to reduce the number of violent crimes in the community.

Says Crawford, “Many of these so called 'GangBangers' are actively working in our streets to bring about peace. I didn't start this movement, but I joined it. And it is time for the rest of the community to join and support these peacemakers, who are definitely needed to bring about significant change.”

Appointment of Bridgeforth to Bishopry Sparks Division

In November, the United Methodist Church’s Western Jurisdiction voted to make the Rev. Cedrick D. Bridgeforth of the California-Pacific Conference a bishop in their regional body. The move made Bridgeforth (who formerly pastored Grace United Methodist Church) the first openly gay African American bishop in the UMC. Last month, a United Methodist Church pastor filed a complaint over the decision, which is in defiance of denominational rules. The Rev. W. Timothy McClendon said the election of openly gay bishops undermined “all United Methodist clergy who uphold the highest ideals of the Christian life” and said it “sends a confusing message about the meaning of marriage to the community and potential parishioners.”

The UMC's Book of Discipline prohibits the

In national church news, the Brooklyn pastor who made headlines for being robbed at gunpoint of $1 million in jewelry during a church service in July, has been arrested for fraud, extortion and false statements.

The indictment charges Lamor Whitehead with defrauding one of his parishioners out of approximately $90,000 of her retirement savings, attempting to extort and defraud a businessman, and lying to the FBI.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “As we allege today, Lamor Whitehead abused the trust placed in him by a parishioner, bullied a businessman for $5,000, then tried to defraud him of far more than that, and lied to federal agents. His campaign of fraud and deceit stops now.”

Whitehead is charged with two counts of wire fraud, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; one count of extortion, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and one count of making material false statements, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Nondenominational Congregations Found to be the Largest Segment of American Protestants, Several Black Denominations Post Gains

The number of Americans who don’t identify with a specific religious tradition has grown from just 5 percent during the Cold War to around 30 percent today. According to new data recently released by the U.S. Religion Census, the number of nondenominational churches has surged by about 9,000 congregations over the course of a decade.

Accordingly, there are now five times more nondenominational churches than there are Presbyterian Church (USA) congregations. There are six times more nondenominational churches than there are Episcopal. And there are 3.4 million more people in nondenominational churches than there are in Southern Baptist ones.

The data also reveals that a lot of evangelical denominations saw a slight decline but their numbers didn’t plummet and some denominations posted gains, including Black denominations. The Church of God in Christ reportedly added more than 300 congregations between 2010 and 2020. The Christian Methodist Episcopal Church grew by about 150, and the Full Gospel Baptists by about 100

Rev. Mary S. Minor, DMin,Pastor

Sunday Church School: 8:00 AM and 11:30 AM

Sunday Morning Worship: 9:00 AM (in-person and virtual)

Thursday Bible Study with Pastor Minor (via Zoom): 6:00 PM

Please call the church office for virtual information.

Bryant Temple AME Church 2525 W. Vernon Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90008 (323) 293-6201 • F: (323) 293-0082

Pastor Dwaine Jackson

Sunday School: 8:15am Morning Worship: 9:15 am Bible Study (Tues): Noon Pastor’s Bible Study( Tues): 6:00pm

Calvary Baptist Church 4911 W. 59th Street,Los Angeles, CA,90056 (323)298-1605•F: (310) 568-8430 • calvarybaptistla.org

Rev. Dr. Virgil V. Jones

Sunday Prayer: 8:30am Sunday School: 9:30am Sunday Worship: 11:00am Wednesday Bible Study: 12:00pm & 7:00pm We are the Church on the Hill where the Light Shines Bright!

Crenshaw Christian Center 7901 South Vermont, Los Angeles, CA 90044 (323) 758-3777 • F: (323)565-4231 • www.faithdome.org Dr. Frederick K. Price

LiveWorship Service:Sun 10:30am,Tues 11:00am and 7:30pm at faithdome.org, Facebook, Roku, YouTube and the EIFM app (Download in Apple Store and Google Play)Website: faithdome.org Giving Options: Text to 28950, type EIFMO and amount you wish to give (ex.,EIFMO 50) or mail to: P.O. Box 90000, Los Angeles, CA 90009

Congregational Church of Christian Fellowship 2085 S. Hobart Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90018

Phone: (323) 731-8869 • F: (323) 731-0851 www.christianfellowshipla.org

Pastor James K. McKnight Sunday LiveStream: 10:00am (facebook.com/christianfellowshipla) Sunday Conference Call: 10:00am (310-372-7549 / code: 342408)

Tue/Thurs Morning Word & Prayer: 7:00am Wed. Bible Study w/ Elder Stephen Brown (701-802-5001 / code: 825252#

God’s Faithful Disciple of Jesus Christ/ Prayer Clinic & Deliverance Ministry

P.O. Box 561368, Los Angeles, CA 90056 (323) 293-7566 • www.gfdjc.org •gfdjc@att.net

Dr.Ruby I. Cottle, Ph.D., Pastor/Teacher Services every Friday: 7:00pm We meeet at:

St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church 3901 W. Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, Ca 90018

Watch Dr. Cottle on HBN TV Wed’s 7:30am

Channel 886 Dish,Smart TV Local Channel 35.2

Listen to Dr. Cottle Sundays on KJLH at 5:00am

Church News
Brooklyn Pastor Who Made Headlines Is Arrested
20 L.A. Focus/January 2023

Grant AME Church

10435 S. Central Avenue • Los Angeles, CA 90002 (323) 564-1151 • F: (323) 564-5027

Sunday School: 8am Worship: 9:30am Wed. Bible Study: 11:30am •6pm

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) 703-5868 • www.holmanumc.com Email: holman@holmanumc.com

Rev. Dr. Ken Walden, Senior Pastor Sunday Worship: 8:00am & 11:00am Sunday Radio: KJLH 102.3FM at 11am Sunday School: 9:30am (Children/Youth) & 9:45am (Adults)

Bible Study: Every Thursday @ Noon We Gather,Grow,Go and Live the Gospel of Jesus Christ

McCarty Memorial Christian Church

4103 W. Adams Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90018 (323) 731-4131 • www.mccartychurch.org

Senior Pastor Edward Anderson

Sunday Worship: 10:45am Bible Study: Tues @12:30pm/Wed @6pm Zoom Call: (605) 472-5454 Access:188857 Online Stream Live: Sundays@10:45am to www.mccartychurch.org Give: Text 77977 Instagram@mccartyconnect

Mount Moriah Baptist Church of Los Angeles, Inc. 4269 South Figueroa St. Los Angeles, CA 90037 (323) 846-1950 •Fax: (323) 846-1964

Rev. Johnteris Tate-Pastor

Sunday Church School: 8:00am Worship Service: 9:15am Baptist Training Union: 7:00am Tues. Bible Study/Prayer: Noon & 7:00pm

Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church 3669 W. 54th St. Los Angeles, CA 90043 • (323) 291-1121 F: (323) 291-1133 • office@sinai.church • www.sinai.church George E. Hurtt, Pastor-Teacher

Sunday Worship: 8am,10am,Noon Tuesday Night in the Truth: 7:15pm Radio: KKLA 99.5 FM (Sun): 6:00pm All services stream live on our website, Facebook page and YouTube channel. During the pandemic, pre-registration is requested to attend in-person services.

Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church 1300 E. 50th Street Los Angeles, CA 90011 (323) 235-2103

Rev. Joshua Daniels, Pastor

Morning Worship: 10am (In Service and Online Live Stream Worship)

Sunday School: 8:45am

Wed. Bible Study: 7:00pm www.mtzionla.org

New Antioch Church of God in Christ 7826 So. Vermont Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90044 (323) 778-7965 • www.newantiochcogic.org

Superintendent Jeffrey M. Lewis

Sunday Early Worship: 8am

Sunday Morning Worship: 11am

Sunday School: 9:30am

Tuesday Bible Study: 11am

Wednesday In The Word: 7pm

All services streamed: Facebook and YouTube

@New Antioch Church of God In Christ

ONE LA Potter’s House Church 614 N. La Brea Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90036 (818) 763-4521 • hello@one.online

Pastor Touré and Sarah Roberts

The ONE Experience Online: Sundays: 7A |9A |11A |1P |6P Thursdays: 5P |8P (PST) @toureroberts @sarahjakesroberts @one.online



Kiara Manuel

Contributor KAREN A. BROWN

Carver Missionary Baptist Church

G“od, you are funny,” were the exact words that ran across Lady Kiara Manuel’s mind when she married her husband, Rev. Darnell Manuel, pastor of Carver Missionary Baptist Church of South Los Angeles, CA, over 10 years ago.

Originally from Indio in the Coachella Valley, Lady Kiara is the eldest of three children with three parents (including her bonus Mom and Dad) as preachers of the gospel both in the African Methodist Episcopal and the Baptist denominations. No wonder she never imagined that she would marry a preacher. She had experienced life in ministry her whole life. While ministering as a liturgical praise dancer at the California State Baptist Convention, she met Rev. Manuel, who was the guest preacher. “I praised danced before he preached but I didn’t stay to hear him. I had another engagement. I literally danced and then I left,” Lady Kiara laughs. A couple of years later, they met during another state convention event and soon began dat- ing. The rest is history.

Today, they have been serving in ministry on the corner of Hoover and 51st Street at the Carver Baptist Church for nearly 10 years. In that time, Kiara has watched children that she taught early on, grow up. “It just makes my heart smile. Being able to see people grow has been a great bless- ing,” said Lady Manuel.

The mother of five, including three year old twins, a six year old, an eight year old and an 18 year old, works full-time and says scheduling makes all the difference in her balanc ing it all,while adding, “I’m learning how to say no to some things”.

And to women who are new to the First Lady role, Manuel ad vises, “Be unapologeti cally you. Nobody can be you, better than you.”

Park Windsor Baptist Church 1842 W. 108th St. Los Angeles, CA 90047 (323) 756-3966 • RevTerrellTaylor@sbcglobal.net

Rev. Terrell Taylor

Morning Worship: 8:00am & 11:00am

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

Phillips Temple CME Church 973 East 43rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90011 (323) 233-4783

Rev. Dr. Darrell Wesley, Pastor Sunday Worship: 10am Bible Study: Wednesdays at Noon Online: Facebook.com/ PhillipsTempleCME.LosAngeles

St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church 5017 S. Compton Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90011 (323) 231-1040 • stmarkmbcofla.org

Reverend Dr. Lovely Haynes, Pastor

Sunday Worship: 8:30am

Sunday classes follow morning service

Tues Eve Family Prayer Line: 6:30pm

Wednesday Noon: Hour of Power Prayer line

Wednesday Bible Study: 6:00pm (Zoom & Facebook)

Sunday Exposition of Sunday School Lesson:10am

Trinity Baptist Church 2040 W. Jefferson Blvd., L.A., CA 90018 • (323) 735-0044 F: (323) 735-0219• trinitybaptistchurchofla.org

Rev. Alvin Tunstill, Jr

Sunday Worship Services: 10:30am YouTube: tv.trinitybaptist.cloud

Sunday Radio Broadcast KJLH-FM: 9am Wed. Night Virtual Bible Study: 7pm (Meeting ID: 480-271-5449.

Or call 1-699-900-6833; give zoom ID Sign-in at 6:55pmrchofla.org

Weller Street Baptist Church 129 S. Gless St, Los Angeles, CA 90033 (323) 261-0949 • F: (323)264-6601 • www.wellerstreetlive.com Pastor K.W. Tulloss

Sunday School: 8:00am

Sunday Morning Worship: 9:00am Tues. Bible Study: 6:45pm www.wellerstreetlive.com

West Angeles Church of God In Christ 3600 W. Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016 (323) 733-8300 • www.westa.org

Office Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30am-5:30pm

Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr., Senior Pastor Charles E. Blake II Co-Pastor

Sunday Service: 10:00am Sunday Radio Broadcast: KJLH 102.3 FM: 10:00am

Citizens of Zion Missionary Baptist Church 12930 No. Lime Ave., Compton, CA 90221 (310) 638-0536 • F: (323) 636-2080 • www.citizensofzion.org


In Compton

Rev. Bobby Newman, Jr., Senior Pastor; Rev. B.T. Newman, Pastor (Pastor Emeritus)

Service Time: 10:45 Virtual Worship: Youtube

90222 (310) 639-5535 • (Tues - Thurs 10am -4pm)

Dr. Michael J. Fisher, Senior Pastor Sunday Worship: 9:00am Online Wednesday Bible Study: 7:00pm FB: GreaterZionChurchFamily

Holy Chapel Missionary Baptist Church 1016 E. Rosecrans Avenue, Compton, CA 90220 (310) 537-3149 • www.holychapelbc.com

Rev. Dr. George L. Thomas

Morning Worship: 8:00am

Sunday School: 10:30am

Wed. Mid-Week Bible Study: 7:00pm

Sun. New Members’ Class: 10:45am

Communion/1st Sunday: 8:00am

Broadcast KALI 900AM - Sun:2-3:00pm

Love and Unity Christian Fellowship

1840 S. Wilmington Ave, Compton 90220

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 5449, Compton, CA 90224

Apostle Ronald C. Hill Sr., Founder/Pastor

Live Stream Sunday Worship:10am/6:30pm

Live Stream Bible Studies: Wed 7:30am & 9:00am

Live Stream Prayer w /Apostle Hill: Fri: 9am

Food For Your Soul TV Ministry

Impact TV Network: Mon-Fri PST 6:30am

The Word Network Fridays @ 12:30pm

Zion Church Family 2408 North Wilmington Avenue, Compton, CA
IG: GZCFamily www.gzcfamily.com

How did you come to be at Calvary?

I've been familiar with the church for a number of years. Coincidentally, when my son was in first grade, he attended a school not far from the church and I actually drove by the church every day picking him up. Calvary is a historic church that has thrived and been a beacon in terms of the African American community here in Santa Monica. The church had been in search of a pastor for some years and an interest form was sent to me by a very good friend. I talked about it with my wife and decided to apply. It was actually on September 22, 2018, when I was elected as Calvary's next pastor. What were you doing at the time?

I was a school principal, which I still am. What do you think the church needed and how did you fit the bill?

Stability and vision. I believe they needed transition into a modern era and I think my management background, my engagement with education and management of other teams in my life having been in private business and in ministry…I think those things have come into great fruition here.

Given that Santa Monica is for the most part an upscale, majority white community, are most of your people commuters or do you draw from the community?

We do have some folks who still live in Santa Monica. We have a lot of folks who are commuters from as far as Lancaster, Encino, Compton, Carson and L.A. and yes, many have had or have roots in Santa Monica. It was a thriving city for African Americans prior to the 10 freeway coming in. The 10 coming into Santa Monica displaced a number of African-American families. Even now, there are talks about reparations to address that historic issue.

In fact, weren’t many of your own members displaced?

I have two members, actually three. One who is 100, one is 101 and another who is 108. My 101 year old member is a deacon who is very much connected in Santa Monica. While the city was segregated to some degree there was opportunity for black folks to thrive. In fact, he was a black business owner and a former Santa Monica city commissioner. He actually has lived through a lot of that history.

What is your relationship to the community today? We do draw from the community and one of the things we try to do is make sure we connect by providing opportunities. During the pandemic, we did antibody testing and served over 2000 people who came from all over the community. We've worked with the Pink Journey Foundation to offer free mammograms for the underserved communities as part of our efforts to make these things available. We also work with the county of L.A. relative to foster care and we have a big Juneteenth celebration every year that is open to the community.

Another of the ways we have been involved is by staying connected with the various churches and synagogues despite their religious backgrounds. I am a member of the Santa Monica Interfaith Council and I serve as a chaplain for Santa Monica Police Department. Those are a few of the ways that we try to

remain connected and draw people who live nearby.

Calvary has been blessed with a great location… Yes, there's a lot of foot traffic and economic benefits to where we are. We are able to lease out our parking lot to businesses during the day who work with us when there's other activities here at the church. We are also able to serve the community in terms of a multi-functional center. We have also opened our sanctuary for folks who just may want to come inside and pray during the day, and people do take advantage of that.

How did you get involved in ministry?

My father was a pastor. My grandfather was a pastor.

I was a musician. I played for churches and served as a ministry of music for 27 years before I came to Calvary. I always knew in my heart that God had called me to preach and felt that one day I would serve as a pastor.

I think I've been in ministry in various ways for many years albeit being supportive with people who I've worked with singing and ministering in prisons with other groups. Over time, I think there was an evolution in my heart that said that this is what God wants me to do and it's probably the most satisfying thing I've done in my life.

What were the challenges for you taking over this church?

One of the challenges has to do with the unknown. I felt that I was walking into something where I didn't have the clearest picture possible. Of course, some things you figure out as you go along. Calvary is a beautiful building, but it's an old building, so it needs lots of repair and updating and that has been a challenge, but it’s also something I like to do. I consider myself a builder so building things and making them better is something I love. Also, the people here have been through a lot in terms of various pastors and things that have gone on, so they are in a place of growth and finding ways to trust and I think we have come a long way.

What have you learned about yourself as you have evolved as a pastor?

It has taught me to be as gracious as possible, as patient as possible, as understanding as possible, as generous as possible and the role of pastor has helped me understand putting those things into action on a daily basis. I think it has also taught me to embrace the uncomfortable and to push beyond what I believe my limits are. That area of growth is an ongoing thing for me, and I really, really appreciate the opportunity.

What would you say is your biggest strength?

I think my secret sauce is loving people. I don't have a boundary or line that I draw based on who you are, what you are or where you've been. It's my job to embrace everyone, and I'm not afraid to do that.

Is there anything folks would be surprised to find out about you?

They would probably be surprised at my varied pace in activities. I've surfed, raced motorcycles, flown airplanes, written books, produced music.

Is there a persistent theme you want to drive home with people on Sundays?

Love. You would hear me say very often that “A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another as I have loved you...By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, when you have love for one another”–John 13:34-35.

Four to five years in, do you think you are the right fit for this church and if so, why?

I do. I believe that I still have energy to get the work done, and my plan is for the next generation. So, the work that I'm doing now, I'm doing so that when I'm no longer here, so that it can continue to grow.

What is your five year plan for the church?

It is the maximization of our property holdings, the modernization of both of our facilities and the internal growth of our membership. I always say that membership grows from the inside out. And finally, I believe in investing in people and it is the people if they are educated, their growth is cultivated both spiritually and physically. That is how we build a sustainable ministry program that lasts beyond me.

14527 S.


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 4725 S. Gramercy Place, Gardena, CA 90249 (310) 715-8400

Morning Worship/Livestream:10:00 am Hispanic Ministry

Worship/Livestream:12Noon Word Power Wednesday/Livestream: 7:00pm

The CROSSWORD with Pastor Cross: YouTube

Atherton Baptist Church

2627 W. 116th Street Hawthorne,CA 90250

(323) 757-3113 • www.athertonbc.org

F: 323-757-8772 • athertonbaptist@sbcglobal.net

Pastor Larry Weaver

In Hawthorne

Sunday Morning Worship: 8:00 & 11:00 am

Sunday Bible Enrichment Class: 9:45am

Mon.-Thurs. Bible Study: 7:00pm

Wednesday Bible Study: 12:30pm & 7:00pm

Bible Enrichment Fellowship International

400 E. Kelso, Inglewood, CA 90301

(310) 330-4700 • www.bamcm.org

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

In Inglewood

Sat Marriage & Family Prayer: 7:30am

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

Pastor Wendy Howlett

Sunday Morning Worship & Word: 9:30am Wednesday Prayer & Bible Study: 7:00pm View Sunday Worship: www.youtube.com (Under Blessed Family Covenant Church)


Center of Hope LA 9550 Crenshaw Blvd., Inglewood, CA 90305 #centerofhope•#cohla•Info@GO2HOPE.com Give: Text COHLA to (833) 246-7144

Pastor Geremy L. Dixon

Service Times: 8:00am & 10:00am Watch Via: Facebook|YouTube|Live Stream Closer To People...Closer To God! www.GO2Hope.com

Faithful Central Bible Church

333 W. Florence Ave. Inglewood, CA 90301 (310) 330-8000 • F: (310) 330-8035

Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer, Ph.D.

Senior Pastor/Teacher

Sunday Services: 7:00 am & 9:30am

Wed. Mid-Week Service: 7:00pm

The Tabernacle is located at 321 N. Eucalyptus Ave., Inglewood www.faithfulcentral.com

Jacob’s Ladder Community Fellowship, inc.

1152 E. Hyde Park Blvd., Inglewood, CA 90302 (866) 330-1702 • F: (310) 674-0760

Watchman/Shepherd Dr. Robert T. Douglas Sr.

Sunday Fresh Start & Prayer 9:00am

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 www.jacobladderschurch.com

Pastor Profile: Mack Mossett
Church: Calvary Baptist Church, Santa Monica How Long at church: 4 years Hometown: Los Angeles Family: Married 30 years to wife Edwina, two adult children The City of Refuge San Pedro St, Gardena, CA 90248 516-1433 Bishop Noel Jones In Gardena Pastor David W. Cross

From the Pulpit:

“Creating the Abundant Life” Martin Luther King, Jr., 1954

t is a very common thing to see people wandering into the world looking for life. They never get it. What they get is existence. Existence is something that you find; life is something that you create. Existence is the mere raw material from which all life is created. Therefore, if life ever seems worthwhile to you it will not be because you found it that way, but because, by the help of God, you made it so. Life is not something that you find. Life is something that you create.

It was always Jesus' conviction that life is worth living and that men through the proper adjustment and attitudes could create a meaningful life. On one occasion Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” Yet in spite of Jesus' words, we are confronted with the tragic fact that so many people today are disillusioned about life. Suicides are quite prevalent, and frustration and bewilderment are on the march. So many people today have decided to cry with Shakespeare's MacBeth: “Life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Others have decided to cry with Paul Lawrence Dunbar,

“A crust of bread and a corner to sleep in; A minute to smile and an hour to weep in; A pint of joy to a peck of trouble, and never a laugh that the mourns came double; and that is life,”

Still others have decided to cry with the philosopher Schopenhaur that “life is a tragic comedy played over and over again with slight changes in costume and scenery.”

Why is it that so many people have taken this attitude?

I think one reason among others is that many of us fail to see that life is largely what we make it, by the help of God. Many of us are unhappy and disillusioned about life because we are looking for it to be handed to us on a silver platter. But it doesn't happen like that. Life is not something you find. Life is something you create.

Now we may well ask how do we create this abundant life that Jesus came to bring? What should we do and what attitudes should we develop to make life worth living.

First, if we are to create the abundant life we must give ourselves to some great purpose and some great cause that transcends ourselves. This is what Jesus meant when he said he who loseth his life shall find it. In other words, he who loseth his life in some great purpose or cause transcending himself shall find his life.

This giving of oneself to some purpose transcending oneself might take place through ones life's work, provided that this life's work is decent and honest. Every man should learn to love his job. And there is a joy and

True Friendship Missionary Baptist Church

7901 South Van Ness Ave. Inglewood, CA 90305

(323) 750-7304

Rev. James A. Perkins

Sunday School: 9:30am

Early Worship: 8am

Morning Worship: 10:45am

Bible Adventure Hour (Tues): 6pm

Bible Study (Tues): 7pm

Bible Study (Thurs): Noon

Antioch Church of Long Beach

350 Pine Ave. ,Long Beach, CA 90802 (562) 591-8778 •www.antiochlb.com

Senior Pastor Wayne Chaney, Jr.

an eternal satisfaction that comes out of a job well done.

Whatever your life's work may be, I admonish you to consider it significant. If God has endowed you with some great and extraordinary talent, use it well. If God has endowed you with just ordinary talent use that well, for ultimately God's standard of measurement is not in terms of how much we have but what we do with what we have.

The words of Douglas Malloch are relevant still:

If you can't be a pine on the top of the hill, Be a shrub in the valley.

But be the best shrub on the side of the hill.

Be a bush if you can’t be a tree.

If you can't be a highway, just be a trail.

If you can't be the Sun, be a star.

It isn't by size that you win or you fail.

Be the best of whatever you are.

Discover your calling, then give your heart, soul and mind to it and thereby life will present you with meaning that you never thought was there.

A second thing that is necessary to make life worth living is to live every day to our highest and best selves. We don’t have to go very far in life to see that it is possible to live to our lowest and worst selves. We all observe within ourselves something of what psychiatrists call Schizophrenia or split personality…a conflict between what we actually are and what we ought to be.

The “isness” of our present natures is out of proportion with the eternal “oughtness” forever confronting us.9

This is what the apostle Paul meant when he talked of the conflict between flesh and spirit. This is what he meant when he “the good that I would, I do not, and the evil that I would not, I do.”

This is what Saint Augustine meant when he said, “Lord make me pure, but not yet.”

The conflict between what we know we ought to be and what we actually are is one that confronts us all. The wider the gap is between our higher selves and our lower selves, the more disintegrated we are; the less meaning we find in life. The more we live up to our higher natures, the more integrated we are and the more meaning we find in life.

Any man who lives out of harmony with his higher nature, is living out of harmony with his true essence, and such dishar mony brings unhappiness and cynicism. Such with the plight of that “Prodigal Son” who had gone into a far country and wasted all, living on the low and evil planes of existence. But then one day out in a swine pasture he came to himself. He came to see that the life that God had given him was too precious to throw away in low and evil living, and he knew that so long as he remained there he would

Christ Second Baptist Church 1471 Martin Luther King, Jr., Ave. Long Beach, CA 90813 (562) 599-3421 • Fax: (562) 599-6175 • www.csbclb.org

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: 7pm

be frustrated and disillusioned, finding no meaning in life.

My friends, when I see how we often live our lives in selfishness and hate envy and jealousy I find myself saying, man is not made for that. Man is a child of God, made for the stars, created for eternity, born for the everlasting, and so long as man lives out of harmony with this high calling he will find life a frustrated and meaningless drama played over and over again with slight changes in costume and scenery.

The third thing we must do to create the abundant life is to choose to have an abiding religious faith. In other words, we must have a lasting faith in God.

H. G. Wells was right, “the man who is not religious begins at nowhere and ends at nothing, for religion is like a mighty wind that breaks down doors and knocks down walls and makes that possible and even easy which seems difficult and impossible.”

Religion keeps alive the conviction that life is meaningful and that there is purpose in the universe. Religion gives the individual a sense of belonging. It instills the awareness that in all of his struggles man has cosmic companionship.

On the surface it might appear that religion is a sort of unnecessary pastime, which we can do without. But then one day the tidal waves of confusion roll before us; the storms and winds of tribulation beat against our doors, and unless we have a deep and patient faith, we will be blown asunder.

You see religion doesn't guarantee us that we won’t have any problems and difficulties. What religion does is to give us the power to confront the problems of life with a smile.

Religion does not aim to save us from the troubles and reverses of life, these come alike to all; but it aims to support us under them and to teach us the divine purpose in them.

Religion does not say that everything which happens to us is good in itself, but it does say that if you love good properly, all things work together for good. It assures us that although we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, God is there. It assures us that life has meaning because God controls the process of

In our scientific age there is a great temptation to usher God out of the universe. We are prone to believe that only that exists which we can see and touch and feel,– i.e. things which we can apply our five senses to. But this is certainly false.

Science can never make God and unseen realities irrelevant, for in a real sense the everything that we see owes its existence to something we do not see. You may see my body, but


In Long Beach

Online Services Stream live: Sun 10:00am at antiochlb.com

Give: text antiochib to 77977

Social Media: facebook.com/antiochlb instagram.com/antiochlb youtube.com/antiochlongbeach

Grant AME Church of Long Beach 1129 Alamitos Av. Long Beach, CA 90813 • (562) 437-1567 grantamelb@aol.com

Rev. Dr. Michael W. Eagle, Sr.

Sunday Worship: 10:45am

Wednesday Food Bank: 9:00am-Noon

Mothers of Murdered Youth/Children: Thurs by Appt.; (B.U.S) Blankets, Underwear, Shoes: Thursdays Facebook Live•YouTube•Free Conf Call

& Leshia Brooks
Walking In The Spirit Ministries
Tree (Sonoma Grill)
Norwalk Blvd, Norwalk CA 90650 (213) 248-6343 P.O Box 1597 Norwalk CA,90651 Tim
& 4th
and Free
Served Bible
8:30am (Every 5th
Morning Worship:
Services Held Every 2nd
Breakfast Is
I Call 310.677.6011 Ask for Kisha 23 L.A. Focus/January 2023

Chef Spotlight

Adrienne McDaniels

They say necessity is the mother of invention. It couldn’t be more true for Chef Adrienne (McDaniels) whose business was launched following the health issues of her third child.

“She constantly had to go to the hospital, so I had to stop working and come up with a way of providing more funds for the household. I believe the Lord told me to open a restaurant,” said McDaniels, who learned to cook from her grandmother. “I said with what money? And He said he would provide”. She found a 2000-square foot location in Pasadena and the owner was persuaded to rent the space to her for $5 a week. That, for McDaniels, confirmed that the move was God-inspired.

Award-Winning Chili with Kidney Beans Recipe

1/2 Ib 80/20 Ground Beef

1/2 Ib Beef Stew Meat

1/2 lb Beef Short Rib Deboned

2 Bulbs of Garlic

1/2 bunch of Garlic

Today, the Pasadena native has a thriving catering business dubbed “the Adrienne Experience”. Customer favorites include her seafood boil and homemade seasoning blend; creole neck bones over rice with shrimp and chicken; Thai coconut shrimp and seafood sausage made with smoked salmon, scallops, shrimp and crab meat. But she is best known for her deep fried collard greens and she and her husband recently acquired a food truck.


“I rented that from him for about four years until I realized I really didn't understand how to run a restaurant, so I went back to culinary school and became a professional

“I've been doing some deep fried collard greens that I do as well as meat pies, jerk meat pies are some of the special things we do on the truck. Also, I'm creating a spice blend and sauces we will be selling as well.”

You can follow Chef Adrienne on Instagram@ chefadriennemcdaniels.

3 cups of Kidney Beans

1 cup Refried Beans

1/8 cup Cumin

1/8 cup Chili powder

Ingredients: Directions:

2 bell peppers

1 large Onions

3 1/2 stalks of Celery

1 1/4 Jalapenos

Seasoning Salt TT

2 1/2 cups Diced Tomatoes

1/4 cups Mayonnaise

1/8 cup Brown Sugar

¾ cup tomato Paste

there are almost no additional qualifiers (properties must be owner occupied, though, but some multi-unit properties may be eligible).

Homeowners with fully paid mortgages may be eligible for relief as well. Those having trouble paying their property taxes because of the pandemic may be eligible for Property Tax Relief. To qualify for the property tax relief, individuals must have missed a previous property tax payment last spring and fallen into delinquency.

Thanks to the program, to date 8,302 households have received relief. Officials anticipate the funding will reach 20,00040,000 more homeowners. A total of $246,538,132 has already been disbursed, leaving more than 75% of the allocated funds still available. The average amount granted across the state was $29,696.

For more information, call 1(888)8402594.

renamed campus buildings, including an apartment building that was renamed in honor of the abolitionist and author Sojourner Truth, who was owned by Rutgers’ first president.

Other universities have acted and made overtures to atone for their shameful past. For example, students at Brown University in Providence, R.I., voted overwhelmingly to have the school pay reparations to the descendants of Black people owned by Brown founders and former leaders.

Georgetown University–a Jesuit Catholic institution that sold 272 enslaved people in 1838 to stay financially

afloat–pledged $100 million for a “truth and reconciliation” effort for the descendants of the enslaved.

The College of William and Mary formed a slavery reconciliation project with courses, research and symposiums, and the University of Virginia created a consortium of universities studying slavery after it released a report on its own involvement in enslavement.

In the United Kingdom, Glasgow University pledged £20 million ($24.7 million) for restorative justice to address its financial gains from slavery. Meanwhile, the University of Cambridge formed a commission to study its ties to the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and the role of colonial-era racism in its scholarship. And the University of Bristol–whose crest features the slave trader Edward Colston and which depended on the slave trade for 85 percent of its wealth–has come clean on its past.

When Harvard and others announce their coming-to-Jesus moment on the sins of the past, we should not view this as the end of the story, but only the beginning. Hopefully, this will inspire governments, corporations and others to stand up, wake up and do right by the descendants of the enslaved.

David A. Love is a journalist and commentator. For more information, visit davidalove.com.

slaves, selling many in the Atlantic slave trade in exchange for items like rifles, tobacco, and alcohol. Many of the slaves they sold ended up in America. ... The business of slavery is what brought Dahomey most of its wealth. ... There are accounts of Dahomey warriors con-

Cook Ground Beef

Lightly sprinkle Sea salt on Beef Stew Meat & Beef

Short Ribs

Braise Ribs & Stew Meat in vegetable oil until browned. Add 1 cup water and cook for 1 hour Pour water in bowl

Add all the other ingredients to meat for 30 min.

Add Mayonnaise at the end for a smooth finish Makes 15 Servings

ducting slave raids on villages where they cut the heads off of the elderly and rip the bottom jaw bones off others. During the raids, they'd burn the villages to the ground. Those who they let live, including the children, were taken captive, and sold as slaves."

So, will Africa reimburse American reparations-paying taxpayers? Larry Elder is a bestselling author and nationally syndicated radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, visit www.LarryElder.com.

you can never see my personality. You may see the stars at night, but you can never see the law of gravitation that holds them there. Everything we see is a shadow cast by that we do not see.

So, let us go out with the conviction that God is still most certain fact of the universe. Let us realize that all of the advances of modern science and all of the comforts it has brought about can never be substitutes for God, as significant as they are. For long before any of these came into existence, we needed God, and long after they have passed away, we will still need God.

Have faith in the God of the universe, the God who is the same yesterday, today and forever, the God who threw up the gigantic mountains kissing the skies, the God who threw up the stars to bedeck the heavens like swinging lanterns of eternity, the God who has been our help in ages past and our hope for years to come, our shelter in the time of storm and our eternal home.

This is the God that commands our faith, and only by have faith in him do we create the abundant life.

English language arts.

IUSD continued from page 7 Elder continued from page 7

Because statues governing state loans offer no way for IUSD to regain local control at this time, legislation amending those statues is needed that recognizes for 10 years state and county administrators have failed IUSD students and that it’s in their best interest to have the school board retain all of its legal rights, duties and powers.

The education system in California is based on local control. The new legislation needs to recognize that a statute of limitations has to be established on how long school districts under receivership have to put up with ineffective state management, especially if the school district is no longer in financial hardship.

Specific agencies have to be identified in the legislation with authority to hold the State or County accountable for addressing the slow progress it is making to qualify the district for a return to local governance. Incentives for quick turnarounds must be offered.

The offices of the legislators representing IUSD — Sen. Steve Bradford and Assemblymembers Tina McKinnor and Isaac Bryan have been approached about the need for legislation to return local control to IUSD. The office of recently elected Sen. Lola Smallwood-Cuevas was also contacted, but no staff was available to discuss legislation. Support from the California Legislative Black Caucus is also being solicited.

It will be up to IUSD’s legislators to introduce a bill for the return of IUSD to local control.

25 L.A. Focus/January 2023
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This sermon was delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery.


Octavia Spencer

Twenty six years ago I drove from Alabama with $3000, a 48-inch TV and a suitcase and heart filled with dreams…this dream,” said Oscarwinning actress Octavia Spencer as she was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last month.

“To be forever cemented in the mythology of this city and the film industry is an amazing honor. It took me a minute to absorb the profundity of this moment.”

It is a moment that has taken a fair share of her 52 years to realize. A moment reflective of such career highs as three Oscar nominations–the second most among Black actresses behind Viola Davis; a best supporting actress Oscar win in 2012 for her role in “The Help”; and making history as the first Black actress to receive Oscar nominations in back-to-back years.

It is also a moment fueled by the passion that has mirrored a most impressive body of work, including such hit movies as “The Help”, “Fruitvale Station”, “Get On Up”, “Hidden Figures” and most recently, “Spirited”, opposite Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell in Apple TV+'s musical comedy re-telling of "A Christmas Carol''.

In 2020, she produced and starred in “Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker” which earned her an Emmy nomination, and later this month (January 20) will mark the season three premiere of her hit Apple TV series “Truth Be Told”.

In the NAACP Image Award-winning drama, Spencer stars as Poppy Parnell, an investigative reporter turned true crime podcaster. Based on Kathleen Barber's novel While You Were Sleeping, the series examines America's obsession with true-crime

overlooked missing young Black women in the public consciousness and in this case a suspected sex trafficking ring that may have taken them.

In so many of her roles, Spencer hopes to challenge viewers and or break casting stereotypes, once stating, “It’s important that everybody who does what I do, get to run the gambit of special characters and interesting characters and not set in one or two archetypes that they get to play.”

It has also been important for her to shed a light on issues important to her as with “Fruitvale Station” spotlighting police brutality and gun violence; “Hidden Figures” spotlighting the excellence of three Black women who were integral in NASA’s race to space; or as basic as the 2022 documentary titled “The Quest for Sleep” which has Spencer sharing her own struggles with insomnia.

“My dream role is that of a producer — a woman behind the scenes — who creates roles for diversity in films. I want to help create an industry that demonstrates what our society is as a whole,” Spencer noted.

To that end in 2019, she launched her production company, Orit Entertainment, to produce television and film projects across all genres that inspire, uplift and entertain. Among the first projects was the Madam C.J. Walker limited series along with her successful Apple TV series, “Truth Be Told”.

In June, Orit entered into a partnership with ID and Discovery to develop and executive produce a slate of true crime projects, including “Highway 20” about a stretch of road in Oregon where many women and girls went missing between the 1970s and 1990s. And in December, Orit entered into a multiyear firstlook deal for scripted TV projects with Skydance Television.

Said Spencer, “To be a producer was a win, to be an actress was a win, and now I’m getting to do both

Failure was never an option for the Montgomery, Alabama native who was the sixth of seven children born to a single mother who instilled in her children not only a love for God, but that there were no limitations except for the ones her children placed on

No truer words for Spencer who overcame dyslexia as a child to pay her way through Auburn University partly through oration and speech

In 1990, she worked as an intern on the set of “The Long Walk Home” starring Whoopi Goldberg and while she was always interested in acting, it was

a job in the casting department of films shot in Alabama that led to her acting debut.

On occasion she would be asked by directors if she wanted to read for small parts in the films. Having not been trained as an actor, she was at first reluctant, but while working on the set of “A Time to Kill”, Spencer said she felt compelled to asked director Joel Schumacher if she could read for a role. The rest is show biz history.

Having been raised in church, Spencer equates faith as a necessity.

“Where I’m from, you learned about God before you learned to read and write. Our faith is what grounds me. Faith is as much a part of my life as breathing and eating and sleeping, all those necessities.”

It is that faith coupled with the friends who she calls her L.A. family or “tribe”–including besties Allison Jamey and Viola Davis–that have helped her to weather the highs and lows along the way, including a fair amount of failure and rejection.

“I surround myself with people who are grounded people, and we are there for each other throughout the entire process–the ups and the downs.”

In fact, more than 15 years–and a host of guest roles on TV shows and small film roles in movies like “Big Momma’s House” and “Legally Blonde 2”–passed between the time Spencer made her film debut with a one-line role in the 1996 legal drama, "A Time to Kill," and her breakout role in “The Help”, which garnered her an Oscar and landed her on Hollywood’s A-list, opening the door to a steady stream of marquee roles opposite some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry.

Spencer put the resilience and inner strength she has cultivated into words last year when she posted a picture of herself at five-years old alongside this powerful statement: “In about four days this five year old will be 52. What she couldn’t know is the woman she’d grow into would be fearless (of people… critters and germs are another story). She couldn’t know that the woman standing with open arms escorting her into the next phase of life would be an alternate version of herself, a version that would eviscerate any foe that would expect her to diminish her light.”

There is little chance, however, of her star being diminished with a hit TV series, a production company in partnership with three studios and a handful of projects in development.

Spencer closed out her “Walk of Fame” ceremony remarks stating, “If you happen upon my star, while mine will be the only name you see… this isn’t a solitary achievement– for me it took my family, my tribe, my village.”

And of course, her faith.

“To everyone who has a dream, keep going,” said Spencer. “They’re all possible, even for a 26-year-old driving from Montgomery, Alabama to Los Angeles to live out hers.”

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