VOLUME XXVIII • ISSUE 8 •November 2023 > > W W W. L A F O C U S N E W S PA P E R . C O M
CHURCH NEWS Robert Shaw Appointed Pastor of First AME
HOLLYWOOD BUZZ Lackluster Sales Reported for Jada Pinkett’s Tell All Memoir
SEE PAGE 10
Money So How Rich is Really Rich in 2023? UPFRONT Proposal to Study Demolition of 90 Freeway Sparks Backlash
>> SEE PAGE 12
October 2022 November 2023
L.A. Focus Publications
(Left) Actress Kym Whitley joins Special Needs Network founder Areva Martin at the opening their Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities (photo credit: Diamond Dust Photography); Tyler Perry is joined by Oprah Winfrey and David Oyelowo at the premiere of his documentary, “Maxine’s Baby: The Tyler Perry Story”; Publisher Lisa Collins joins retiring First AME Pastor J. Edgar Boyd and First Lady Florence Boyd for their last official worship service.
4 From The Editor
On the Money New Law Requires CA Employers to Provide More Paid Sick Leave
Culture of Hate
Commentary We Know Terror
UpFront L.A. Unified May Cut Funds from Program Intended to Support Black Students; Proposal to Study Demolition of the 90 Freeway Sparks Community Backlash; Bishop Carlton Pearson's Cancer Deemed Inoperable and Fatal; Black Students Targeted by Their Latino Peers; New Program Gives L.A. Property Owners Huge Incentives For Renting to Homeless
Black Community Split Over Israel-Hamas Conflict
Headlines From Africa
Cover Story What the Israel-Hamas War Means for the Black Community
So How Rich is Really Rich in 2023?
Biz News Briefs
Lisa Collins Gerald Bell, Quita Bride, D.T. Carson Ian Foxx Kisha Smith
15 Red Carpet Style
Wanda A. Davis: 1948 — 2023
25 In Good Taste 26 Saving Grace Yolanda “Yo-Yo” Whitaker
16 Eye On Gospel
Night of Winners at the Dove Awards; Tasha Cobbs-Leonard Teams with Natalie Grant; Just Jekalyn; Todd Dulaney Releases “The Journey”
18 Church News
19 First Lady Files
Remembering Richard Roundree, who delighted us with his portrayal of “Shaft”, his breakthrough as America’s first Black action hero and his gracing L.A. Focus with his presence last year at our 25th Annual First Ladies High Tea. Rest in power. We will miss you
West Angeles C.O.G.I.C. City of Refuge Greater Zion Church Family Southern Saint Paul Church Faithful Central Bible Church Mt. Moriah Baptist Church Baptist Minister’s Conference Inglewood Minister’s Assoc.
Bishop Charles Blake Bishop Noel Jones Pastor Michael J.T. Fisher Rev. Xavier L. Thompson Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer Pastor Emeritus Melvin Wade Pastor K.W. Tulloss Bishop Robert T. Douglas Sr.
Napoleon Brandford Siebert, Brandford, Shank & Co. Apostle Beverly Crawford Bible Enrichment Fellowship Lem Daniels Int’l Bob Blake Morgan Stanley Bob Blake & Associates
Cover Design: UpScale Media Group
L.A. Focus/November 2023
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
Issa Rae Enters the Spirits Industry;
Jada Pinkett Smith’s New Memoir Flops; Dismissal Denied, Jonathan Majors Case Goes To Trial; Money Woes for Chris Tucker
Robert Shaw Appointed Pastor at First AME Church; Fellowship Church Pastor Albert Tate Placed on Leave for Inappropriate Comments
12 Money Matters
Publisher/Editor-In-Chief Staff Writers
14 Hollywood Buzz
21 Pastor Profile 22 In Tribute
MICHAEL J.T. FISHER Guest Columnist
“We Know Terror” n the morning of Saturday, Oct. 7, I woke early. I had a flight to catch out of a small town in Washington where I had given a talk, and I was making my way through the airport when I saw a television screen tuned to CNN. It was showing the gruesome images from Hamas’ attack on Israel, making it very clear that the assault was still ongoing. Immediately, it reminded me of a feeling I had hoped I would never feel again. It was the feeling I felt on Sept. 11, 2001, when I was getting ready for work, watching the morning news and seeing a plane fly into the Twin Towers. It was the feeling I felt when I watched George Floyd, violently pinned to the ground and hollering out for his mother. Immediately, I felt a sense of pain and anguish. A sense of fear for my brothers and my sisters in the Jewish community. And the reason why I felt it was because I knew how I felt about seeing George Floyd, and how that reminded me of a time I thought was far gone, the days of Jim Crow–the days of ancient slavery. Watching George Floyd’s murder, I couldn’t believe I was witnessing the sort of brutality against Black Americans I thought had passed from the world. Watching innocent Jewish men, women, and children being slaughtered just for being Jews made me think of days I thought had passed from the world with the Holocaust. And yet, here I was, watching evil unfold before my very eyes. And it hit my soul. I wanted to call every single one of my Jewish friends, but it was Shabbat, and a holiday to boot, and I knew that none of them would pick up the phone. So I did the only other thing I could think of: I said a prayer and asked God to intervene, to provide the shelter he promised in Psalm
46– to be our refuge and strength. To be a very present help in trouble. So it pained me, greatly, to see, not long afterward, several chapters of Black Lives Matter come out in support not of the victims but of the terrorist group Hamas. Celebrating any form of terrorism is disgusting and should be condemned, especially as we Black Americans, of all people, know the pains and the agony of being terrorized. We know what it feels like to be gunned down; to be chased; to be mutilated; to be kidnapped.We know what it’s like for our women to be raped, for our children to be killed. And for anyone to align themselves with an agenda that celebrates any terrorist group or any act of terrorism is an insult to where we’ve come from and could unravel the works of support and healing that we are so feverishly working toward. Thankfully there are other voices wanting to be heard who oppose the evil workings of Hamas and any other terrorist groups. We owe it to the Jewish community to rebuild the
From the Editor
bridge I believe has been systematically set on fire because every single time we have advanced this country forward morally, it has been with the Black community and the Jewish community standing arm in arm, hand in hand. It’s a bond I take not only seriously but personally. My father fought in World War II, and helped liberate the camps, so I always knew that the Jewish community was allied with the Black community, and I always knew that they shared in our pain. But unfortunately, there are members of our community that were not reared with that knowledge and perspective. To that end, it has become easy for certain voices of influence within our community to be able to sway people into believing that our Jewish brothers and sisters are in fact our enemies, not our friends. Eventually, the holiday ended. When I called my Jewish friends, I could hear in their voices that they couldn’t take it anymore. I know what that feels like. To turn on the news and see another Black man, another Black boy, another Black woman, unarmed, killed, mutilated in the streets, left for dead for hours. Watching such horrors unfold again and again, one can start to believe that it’s never going to change. But I want to say this to you, my Jewish friends: Nothing is too much in the hands of God. If we keep talking, keep standing up for the truth, keep reaching out to one another, eventually we’ll see a light. So chazak, chazak, ve’nitchazek–we’re strong, but together, and with God’s help, we’ll grow even stronger. Michael J.T. Fisher is the senior pastor of the Greater Zion Church Family in Compton.
LISA COLLINS Publisher
“Culture of Hate” often find myself thinking of loved ones who have passed on and wondering what they would have thought of the headline news that so often shakes us to our very core –stories we could have never had imagined would happen in our lifetimes. A beloved cousin of mine died just before 9/11 and I remember thinking she would never been able to fathom terrorists flying planes into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center and me–having been in New York City at the time–being right in the center of it. When the pandemic hit, I found myself wondering back to what my good friend, the late E.V. Hill II would have thought of the whole world shutting down six months after he died. And on October 7, I couldn’t help but think of what my Dad, who passed last year, would have thought of the images of kidnapping, torture, terror and brutal slaughter of Jews broadcast on TV following the terrorist attack by Hamas on Israel. Days later, as thousands of women, children and civilians were killed in Israel’s bombardment of Palestine, I couldn’t think of anything but the culture of hate that was consuming people and kind of world that was being left to the next generations.n Sadly, hate is not just limited to the Middle East. It is the same hate we saw on January 6 at the U.S. Capitol in a riotous crowd that–in their attack on democracy– fashioned a noose and erected a gallows with the intention of hanging Vice President Mike Pence for carrying out his constitutional duties. Everyone justifies their vitriolic rhetoric based on some personal offense or injustice. However, what often remains undisclosed is that harboring such negativity seldom results in their betterment or well-being. The people of Israel will forever regard October 7 as the Holocaust of 2023 as they strike back at Hamas. And the people of Palestine will forever L.A. Focus/November 2023
hate them for the thousands of innocents–particularly children that were lost and the destruction of their homes– in the wake of Israel’s quest to rid the world of Hamas. After an implication by Amy Schumer that Martin Luther King Jr. would have been in support of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, his daughter Bernice King was compelled to clarify what her father’s stance would have been. “Amy, certainly, my father was against antisemitism, as am I,” King posted. “He also believed militarism (along with racism and poverty) to be among the interconnected Triple Evils. I am certain he would call for Israel’s bombing of Palestinians to cease, for hostages to be released and for us to work for true peace, which includes justice. He said, ‘Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.’” There are never any winners in these kinds of conflicts as hatred almost always begets more hatred. And sadly, as a two-state solution continues to be off the table, there are no real answers for what going on in the Middle East. What is sure given the protests of people around the world for the Palestinian people, hatred is spreading. Fact is, in what we say and do, we are teaching children to hate. It’s in the music and the reality shows that have crafted an industry exploiting the very worst in people. It’s in our politics that appear to have abandoned civility and increasingly resorted to anger and violence. It’s in issues like gentrification, bigotry and crimes that reflect a societal breakdown that is inherent in our communities, and it has found a way into too many of our hearts. The recent events have deepened the greatest fear among economists that the conflict could pose a longterm threat to global energy and trade infrastructure. In a February commentary, former Congressman and presidential candidate Will Hurd wrote of three
conflicts that could turn into World War III. One of them was an Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities followed by an Iranian response, the ripple effect of which would extend far beyond the warring parties. Given the recent threats from Iran towards Israel in the wake of the violence following October 7, Hurd could be right on the money with that prediction, making the potential for an even greater–perhaps global– conflict very real. But what’s most at stake is our shared humanity as protests have ignited across the nation casting us all in the crosshairs of what some have defined as a Biblical conflict that could have Biblical proportions. Some are even wondering if these events could signal the end times. Recently retired First AME Pastor J. Edgar Boyd offered this perspective: “Ever since John, the Revelator, spoke of the end times, people have been trying to calculate the return of God or the end of the world, but the end of civilization is not necessarily an edict of God. It's actually in the hands of those who occupy space and time. We determine our destiny. We determine the condition of our society. If we live and effect social change for the good, it [good] happens. “If we live to expand greed and the encroachment upon the rights of others than certainly calamity comes closer and closer. So, if you ask whether we're at the end time, that depends on us.” Keep the faith.
L.A. Unified May Cut Funds from Program Intended to Support Black Students fforts to cut funds from a program intended to support Black students have ignited controversy and backlash in the L.A. educational community. In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, the Black Student Achievement Plan was established to address racial disparities within the education system, and increased funding for schools serving predominantly Black students. The plan also included the recruitment of more Black educators and the implementation of a more culturally responsive curriculum. But a group known as Parents Defending Education filed a complaint, arguing that the plan violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964, alleging it created a racially divisive environment. To avoid an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education, the Los Angeles Unified School District has even considered opening this program to nonBlack students. Tyrone Howard, a professor of education at UCLA, describes the complaint as racist due to little uproar towards other programs that support “different groups of students who are more vulnerable, including students with disabilities and those struggling with homelessness.” In a quote to EdSource, Howard said,“
I wish we had just as much energy and anger around those data as we do around the fact that we think that (a law) might be violated.” A recent survey revealed that 2,300 students across 100 LAUSD campuses found that 87% of Black students benefited from the resources and support of the Black Student Achievement Plan program. Despite a possible investigation, the program looks to capitalize by expanding the funds afforded by the school district. “The mission, objectives, and opera-
City, and Inglewood have voiced their anger to local elected officials over the idea, including Mayor Karen Bass, whose office had initially released a letter of support for the feasibility study. However, in a recent statement, Bass clarified where she stood on the project. “I want to be very clear — I do not support the removal or demolition of the 90 freeway. I’ve heard loud and clear from communities who would be impacted, and I do not support a study on this initiative. I thank Angelenos for continuing to make
tion of the District’s Black Student Achievement Program remains the same. The Los Angeles Unified School District recently expanded the program by $26 million and remains committed to the program,” a spokesperson from L.A. Unified School District said in an official statement. They added, “The District is ensuring that the associated language aligns with the law and practice by clarifying that the program operates in accordance with the District’s Nondiscrimination policy, based on applicable federal and state laws.” The policy details that the district prohibits discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying based on actual or perceived race or ethnicity, gender/sex, sexual orientation, etc. Program supporters say the complaint lacks depth as it does not include a claim that anyone “suffered or was discriminated against because of the program.” Those like Congresswoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove are working to get even more funding. “We need better schools, we need better roads, we need better digital services and there are millions, if not billions, of dollars out there for that,” KamlagerDove said.
Proposal to Study Demolition of the 90 Freeway Sparks Community Backlash
proposal in the works for a feasibility study that would consider the demolition of the 90 Freeway, that has for the last six decades served to link Marina Del Rey to the rest of Greater Los Angeles–is now at the center of a firestorm of controversy. Stakeholders argue that they would be negatively impacted by the increased traffic congestion. Residents that live nearby in the areas of Ladera Heights, Baldwin Hills, Windsor Hills, Culver
Biden Administration Pursues New Loan Forgiveness Program Following Supreme Court Setback Beginning Nov. 1, federal student loan borrowers will have to resume making payments on their loans for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the Supreme Court smack down of Biden’s original loan forgiveness program, the administration is targeting another avenue to relieve the stress of millions of borrowers. “President Biden and I are committed to helping borrowers who’ve been failed by our country’s broken and unaffordable student loan system,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “These draft proposals would build on the historic $127 billion in loan forgiveness the Biden-Harris Administration has already approved for nearly 3.6 million borrowers. We are fighting to ensure that student debt does not stand in the way of opportunity or prevent borrowers from realizing the benefits of their higher education.” The Biden-Harris administration has formed a committee to discuss a policy draft for a new loan forgiveness program. To date, the Biden-Harris Administration has approved $127 billion in debt relief for nearly 3.6 million borrowers and launched the most affordable student loan repayment plan in history, the SAVE plan.
Bishop Carlton Pearson's Cancer Deemed Inoperable and Fatal
their voices heard about this important issue.” Supervisor Holly Mitchell has also heard from her community and has stated that she is not in favor of demolishing the freeway, which takes up 128 acres of land. Proponents had argued that a better use for the three-mile route that was originally named as the Slauson Freeway, is affordable housing and a public park. Dubbed Marina Central Park, the proposal would include the construction of 4,000 new homes located throughout the park along with bikeways, bus rapid transit and a roadway. Streets for All, the advocacy group behind the proposal, had been in the process of securing a $2 million grant from Culver City for the feasibility study, which could take up to a year to complete. That request was turned down, and the group has since partnered with Cal Trans to secure federal dollars. “This is just a feasibility study,” stated Streets for All founder Michael Schneider. “You always make better decisions based on data. I’ve seen comments that people are against even studying this idea. I just want to say it might be better for all of us if we actually had data and we could say this is a terrible idea, or actually, maybe this idea has merit.” A decision for how and if the group moves forward–pending federal funding–is expected in five months.
Renowned televangelist and gospel artist Carlton Pearson took to social media last month to ask for prayers in his battle against cancer. According to Pearson’s family, doctors found a stage 4 cancerous mass that is deemed “inoperable and fatal”. Pearson was diagnosed with cancer back in 2001 and went into remission shortly thereafter. However, the fatal cancer, which is yet to be disclosed, returned. Given the disappointing news, Pearson’s family issued the following statement: “Our dear Carlton was diagnosed with cancer in 2001 and was declared cancer-free shortly thereafter. Just recently, cancer has returned and has been a significant challenge, especially in the last 120 days–Carlton has asked that people pray that he would live out the "full number of his days." Pearson was known to go on Instagram Live to update his followers on his cancer treatment but has gradually stopped because of the news surrounding his fatal cancer. The 70-year old preacher’s last speaking appearance was on Oct. 10th, addressing the IsraelHamas conflict on his live show Expanded Conscious with Theologian Keith Giles.
CA Black Media
Bullying in California: In Some School Districts, Black Students Are Being Targeted by Their Latino Peers
n Feb. 16, 2022, a Black student in the Santa Barbara Unified School District was assaulted by Latino students. His attackers called him the n-word and kneeled on his neck while repeatedly, chanting the name “George Floyd.” A district-wide acknowledgment of the hate crime was not sent out until Feb. 22, of that year. Despite the psychological trauma this student experienced, the school did little to provide him with mental health support. This is in spite of Assembly Bill (AB) 1145, the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act, a state law that provides specific instructions for schools to follow in such incidents. Connie Alexander-Boaitey, President
of the Santa Barbara branch of the NAACP, says against African Americans are often minimized in her city due to their representation as the smallest demographic group. “Oh, there’s “not that many,’” Alexander-Boaitey says, referring to a common response when hate crimes are reported or when people complain about racism. “But ‘not that many’ are still being harmed. Alexander-Boaitey was speaking during a news briefing hosted by Ethnic Media Services on Oct. 27 on school bullying. She was joined on the panel by Becky L. Monroe, the Deputy Director of Strategic Initiatives and External Affairs at the California Civil Rights Depart-
ment (CRD); Dashka Slater, an awardwinning journalist and author who has written books about children who are victims of bullying; Mina Fedor, a young AAPI activist who was honored by President Biden for her efforts to address racism, Xenophobia, and hate in her community; and Barbra Risling, another young activist and member of the Hoopa Valley Tribe as well as a Descendant of the Karuk and Yurok Tribes. Alexander-Boaitey says the hate crimes and hate incidents, including bullying and cyberbullying, affecting children are all connected to “generational pain” for Black Americans. Among schoolchildren, “It’s the pervasive calling of the n-word to Black, Afri-
L.A. Focus/Novemberr 2023
can American students by young Latino students,” she said. “It’s every day. Its weekly.” Another Black family in Santa Barbara now walks their child to school to protect her from bullying classmates. And one has pulled their daughter out of the school system completely, opting for home schooling. To address the problem, the Santa Barbara Unified School District commissioned a survey titled “2023 Anti-Blackness and Racial Climate Assessment and Analysis” that proposed a set of recommendations for addressing the problem. The hate incidents targeting African American children are not confined to Santa Barbara but are increasing across California, according to the NAACP. These incidents, often involving physical violence and verbal abuse, are more frequent as Black families relocate to predominantly Latino neighborhoods. In Santa Barbara, African Americans make up only 2% of the population but they account for the most victims of bullying and hate crimes in the area. At 47.5%, Latinos make up the majority of Santa Barbara’s population followed by Whites at 43.5%. According to the local NAACP branch, most of the perpetrators of the bullying and hate crimes are Latino children. Alexander-Boaitey says she believes the hate incidents are rooted in historic racism and connected to a general desire to make Black people invisible. “That somehow or another in an effort to move towards more White-facing or White upstanding, one group has said this group doesn’t need to be here so we can be more approximate to what is White. That’s what's really happening in our schools,” says Alexander-Boaitey. According to Dashka Slater, author of ‘Accountable: The True Story of a Racist Social Media Account and the Teenagers Whose Lives It Changed’, three in four American young people ages 15 to 25 have run into extremist content online. One in four students between the ages of four and 18 have seen hate or words or symbols written in their schools. About 1.3 million students were bullied because of some aspect of their identity during the 2018-2019 school year, according to a U.S. Government Accountability Office report on schools. Half of those children were targeted because of their race. “Some forms of bullying are in fact acts of hate,” said Monroe. “Some acts of hate are crimes, while others are violations of civil rights laws. Some may be lawful but incredibly harmful, nonetheless. We must recognize the civil rights issues at the heart of this discussion around bullying.” Monroe also spoke about the state law requiring schools to provide all students with a safe environment free of harassment. “Schools have a legal obligation to ensure that students are not denied opportunities, treated differently, discriminated against, or harassed be-
Bullying continued to page 24
Black Community Split Over Israel-Hamas Conflict
he last time I wrote were moved from Gaza, I related Enemy of about Gaza and Hamas how they moved inland to a was 13 years ago, in Palestinians barren patch of desert and built Is Hamas, not a new agricultural settlement. 2010. Israel The point of the column They piped in desalinated water was the striking contrast between how from the Mediterranean, irriIsraelis deal with life's challenges and gated the desert and started planting. how Hamas leads its Palestinian constitWithin five years they were exportuents in Gaza. ing $50 million a year of organic potaIsrael withdrew from Gaza in 2005 toes, carrots and peppers. and turned it over to the Palestinian AuNow this community, Halutza, thority. Within two years, with local boasts a medical center and dental clinic elections, Hamas was in charge. and grows 75 differHamas claims their wish is to build ent varieties of an independent Palestinian state. They fruits of vegetable, could have started the process then 15 with exports worldyears ago. But they did not because al- wide. though they say the words, their priority Meanwhile, in is not a state for their people but the de- Gaza, under Hamas struction of their Israeli neighbors to the leadership, zero has north. been accomplished. In that column in 2010, I related the Things are exactly story of Israeli settlers who were up- as they were 20 years ago. rooted from their homes in the Gaza reTheir only accomplishments have gion when Israel pulled out. There was been the casualties, Palestinian and Isresistance and protests from these fam- raeli, as a result of the never-ending ilies that they should be forced to aban- state of war, totally the result of Hamas don their homes, but they had no choice. refusing to recognize Israel and vowing I quoted the late television person- its destruction. ality Art Linkletter, who observed, They have wasted their sovereignty "Things turn out best for the people who growing hate rather than a state and an make the best out of the way things turn economy. out." When I wrote the column back in This defines the Israeli mindset. It 2010, Israel's per capita GDP was is a culture of life, of faith, of going on $31,267. By 2022, it was up to $54,660. and building despite life's often devastatPer Daniel Pipes, president of the ing challenges. Middle East Forum, the Palestinians livMost know how Israel emerged from ing under the Hamas totalitarian regime the ashes of the Holocaust, with Jews re- are not happy, but expressing opposition turning from the four corners of the amounts to a death sentence. globe to build a state in their ancient Polls, per Pipes, show that the local homeland. population supports the statement "PalStarting from nothing except their estinians should push harder to replace own human capital and commitment to their own political leaders with more efbuild anew, a modern state was built, fective and less corrupt ones." which now has a per capita GDP higher He notes that since Hamas took over, than most European countries. "an estimated 250,000 to 350,000 young Regarding the Israeli families that Star Parker continued to page 24
Headlines From Africa Congo: After months of calm in eastern DR Congo, fighting between armed rebels has resumed near the country's borders with Rwanda and Uganda. Political observers and analysts say the apparent shift in the power balance in Masisi is part of a complex conflict. Ivory Coast: Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara initiated a major government reshuffle, dissolving the existing government and removing Prime Minister Patrick Achi from office and appointing Abidjan Governor Robert Beugre Mambe. He has urged Mambe to propose a new government promptly. Ethiopia: In light of persistent conflicts involving governmental forces and regional militias in Ethiopia, deep concern is being expressed over the escalating threat of genocide and heinous crimes in the provinces of Tigray, Amhara, Afar and Oromia.
L.A. Focus/November 2023
Eritrea: The UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Eritrea is urging EU nations to apply strong pressure on Eritrea to enforce the recommended human rights measures, and to employ all means possible to deliver justice for the Eritrean people. Gabon: Following an official declaration that Gabon experienced a military coup in August, the United States suspended most financial aid to the country last month. However, support for humanitarian, health, and education sectors will continue, according to State Department spokesman Matthew Miller. Gambia: A movement to decriminalize female genital mutilation (a practice banned eight years ago), is gaining steam. The Supreme Islamic Council issuing a fatwa against those criticizing the practice and is advocating for a reconsideration of the ban. Kenya: President William Ruto announced the abolishment of visa requirements for all African visitors by year's end. This move aligns with the African Union's objective of establishing visa-free intracontinental travel. President Ruto called the negative impact of visa restrictions “bad for business”.
them. My mama’s ban on the ccording to the most reBlack lives, words didn’t even fall under the cent NPR/PBS NewsPalestinian statutes governing speech; the Hour/Marist poll, 38% of non-whites see Is- people and the phrase was antithetical to the voices of the laws of humanity. In her view, rael’s response to the attack by oppressed telling someone to shut up robs Hamas as “too much” compared to 20% of whites. A CNN poll found that them of their agency and is perhaps the 62% of white Americans think Israel’s re- most essential step in robbing people of sponse to Hamas attacks was “fully justi- their humanity. It is the implied threat of fied,” versus 31% of non-whites. But, violence and the most common tool of opbefore you jump to the conclusion about pression. This article is about that. people of color supporting Hamas, terrorWhenever any group of people raise ism or anti-semitism, let me explain what their voices against oppression, “shut up” is the tool that is inevitably used to sithis article is about. As someone who lence those who support freedom and grew up under an op- equality. Most recently, the tactic has been used pressive authoritarmy to silence anyone who supports the right regime, ian language has always for Palestinians to exist in their homeland. Conflating those who object to debeen limited. Michael Harriot Although the U.S. priving human beings of power, cutting Constitution says, “Congress shall make off their water supply and forcing them no law respecting an establishment of re- out of their country with support for a terligion,” dictator-in-chief Dorothy Harriot rorist organization is an intentional act of required her offspring to attend church silencing. It’s why Reps. Jack Bergman, services four days a week. Our access to R-Michigan, and Morgan Luttrell, Rthe press was limited to Ebony magazine, Texas, can reject the First Amendment the local newspaper and Dan Rather. Al- and call on Congress to censure Demothough my mother allowed me and my cratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib for grieving sisters to petition her totalitarian govern- “the Palestinians and Israeli lives” while ment for a redress of grievances, “I said fighting to dismantle “the apartheid syswhat I said” was a final answer. And, dur- tem that creates the suffocating, dehuing my youth, the concept of “free speech” manizing conditions that can lead to resistance.” It’s why colleges are silencing did not exist. My mother considered the use of the pro-Palestinian protests. It’s also why Lord’s name in vain as profanity. Along Christopher Rufo, the man responsible with the standard list of “cuss words,” if for “quite intentionally redefining what my sibling or I called someone a “liar,” a critical race theory means in the public “dog” or “stupid,” we could possibly spend mind,” tweeted this: Conservatives need weeks in solitary confinement (our bed- to create a strong association between room). But there was one forbidden Hamas, BLM, DSA, and academic “decolphrase that warranted the highest level onization” in the public mind. Connect the dots, then attack, delegitimize, and of discipline. discredit. Make the center-left disavow “Shut up.” According to the rules of our makeshift them. Make them political untouchables.” This is the tool of oppression. matriarchal autocracy, telling someone to Harriot continued to page 24 shut up was equivalent to assaulting
A look at current news from the continent of Africa Liberia: The Global Action for Sustainable Development's 2023 report warns that Liberia is at risk of losing a whole generation to drug misuse, with over 800 known drug distribution centers in its capital, Monrovia, and an estimated user base of 100,000. A group of former child soldiers have now committed themselves to combat this drug epidemic, employing behavioral therapy methods in their approach. Mozambique: Protests broke out in Mozambique following the local elections on October 11, with opposition supporters alleging that the voting process was rigged. The ruling party, FRELIMO, which has been declared the winner in 64 out of 65 municipalities, has denied accusations of electoral fraud. The demonstrations, marked by violence, were subsequently quelled by the police. Niger: With a vote of 11-86, the U.S. Senate has overwhelmingly rejected a proposal demanding the withdrawal of American troops from Niger, a nation currently facing political instability due to a coup since July. Nigeria: The Nigerian currency has plummeted to unprecedented lows against the US dollar, intensifying challenges for the new President, Bola Tinubu, as he attempts to overhaul the largest economy in Africa. Uganda: The Departments of State, Labor, Health and Human Services, Commerce, and the U.S. Agency for International Development, have issued a business advisory on Uganda cautioning of potential risks they may face if they are conducting, or contemplating to conduct, business in Uganda resulting from endemic corruption and violence against human rights activists, members of minority groups, LGBTQI+ persons, and political opponents. Zambia: Despite stepping down from politics in 2021 following a significant loss in the presidential elections, Edgar Lungu, the former President of Zambia, has declared his return to the political arena.
ELGIN NELSON Staff
New Program Gives L.A. Property Owners Huge Incentives For Renting to Homeless
n November 15, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA), in partnership with Mayor Karen Bass, will host HouseLA, an event geared to give incentives such as holding fees, move-in assistance, and damage mitigation to property owners who are willing to rent to individuals and families who have experienced homelessness. HACLA has collaborated with the L.A. County Development Authority to create homeless incentive payments for each private landlord who agrees to house applicants from the program’s homeless housing assistance programs. As part of this initiative, private
landlords will receive incentives, which include receiving up to one month's rent per vacant unit based on the number of bedrooms and current fair market rents. "We are incredibly pleased with our partnership with the Housing Authority City of Los Angeles Section 8 program," said Martin Muoto, who is a managing partner of SoLa Rentals. “It represents a true model for success in public-private partnerships and enables us to house individuals in real need. HACLA’s rent guarantees and subsidies are critical and our property management teams are in frequent communication with HACLA program staff, which has made it easy to schedule inspections and receive pay-
ments. Our tenants couldn’t be happier with their overall move-in experience. Jesus Henao, another private property owner praised the program stating, “The most important thing here is once you have completed the initial paperwork and you are in the system, the rest is fairly easy. I count on HACLA to screen my tenants so I don’t have to screen as much. Nine out of 10 times, I will get a good tenant. If for some reason a candidate is not a good tenant, I like that I have security through HACLA if I have to move them out. If you are doing a good job and providing a good home, tenants seem to have pride of rentership. I recommend having Section 8 tenants.”
The process involves a tenancy approval form with a W-9, authorization letter, and direct deposit options. After submission, a unit inspection is needed. If it passes, the landlord completes a Vacant Unit Holding Fee Agreement with HACLA. Once done, an eligible applicant with an active voucher from the homeless housing assistance program is referred to occupy the vacant unit. Voucher amounts range from $2,132 to $5,616. In addition to these incentives, other options available to property owners include move-in assistance, utility assistance, furniture assistance, and damage mitigation, which can be up to $2,000 for unit repairs not covered by the security deposit. "We're excited to have this House LA event to inform landlords about incentives for renting to homeless families and let them know about the rent amounts we are offering, which are the highest in our history," said Carlos VanNatter, Director of Housing Services for HACLA. The program only provides rental assistance within city limits.
Curren Price Arraignment Postponed a Third Time to December 15 Attorneys for Councilman Curren Price recently filed a 16-page court motion a 16-page legal motion recently, seeking to contest and discontinue the current trial due to a lack of substantial evidence. The 72-year-old city councilman was charged with five counts of grand theft by embezzlement of government funds, three counts of perjury, and two counts of conflict of interest on June 13. In the court filing, the defense argued that the two counts of conflict of interest and three counts of embezzlement against Price are “flawed because the complaint fails to show that Councilmember Price acted with the correct mental state that the prosecution is required under California law to prove.” “Even if our demurrer [motion] was denied, the problems with the prosecution’s case are undeniable,” said Michael V Schafler, one of the attorneys representing Price in a statement. “They will only become clearer once the prosecution is required to put forth evidence of probable cause that Councilmember Price is guilty of a crime,” Schafler added. “We anticipate the prosecution will be unable to meet that burden, and we believe this case never should have been filed.” The criminal complaint against Price states that he sent payments to his wife that totaled more than $150,000 between 2019 and 2021 from developers before he voted to approve projects. He’s also accused of failing to list the money his wife received on government disclosure forms and having the city cover roughly $33,800 in medical premiums for her. Price’s now twice delayed arraignment is delayed once again to December 15, 2023.
GERALD BELL & ELGIN NELSON Contributing Writers
L.A. Focus/November 2023
he rapid escalation of violence in the IsraelHamas war has sent shockwaves throughout the world igniting passions, hostilities and chaos. Right here in Los Angeles thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathered near the Israeli Consulate in West Los Angeles to condemn the bloodshed in Gaza as the death toll surpassed 7,000, according to published reports. The next day, thousands marched to the Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance in solidarity with Israel, remembering the more than 1,300 innocents massacred on October 7, 2023, in what has been dubbed as the bloodiest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust. With the humanitarian crisis in Gaza spiraling out of control, tensions have exploded onto college campuses across the state and nation. In a pro-Palestinian protest, over 400 UC Berkeley students walked out of class, and in a separate protest at UCLA, students chanted, "Israel! Israel! You can't hide! We charge you with genocide." In a related incident, a Cornell student was arrested on federal charges for posting threats towards Jewish students online. The hostility, however, is not limited to college campuses, but has spilled out into local communities. Case in point, an 11-year-old student from Manhattan Beach Middle School stirred community tensions after allegedly hurling anti-Semitic slurs at four Jewish students, including disturbing statements following the October 7 attack like "revenge is beautiful" and "all Israelis and Jews must be killed. In Brooklyn, NY, two young men asked if a 14-yearold boy was Jewish before shoving him to the sidewalk. Cameras then revealed the same young men confronting a traditionally dressed Jewish man and kicking him in the stomach. And in Chicago, six-yearold Wadea Al-Fayoume died after being stabbed 26 times along with his 32-year-old mother, Hanaan Sha-
hin. Shahin was stabbed over a dozen times inside their home by their 71-year-old landlord. Former President Obama emphasized the importance of upholding core values and opposing anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim sentiments in the context of the ongoing conflict. “In dealing with what is an extraordinarily complex situation where so many people are in pain and passions are understandably running high, all of us need to do our best to put our best values, rather than our worst fears, on display.” Obama wrote. “That means actively opposing antisemitism in all its forms, everywhere–It means rejecting anti-Muslim, anti-Arab or anti-Palestinian sentiment. “If,” he continued, “we care about keeping open the possibility of peace, security, and dignity for future generations of Israeli and Palestinian children – as well as for our children – then it falls upon all of us to at least make the effort to model, in our own words and actions, the kind of world we want them to inherit. Still, the world is watching closely as events in the region unfold, and any Israeli military strategy that ignores the human costs could ultimately backfire.’ Biden has found himself between a rock and a hard place. Despite maintaining his stance on Israel's right to self-defense and his public support for the Jewish nation, apparent fractures are emerging in what was once unwavering support as the death toll in Gaza soars and the city descend into utter chaos. Biden's stance is not unique. The sudden Hamas attack initially jolted Black Americans. However, as the Gaza crisis escalated, a major divide emerged within the community as groups like Black Lives Matter openly sided with the Palestinians, while others have expressed support for Israel. BLM activists contended that an alliance with Palestinians is only natural and condemn Israeli police for brutalizing Palestinians, much like how American of-
If we care about keeping open the possibility of peace, security, and dignity for future generations of Israeli and Palestinian children — as well as for our children — then it falls upon all of us to at least make the effort to model, in our own words and actions, the kind of world we want them to inherit. Still, the world is watching closely as events in the region unfold, and any Israeli military strategy that ignores the human costs could ultimately backfire.
ficers mistreat unarmed Black people and protesters. “Being in solidarity with the Palestinian people is something that’s been part of our work as Black Lives Matter for almost as long as we’ve been an organization,” states Melina Abdullah, co-founder of the Los Angeles BLM chapter. She further argues that the organization is not standing up not for Hamas but for the numerous Palestinians who have long been “evicted, terrorized, and treated like second-class citizens.” “There are segments of the Black population that have bonded with both the Jewish and Palestinian community through Black internationalism,” said national security expert and U.S. Army veteran Asha Castleberry-Hernández. "We need to understand that Black identification with Zionism predates the formation of Israel as a modern state," Robin D. G. Kelley, a historian at the University of California, Los Angeles who studies social movements told a National Public Radio reporter. "It goes back to the Book of Exodus in the Bible – the story of the flight of the Jews out of Egypt, which was not only a narrative of emancipation and renewal, but it was deployed by African Americans to critique American slavery and racism." Pastor Ron Hill of the Love and Unity Christian Center, located in Compton, noted that his profound support for the Jewish community is rooted in his interpretation of religious text. “I wouldn’t dare to say that the Jewish people are always right in everything they do, but I believe they are God's chosen people, and I approach it from that standpoint,” Hill said. “I think Christians have to stand with the Jewish community based upon the fact that according to Scripture, the Jews are the chosen of God.” Some Black faith leaders like Pastor Michael J.T. Fisher of the Greater Zion Church Family, cite the deep-rooted connection between African Americans and Israel has existed for decades, with the two communities finding common ground in their struggles against oppression and discrimination, dating back to the support of many in the Jewish community in Black America’s struggle for civil rights. Said Fisher, “We owe it to the Jewish community to rebuild the bridge that I believe has been systematically put on fire, because every single time we have advanced this country forward morally, it has been with the Black community and the Jewish community standing arm in arm, hand in hand.” Others like recently retired First AME Pastor J. Edgar Boyd have compassion for both sides. “War at any stage [and at] any place in the world is a conflict between an oppressor and the oppressed, Boyd said. We simply wish, hope, and pray to see a
cessation of the war, the deaths, the killings, and the loss of blood.” “We wish nobody to be oppressed. We wish oppressors to find the capacity of love in their heart, to allow everybody, some space, and some ability to live and to exist. And that's across every land.” The National Newspaper Publishers Association representing the Black Press of America, forthrightly condemned the brutal, fatal terrorist attacks, and said that they stood firmly in solidarity with Israel. However, many are discovering that support for Israel is not unconditional. Comedian Amy Schumer found that out first-hand. Having challenged individuals on social media who support a ceasefire and branding such viewpoints as antisemitic, the comedian posted a video on X (formerly known as Twitter) of Dr. King defending Israel’s right to exist, insinuate that King would have supported Israel's military actions in the ongoing conflict. The comment evoked a stirring rebuke from Bernice King, the daughter of the civil right leader to clarify what she was sure her father’s stance would have been. “Amy, certainly, my father was against antisemitism, as am I,” King posted. “He also believed militarism (along with racism and poverty) to be among the interconnected Triple Evils. I am certain he would call for Israel’s bombing of Palestinians to cease, for hostages to be released and for us to work for true peace, which includes justice. He said, ‘Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.’” Regardless of the divide within the Black community, the Israel-Hamas conflict holds significant implications for Black Americans, including political polarization, potential military vulnerability, and economic disruption, resulting in financial implications for all American taxpayers. “As an American, my tax dollars go to this occupation [in Gaza],” activist and author Marc Lamont Hill said in a recent Breakfast Club interview. “We should be focused on injustice everywhere. We don’t give everyone $4 billion a year.” Hill went on to criticize the U.S. for misrepresenting those in the Middle East. “We’ve always shown them as uncivilized, violent, and unprepared for democracy but never in ways that show their humanity.” However, the stark realities of mothers and children dying on Gaza's streets having been crushed under Israel’s brutal bombardment, hospitals and doctors bereft of crucial life-saving supplies, and a nation devoid of basic necessities like food and water have poignantly highlighted the Palestinians' struggle and humanity.
The Global Project Against Hate and Extremism collected data from unregulated social media platforms showing a whopping 479% increase in the use of explicit antisemitic and anti-Muslim slurs, along with calls to kill both groups between October 6 and October 8. “Unregulated, hateful content online can translate to a real risk offline,” warns Wendy Via, co-founder of GPAHE. “When you have a conflict like this, we almost always see a rise in incidents against the communities that are involved in the conflict. People see it on the news, and they needed to harbor their hatred and act on it.” FBI Director Christopher Wray stated that antisemitism has reached "historic levels" in the U.S. He attributed this to the Jewish community being targeted by various types of terrorists, including homegrown extremists, foreign organizations, and domestic extremists. Additionally, he noted that Jewish Americans, comprising about 2.4% of the population, account for around 60% of all religious-based hate crimes. The FBI is addressing this through law enforcement efforts, joint terrorism task forces, hate crime investigations, and intelligence sharing. Last month, California Attorney General Rob Bonta convened locally elected officials, law enforcement officers, and community leaders for an anti-hate roundtable discussion to explore best practices in addressing hate crimes. “There is no place for hate in California’s communities and cities,” said Bonta. “As our communities feel the ripple effects of the heart-wrenching violence in Israel and Palestine, we must recommit to standing united against hate wherever it occurs in our state. An attack on one of us is an attack on all communities. I am proud to stand with our local partners and leaders to identify best practices, foster community involvement, and work toward community-driven solutions to eliminate hate and extremism.” To that end the LAPD and County Sheriff's Department remain on high alert. “We have no information of any specific or credible threats to the city of Los Angeles, but we are continuing to assess the situation for any potential impacts to our communities,” the LAPD said in a recent statement. “We are conducting extra patrol checks and supplementing additional personnel from detective division and specialized units to have high visibility in strategic locations throughout the county. Additionally, we are reaching out to our local religious communities to reassure them during this tumultuous time. We remind residents to stay vigilant and report anything suspicious to local law enforcement officials.”
Money Matters So How Rich is Really Rich in 2023? iving with zero financial stress sounds appealing but having a few million dollars in 2023 won’t gain you entry into the world of the rich and famous. In fact, the dollar value it would take to live anywhere near the lavish life you see in the movies or in the real life escapades of Jay-Z, Beyonce, LeBron James or P.Diddy, is likely to cost you somewhere around ten times that. While a million dollars sounds like a lot of money, if it is all you have to live on, a general rule of thumb is that $1,000,000 in investments should be able to allow a person to spend approximately $40,000 per year without eventually running out of money. So, a million dollars doesn’t mean what it once did. “The media portrayal of rich looks more like an income of a million dollars per year, not assets.,” noted certified financial planner Aaron Agte. “And for assets to generate a million dollars per year in income, you probably need $30,000,000 or more.” Consider that a luxury car can cost one a small fortune. A change of tires on a Bugatti Veyron–which reportedly cost $3 million in 2014– cost a whopping $33,0000. That coupled with expenses such as insurance, taxes and scheduled service means that owning one could cost $150,000 a year in maintenance alone. And having that kind of money doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t have to work. During his high-profile divorce proceedings in 2021, Robert De Niro’s attorney told a Manhattan judge that her client– who is reportedly worth $500 million– was working at an unsustainable pace at 77, in order to support his estranged wife and pay off back taxes. In 2020, Charles Schwab polled 1,000 Americans ages 21-75 to find out what most people considered to be rich. Most put the number at $2.6 million for a comfortable net worth. 70%, however agreed that wealth means more than having money, even if many fell victim to the influences of lavish spending on social media. According to the study, 54% of Gen Z and 47% of millennials say “they compare their lifestyles to others they
ELGIN NELSON Contributor
follow on social media, with social media influencers driving some of their financial decisions. And most influencers are usually seen with luxury cars that symbolize their affluent lifestyle. Still, wealth remains a subjective term. That’s why studies suggest smart investments, saving, and a fresh perspective put most on the path to becoming wealthy. More importantly, the studies revealed that most young people weren’t concentrating on amassing material wealth. Instead, having a sense of security in a career, loving relationships, and life experiences was the preferred currency of young Americans. “It’s things like having fulfilling relationships and experiences with their family and friends, good health, and even career flexibility. All these things matter more to people than having a lot of money or owning nice things,” Abel Oonnoonny, a vice president and senior financial consultant at Charles Schwab has said. “We saw a shift toward personal values in how each generation thinks about money and investments,” he added.” It’s not just about accumulation; it’s about how they want to live their lives.” But to live comfortably in today’s society, net worth is imperative. It also depends on where you live and your earning power. Smart Asset studied how much income it takes to be in the top 1 percent of earners state by state. Nationwide, your household would need to bring in $652,657 per year to hit that exclusive mark. Here in California, one would have to pull in $844,266 a year. In Connecticut, which ranks at number one, that figure stands at $903,401. The bar is lowest in West Virginia where one would only have to earn $367,582 per year to be in the top 1% of earners. Rich or not, the key to attaining financial security, according to experts, is abiding by a financial plan or budget and follow the following key rules: (1) Steer clear of credit card debt; (2) Invest early and wisely; (3)Make savings a priority; (4) Cut unnecessary expenses; (5) Stay true to your career goals; and (6) look for opportunities to increase your income.
On the Money New Law Requires CA Employers to Provide More Paid Sick Leave ast month, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill that will expand paid sick leave from three days or twenty-four hours a year to five days or forty hours. Senate Bill (SB) 616 impacts all California employers and will take effect on January 1, 2024. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 77 percent of the private sector workforce has paid sick time. Union workers receive an average of ten days a year, “Too many folks are still having to choose between skipping a day's pay and taking care of themselves or their family members when they get sick,” said Governor Newsom. “We’re making it known that the health and wellbeing of workers and their families is of the utmost importance for California’s future.” Employers may continue providing paid sick leave at one hour for every thirty hours worked. If employers use a different accrual rate, employees must accrue forty hours by their 200th day of employment, in addition to accruing at least twenty-four hours of PSL by their 120th day of employment. Employers also may frontload the entire paid sick leave amount. Under SB 616, employers can cap paid sick leave accrual at eighty hours or ten days. Currently, employers may limit paid sick leave accrual to forty-eight hours or six days. Working sick reportedly costs the nation’s economy $273 billion annually in lost productivity. “Women and mothers are the default caregivers of sick family members. As such, they are more likely to be harmed by disrupted or lost wages when they need to take time off work,” said First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom. “More paid sick days for ALL California workers will help ease this distinct burden on women and bolster their economic security.”
Biz NewsBriefs Actress, producer and multifaceted entrepreneur, Issa Rae–whose business interests include Hilltop Coffee, vegan hair care line Sienna Naturals, and Hoorae production company, recently unveiled her latest project: Viarae Prosecco. With the venture, in collaboration with E. & J. Gallo Winery, Rae has entered the alcoholic beverage industry. "With Viarae, I'm thrilled to share my passion for Prosecco. It's expertly made, refreshingly crisp, and ideal for celebrating La Dolce Vita," Rae commented. The drink, a favored choice of Rae both on-and-off screen, amplifies representation for the Black females in an arena that has traditionally lacked diversity. This ethos is echoed in the packaging - a striking
L.A. Focus/November 2023
Issa Rae Enters the Spirits Industry
blend of gold and brown> "We're delighted to team up with Issa Rae, who trusted us to bring to life her perfect Prosecco - a vivacious, expressive choice for sharing joy in everyday moments with friends,” said Beth Orozco, VP of Marketing for E. & J. Gallo Winery. “Issa's vision aligns with ours to make wine more inclusive, and Viarae will aid us in achieving this objective."
Beyonce Debuts Second Fragrance Beyoncé recently unveiled her new fragrance, Cé Noir, on Instagram ahead of its Christmas release. The artist expressed her delight over the perfume's design, which she described as "monolithic" and "intimate," allowing users to glimpse the perfume's "soul," adding that she occasionally sprays it during her shows for freshness. Cé Noir–French for "this black"–is Beyoncé's second signature fragrance, following her 2011 perfume, Heat. Fans can pre-order Cé Noir, priced at $160 per bottle, on the singer's website.
John Legend Set to Launch Social App Grammy winning musician and entrepreneur, John Legend has ventured into the startup world with his social app, “It’s Good.” It’s Good,” is poised to compete with
established platforms like Yelp and Google Reviews, offering customised food and travel suggestions to users. The app was co-founded by tech entrepreneur Mike Rosenthal, who teamed up with Legend during the COVID-19 crisis to create ""It's Good." Rosenthal stated that the app addresses a long-standing real-world issue that has persisted since Yelp's launch over 20 years ago. The fundamental idea of the app is straightforward yet meaningful: it enables users to share their joyous finds of new locations with their social networks. The app garnered $5 million in funding in early October in its preparation for a forthcoming public release according to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal.
Tavis Smiley Show Debuts in Chicago SmileyAudioMedia, Inc. extended its syndication with the launch of its flagship program, “Tavis Smiley” on WVON 1690 AM in Chicago, on Monday, October 2. The three-hour daily show on KBLA Talk 1580 AM, featuring newsmakers, influencers, artists, and entrepreneurs, is celebratory in its Chicago debut, hosting Mayor Brandon Johnson and a lineup of local celebrities. The show, produced and syndicated by SmileyAudioMedia, Inc., will continue to see Tavis Smiley as its managing editor.
HO L LY W OOD SPOT LIGHT “Rustin” The upcoming Netflix film, "Rustin," shines a light on Bayard Rustin, the overlooked civil rights pioneer who orchestrated the March on Washington, a platform that set the stage for Martin Luther King's iconic "I Have a Dream" speech. Awarded posthumously with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, President Obama recognized Rustin's pivotal role in history, which was unfortunately overshadowed due to his open homosexuality. Rustin's determination to advance the cause of equality, regardless of the personal sacrifices, resonates clearly in the film produced by Michelle and Barack Obama’s Higher Ground Productions. The narrative, set in the 1960s, delves into the complex friendship be-
tween Rustin and King, and their shared commitment to peaceful protest, inspired by Mahatma Gandhi. However, the film is not void of conflict, showcasing adversities Rustin faced within the movement, including a forced resignation provoked by threats to disclose his homosexuality, a tactic used by the other civil rights leaders to protect the image of
the civil rights struggle believing that some whites would use it to discredit the movement. Rustin's unwavering resolve and his decision to organize the historic march , despite the friction, forms the crux of the story. The film narrates his audacious journey to unite thousands from across the nation, weary from anti-Black violence, in a show of solidarity in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963. The film brings together a stellar cast, including Colman Domingo as Rustin, Chris Rock as Roy Wilkins, Jeffrey Wright as Adam Clayton Powell Jr., Aml Ameen as Martin Luther King Jr., and Audra McDonald as Ella Baker. "Rustin" is slated for a November 12 release on Netflix.
Footnotes David Oyelowo
Age: 47 Hometown: Oxford, England First Break: The Butler, 2013 Breakout Role: Selma, 2014 Current Project: Lawman Bass Reeves In his youth, award-winning actor David Oyelowo idolized iconic leading men like Sidney Poitier and Denzel Washington. Having graduated from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in 1998, Oyelowo steadily carved out a similar path. As Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, he received his first Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama and a Critics' Choice Movie Award Nomination. In addition to film, he has conquered voice acting (The Lion Guard), theater (Othello), and television (HBO’s Nightingale). On why he likes biopics: As a black person, I’m always looking for narratives that are both inspiring and aspirational. We’ve The Hunger Games The Marvels Lawmen: Bass Reeves The Naughty Nine seen so many negative portrayals of black people. November 17 November 10 November 5 November 23 So, any time there’s an opportunity to address that balance, whether it’s playing Dr. King or Seretse Jada Pinkett Smith’s New we have decided to come back next girlfriend, Grace Jabbari. Released Khama in ‘A United Kingdom,’ I’m keen to take it. year.” within hours after an initial hearing, Because I am very aware of how culturally impactMemoir Flops Jada Pinkett Smith's mem- Dismissal Denied, Jonathan Majors Majors entered a plea of not guilty. ful film can be. For most people, that’s where they oir, "Worthy," is reportedly get their notion of history. Money Woes for Chris Tucker Case Goes To Trial underperforming in sales On October 23, actor Chris Tucker reIn light of the legal issues surroundPreparing for the role of Martin Luther King, Jr.: and may be destined for dising actor Jonathan Majors and the on- solved his money woes regarding a tax I approached Dr. King first and foremost as a man. count bins. Despite her press going Screen Actors Guild strike, dispute with the IRS, agreeing to pay Being born and bred in the U.K. gave me the adtour and revelations, includDisney has removed Magazine a whopping $3.6 million for back taxes vantage of not having grown up, as many Ameriing her separation from Will Dreams, a critically acclaimed film from multiple years, a significant re- cans have, with Dr. King as an icon, a holiday, or Smith in 2016, the book's starring Majors, indefinitely from its duction from the initially requested as a leader who made a speech they had to learn in performance has not met exfilm calendar. A New York Supreme $9.6 million, according to The Holly- school. I have felt less burdened about depicting pectations, according to Court Judge recently denied Majors’ wood Reporter. In other Hollywood him, although my admiration for him is seismic. Newsweek. "Worthy" is legal team a request to dismiss the news, Sheryl Lee Ralph (Abbott Elebarely making a dent in sevcase and eventually set a new start mentary) has signed on to star in The On God being the deciding factor in the roles he eral bestseller lists, ranking date of November 29 for his trial. The Fabulous Four, a new comedy that fol- takes: 81st on Amazon Books' list, judge also revealed that the defense lows three lifelong friends who travel When I pray, He tells me what projects are good 3rd on The New York Times wants to shield details about the case to Key West, Florida, to be brides- ones. There have been times in the past when I didNational Best Sellers list, from the public view. Seth Zuck- maids in a surprise wedding of their n't want to listen to Him, but I’ve matured enough and failed to make the top erman, a member of Majors’ college girlfriend Marilyn (Midler). in my faith to now to know that’s unwise. God has 100 on the Kindle e-reader legal team, said, “To not The new film has begun production in always blessed my faith with more calling and chart, Newsweek reports. shield this aspect of the case Georgia under an Interim Agreement more opportunity so I run towards His voice now In her memoir, Pinkett would only lead to such in- from SAG-AFTRA. Oscar-winner as opposed to away from it. Smith reveals some surtense media scrutiny that Halle Berry is set to star in the psy- On playing the first Black U.S. Marshal in Paraprising moments, including would compromise his chological thriller 'The Process’, a mount’s Lawmen: Bass Reeves: a proposal from Tupac, a date request client’s right to a fair narrative centered around a couple's Bass Reeves was an extraordinary man who lived from Chris Rock, and her reaction trial.” Majors is cur- testing journey through a weekend an extraordinary life at an extraordinary time in to the infamous 2022 Oscars incirently facing misde- self-help seminar. Berry will also pro- history. He was enslaved but went on to fight in the dent where Will Smith slapped meanor charges duce this film alongside her producing Civil War and escape enslavement. Living with Chris Rock after a joke about her. from an incident partner Holly Jeter through their Native Americans for several years, he learned a Recently, Pinkett Smith also conat his Chelsea banner HalleHolly. Berry was at- bunch of skills that became applicable when he firmed her popular series “Red apartment on tached to the film before the SAG- went on to be a deputy marshal and had a career Table Talk” will be back next March 25, AFTRA strike…Finally, Grammy that spanned nearly 40 years in law enforcement. year. “The Red Table is comwhich could lead Award-Winning R&B icon Brandy aning back. We are in the to a year's impris- nounces her very first holiday album, On wanting to play Sugar Ray Robinson: works of a situation right onment if convicted. Christmas with Brandy, which is He was an innovator. He was a brilliant boxer but now. So next year,” PinkDespite being the one scheduled to be released on November hated boxing. Muhammad Ali would not be Muett Smith responded to a to call 911, Majors was 10. The project will include covers of hammad Ali without Sugar Ray Robinson– in fan. Revolt added, “We arrested after NYPD of- holiday classics, familiar favorites, terms of his style, but also he was the first boxer could not do the Red Table ficers discovered multiple and original music. Brandy will also who kind of owned himself and was business while I was writing this injuries, including a lac- star in the upcoming Netflix original savvy–The irony is that even though he was busibook and while Willow was eration and a finger frac- film “Best Christmas Ever” debuting ness savvy, he wasn’t very good at surrounding on her music journey, so himself with the right people. ture, on his former November 16.
L.A. Focus/November 2023
OUT THIS MONTH
JANELLE MONAE is stunning in this off-theshoulder red mini-dress with puff sleeves
JURNEE SMOLLETT wowed in this jeweled embellished black minidress
This month’s red carpet looks come fron a trio of recent events: the premiere of the Tyler Perry documentary, Maxine’s Baby; the Hollywood Reporter Beauty Dinner and an event hosted by Neiman Marcus for Schiaparelli designer Daniel Roseberry.
OPRAH WINFREY was elegant in this tailored white slack suit at the premiere of “Maxine’s Baby”
ANGELA BASSETT rocked this stylish Schiaparelli pantsuit tor a Neiman Marcus hosted event
GABRIELLE UNION turned heads in this olive green Schiaparelli two piece
Eye On Gospel Night of Winners at the Dove Awards
L.A. Focus/November 2023
The 54th Annual GMA Dove Awards were handed out last month in Nashville and among the artists taking home awards was Jonathan McReynolds (Contemporary Gospel Recorded Song–“Your World”); Pastor Mike Jr., ft. James Fortune (Gospel Worship Recorded Song–“Impossible”); Toby Mac (Traditional Gospel Recorded Song–“Life After Death”); Maverick City Music and Kirk Franklin (Contemporary Gospel Album–“Kingdom Book One”); Lecrae (Rap/Hip Hop Album of the Year–“Church Clothes 4”) and Brian Courtney Wilson (Traditional Gospel Album–"Transitions Live”). Tasha Cobbs Leonard took home two awards–Gospel Worship Album and Traditional Gospel Recorded Song of the Year–for her 2022 release, Hymns (Live). “This album means a lot to me because I’m a PK [pastor’s kid]. I’m a church girl. One of the ways I learned scripture was through song. I think we have an amazing opportunity as gospel artists to impact a generation with the word of God through our lyrics and the songs we sing.” One of the night’s most heartf e l t m o ments came with Toby Mac’s win. “I made this record in honor of my
son Truett, my firstborn who we lost. His life was like a shot of lightning, burning fast and hot,” said the 59year-old contemporary Christian artist. “I couldn’t be more thankful that our God loves the wild ones. I made these songs in the hardest, coldest of valleys and we still don’t know why God would ask this of us, but sometimes we don’t get to ask those questions. He didn’t promise us that we wouldn’t face hard things, that we wouldn’t face loss. He promised He would never leave us or forsake us. If you take the time to look in the hardest deepest valleys, the coldest places in this world, if you take the time to look, He is there. He is true to His word that He will not leave us. I have experienced that. He is the only reason that there is life after death. Dr. Bobby Jones received the Jackie Patillo Leadership Award for how over the last four decades he has harnessed the power of radio and television programming to provide a platform for some of gospel’s biggest names, including Kirk Franklin and Yolanda Adams.
Tasha Cobbs-Leonard Teams with Natalie Grant Nine-time Grammy Award nominee Natalie Grant has teamed with Tasha Cobbs Leonard on her soulful gospel rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. “Tasha Cobbs Leonard is one of the greatest voices of our generation,” said Grant. “She has referred to me as a “bridge” before, and I have always prayed that’s exactly what my artistry, and my life, would be. But she has also been building bridges across genres and styles. I can’t think of a better person to sing this song with.” The track is featured on Grant’s recently released album, Seasons. Other artists featured on the album include Dolly Parton on Whitney Houston’s “Step By Step,” and Mary Mary with their first re-recorded version of the smash hit “Shackles (Praise You).”
Just Jekalyn Grammy® nominated and Stellar Award-winning Jekalyn Carr garnered double 1"s on two charts, both Both Billboard and Medibase Gospel National Airplay with,
“I Believe God,” and is available now wherever music is sold and streamed. The single is from her recently released album Jekalyn. The self-titled, Jekalyn, marks Carr’s first-full release in four years and features outstanding collaborations with Tauren Wells, Kierra Sheard, Papa San, Tim Bowman Jr., Kirk Franklin, Pastor Mike Jr. and Tasha Cobbs Leonard. “I pray that listeners of this project find hope and understanding in whatever trials and tribulations they are currently facing,” Carr shares. Earlier this year, Carr starred in the Universal Pictures’ Will Packer produced film, Praise This. She can also be heard midday on Radio One’s Atlanta affiliate Praise 102.5 as the host of her radio show “Jekalyn Carr Family Affair Show” which airs Monday-Friday 10am3pm EST. Carr has spent half a decade on top of the charts as a top-selling independent recording artist with ten Billboard No.1’s including six No.1 radio singles, two No.1 albums, two No.1 digital singles, and seven Top 10 songs. Her 1.5 million social media followers often go to her for a positive voice during rough times and ranked No. 23 on Billboard’s Top Gospel Artist of the 2010s according to the All Decade-end Charts.
Todd Dulaney Releases “The Journey” Stellar Award winning, Todd Dulaney returns with a new body of music titled, The Journey. The album was recorded live in 2022, at Calvary Baptist Church in Chicago and is preceded by the Billboard Gospel top five single, "It's Working" featuring Hezekiah Walker, in which the duo encourages and motivates listeners to press through every adversity. The Journey is a collection of Dulaney’s signature style written songs designed to inspire, motivate and heal, featuring collaborations with Tim Godfrey, Darrel Walls and Jabari Johnson. Having just completed the Believe For It concert tour headlined by Cece Winans; Dulaney is now prepping to tour with gospel music trailblazer, Fred Hammond.
ChurchNews Robert Shaw Appointed Pastor at First AME Church three words, “Grateful to serve”. Recently retired First AME Pastor J. Edgar Boyd thought Shaw to be a great choice. “Rev. Robert Shaw did an excellent job at the congregation I pastored, he went there and spent, I believe it was eight years and now he's coming here to the head of the district. He's young enough, his wife is a minister. They can take the legacy of FAME to the next level. So, we applaud the move.” Known fondly as Pastor Rob, Shaw’s service record includes being the former Pastor of Reedy Chapel and Brooks Chapel in Missouri, Youth Minister of St. John AME in Kansas City, Special Assistant Minister of St. Philip AME Church in Atlanta, and Pastor of Allen Chapel AME Church, St. John AME Church, and Bethel AME Church, all in Missouri. First AME Pastor Robert Shaw with wife, Rev. Ann ChamThe Kansas City native accepted his call into the pion Shaw and their son, Robert Ryland Shaw, III. ministry at the age of 16 and was ordained an Itinerant Elder in 1997. ver 1,000 AME congregants, pastors and A proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, denomination officials packed into First Shaw is happily married to the Rev. Ann Champion AME Church on October 29, as Bishop Shaw, his partner in life and ministry who serves as Clement Fugh was set to announce annual his full-time Assistant Pastor. They have two chilappointments, though there were few surdren. prises as most of the L.A. area pastors retained their The appointment takes effect immediately. church assignments. The focal point of anticipation was the appointFellowship Church Pastor Albert Tate Placed ment of leadership for First AME, following the reon Leave for Inappropriate Comments cent retirement of Pastor J. Edgar Boyd. There had Christian Post.com been great speculation about who would be selected to fill the coveted role as pastor of the largest AME has reported that charismatic pastor Albert Tate, assemblage west of the Mississippi River. At the end of the near four-hour service with over whose Monrovia-based 100 appointments and assignments to various posi- church, has grown to tions and pastoral post, the assignment went to Rob- over 2,000 members, has ert Ryland Shaw, the former pastor of Bethel AME been placed on a leave of absence by the church he San Francisco. A thunderous applause rang out throughout the founded following the crowd as Shaw’s wife and son were brought to the surfacing of questionable comments. front of the church to join him. A statement posted on Upon receiving the assignment, Shaw had just
Our Chur Directory Agape Church of Los Angeles / Three Oaks Baptist Church Corporate Office 4602 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90043 (O) 323-295-5571 •www.agapela.org Bishop Craig A.Worsham - Senior Pastor Worship Center: 8109 South Hoover Street Los Angeles, CA 90044 Sunday School: 10:00am Morning Worship: 11:00am Loving, Lifting & Liberating Humanity Through The Word -Brookins-Kirkland Community AME Church 3719 West Slauson Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90043 (323) 296-5610 • www.bkcamechurchla.org 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.
Bethesda Temple Apostolic Faith 4909 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90043 (323) 299-2591 • firstname.lastname@example.org 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 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: (323) 298-4867 • 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!
the church’s website notes that the decision followed an initial review by the board and outside experts concerning the questionable comments Tate had made. “We believe in grace, accountability, and the redemptive power of Christ. Therefore, we see this leave of absence as a necessary time for Albert to engage in a period of reflection, spiritual guidance, and restoration”, the statement read. “The Board and senior staff are committed to supporting Albert and his family through this season where we are all seeking clarity and the right steps forward. “Let us be clear, this is not an abandonment of our Senior Pastor but a manifestation of our church’s core values–values that underscore the importance of integrity, responsibility, and spiritual growth. It is our prayerful expectation that this period will be a God-led journey for both Pastor Tate and all of us that call Fellowship our church home,” the statement continued. “On behalf of the Board, our commitment is to the ideals and mission of Fellowship and not any one individual or group. God’s church is bigger than any one person. That commitment will guide all of our decisions and recommendations.”
In other local church news,... L.A. faith leaders celebrated the lives of the late Pastor Leonard E. White of the Holy Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church and Pastor Ed Heygood, the founder of Agape Christian Fellowship Ministries. Heygood got his start as an assistant pastor under Apostle Frederick K.C. Price at Crenshaw Christian Center from 1978 until he founded Agape Christian Fellowship where he served as spiritual shepherd for more than 40 years. Both passed away last month.... Finally, Brandon Bouldin is set to be installed as senior pastor of Zion Hill Baptist Church on November 19. The church is in the midst of a 100-year anniversary celebration.
Crenshaw Christian Center 7901 South Vermont, Los Angeles, CA 90044 (323) 758-3777 • www.faithdome.org Dr. Frederick K. Price Please Join Us! Sunday Service: 10:30am Wednesday Bible Study: 11:00am & 7:30pm Thursday Intercessory Prayer: 7:30pm faithdome.org @elfministries
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 •email@example.com 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 us on KXLA Thur’s @ 9:30am on Chanel 44, HBN TV Mon’s @ 7am & Wed’s @ 7:30am on Chanel 35.2 Listen to us on Sunday’s on KJLH 102.3 at 5:00am
Grant AME Church 10435 S. Central Avenue • Los Angeles, CA 90002 (323) 564-1151 • F: (323) 564-5027 Rev. Dr. Timothy o. Coston, Jr. Sunday School: 8:00am Worship: 9:30am Wednesday Bible Study: 11:30am & 6:00pm
Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church 3669 W. 54th St. Los Angeles, CA 90043 Phone (323) 291-1121•Fax: (323) 291-1133 firstname.lastname@example.org • www.sinai.church George E. Hurtt, Pastor-Teacher Sunday Worship: 8am & 10am Tuesday Night(as scheduled):7:15pm All services stream live on our website, Facebook page, and YouTube channel. Call for any pandemic-related questions. Our Goal: To glorify God by winning more Christians and developing better Christians. (Matt. 28:18-20)
Grace Temple Baptist Churchh 7017 South Bramercy Place, Los Angeles, CA 90047 (323) 971-8192 • email@example.com Rev. Rodney Howard Sunday Worship Service: 9:00am Sunday Life Group: 11:30am Wed. Night Intercessory Prayer: 6:30pm Wed. Night Bible Study: 7:00pm
Greater Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church 5300 S. Denker Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90062 (323) 759-4996 • www.gembcla.org Rev. DeNon A. Porter Sunday School: 8:30am Sunday Morning Worship: 10am Facebook/YouTube Livestream: @gembcla Radio-KALI 900AM: Sundays 7-8pm Bible Study: Tuesday 7pm
Greater St. Augustine Missionary Baptist Church 8704 S Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90003 (323) 758-1153 Rev. E. Wayne Gaddis, Senior Pastor Sunday Worship Service: 10am Bible Study: Tuesday nights online: 7pm Senior Saints: Wednesday 11am
Holman United Methodist Church 3320 W. Adams Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90018 (323) 703-5868 • www.holmanumc.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 House of Refuge Church of God in Christ 1446 W. 36th Place, Los Angeles, CA 90018 (323)515-9022•Email:email@example.com•www.horcogic.live Pastor: Dr. Pierre Codio First Lady Shavon Codio Sunday Services:11:00am Sunday School: 9:00am Thursday Online Bible Study:7:00pm (via Facebook & YouTube) Friday Morning Online Prayer:10am Prayer call-in # : (516) 259-9968 Tuesdays Substance Abuse Counseling:6pm 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(In-Person): 8:30am Sun. Baptist Training Union:7:30am Worship Service(In-Person): 10:00am Tues. Refuel/Bible Study/Prayer: 12Noon (Conference Call: (330) 207-7446) Weekly Mission Assembly/Bible Study:7:00 (Conference Call: (339) 207-7446
FIRST LADY FILES
Paige Bouldin Zion Hill Baptist Church
aige Bouldin may have only stepped into the role of First Lady at Zion Hill Baptist Church a few months ago, but she found invaluable guidance in the sage counsel of Lena Thurmond, the former First Lady of Park Windsor Baptist Church. “She asked me if I had a ministry,” recounted Bouldin. In her eagerness to impress, Bouldin listed her responsibilities: helping with youth, singing in the choir, teaching children's church on the first Sunday, and even a desire to start a dance ministry. To her surprise, Thurmond advised, “Quit them all. Focus on being your husband's eyes and ears in the initial years,” emphasizing the importance of Boudin remaining true to herself and what God wanted for her as well as what her husband needs. While the L.A. native–who works in marketing and communications– took most of Thurmond's advice, she continues working with the youth and children’s church, fueled by her background as an educator and passion for helping girls with low self-esteem stemming from hair issues, to build confidence through the non-profit she established, Confident Combs. “My goal is to be a beacon of light for the youth, specifically young girls as well as the women in the church, Bouldin says. “I would love to be able to bridge the gap between the millennials and the baby boomers because we need each other. Also, it is a great time in ministry for women.” Married nine years, Bouldin initially resisted the idea of becoming a pastor’s wife but was moved by her husband Brandon's selfless devotion to God. “He's in it just to please God and be a vessel,” she shared. “Once I saw that, and how he covered me, I realized he's truly a man of God.” On November 19, her husband, Brandon Bouldin, will officially be installed as pastor of Zion Hill. “My husband has great vision for Zion Hill”, says Bouldin. “I just want to assist him in that vision”. 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 ONE LA Potter’s House Church 614 N. La Brea Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90036 (818) 763-4521 • firstname.lastname@example.org Pastor Touré and Sarah Roberts The ONE Experience Online: Sundays: 7A |9A |11A |1P |6P Thursdays: 5P |8P (PST) @toureroberts @sarahjakesroberts @one.online ONE.ONLINE
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: 8:00am Sunday Morning Worship: 11:00am Sunday School: 9:30am Tuesday Bible Study: 11:00am Wednesday In The Word: 7:00pm All services streamed on: Facebook and YouTube @New Antioch Church of God In Christ 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 Wednesday Virtual Bible Study : Noon & 7:00p Communion: 1st Sunday at 8:00am & 11:00am
St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church 5017 S. Compton Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90011 (323) 231-1040 • stmarkmbcofla.org Reverend Dr. Lovely Haynes, Pastor Sun. Worship: 8:30am Sun. Classes follow morning service Tues Eve Family Prayer Line: 6:30pm Wed. Noon: Hour of Power Prayer line Wed. Bible Study: 6:00pm (Zoom & Facebook) 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
Union Missionary Baptist Church 1812 E 110th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90059 (323)457-9921•Fax: (323)457-9256• Pastor: Adell McDaniel First Lady Nancy McDaniel Sunday Services:11am Sunday School: 5:30pm Call-in #: (530)881-1000 Code: 811-160 Wed. Online Bible Study:7:30pm Call-in: (716) 427-1082 Code: 584-349
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 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90008 (323) 733-8300 • Office Hrs: M-F 8:30am-5:30pm • westa.org Senior Pastor Charles E. Blake II Sunday School: 10:00am Sunday Radio Broadcast KJLH 102.3FM: 10:00am
In Compton Citizens of Zion Missionary Baptist Church 12930 S. Lime Ave, Compton, CA 90221 (310) 638-0536 • email: email@example.com Rev. Bobby L. Newman, Jr. Pastor Sunday School: 9:30am Morning Worship: 10:45am (In-person & Virtual YouTube) Wednesday Bible Study: 12pm (In-person or dial in at:(774)267-8085) Wednesday Evening Bible Study: 7:00pm (via Zoom (Call church office for information)
L.A. Focus/November 2023
PastorProfile: Anthony Williams Church: 88th Street Temple COGIC How Long at church: 13 years Hometown: Los Angeles Family: Wife Bukeka and four children How did you get into ministry? Well, I grew up in the church. My grandfather, the late Bishop B.R Benbow was one of the original four bishops in the Church of God in Christ here in Southern California. My grandfather was given California southwest jurisdiction, so I grew up a church boy, played basketball, had a college scholarship with an offer to play at Pepperdine University, went through some hard times and came back to the church to help my grandfather. He was about 80 when I came back in '92, a month after the riots and this was what really started me on my journey. As we were watching television, when the riots hit in '92, my grandfather said, "Let's go down to the church. They're burning up everything on Vermont." I'm like, "We have to drive down there now?" He said, "Yeah, let's check on the building." So we pull up and there's some gang members outside the front of the church with their guns drawn. The street’s on fire, but our church wasn't touched. These gang members look in the car and one says, "Oh it's the Bishop." We drove up on the lot and they stayed out there. My grandfather asked me to go back and ask them why they're in front of our church with guns." I'll never forget what they said. It let me know what the church is really about. He said, ‘We're making sure nobody burns the church because you feed us and help us. At that time, my grandfather was doing a food program out his pocket every Friday and every Christmas, we gave away free toys. One of the other gang members said, "Man, I got my first bike from this church." Rev Bimbo is all right with us. We're going to look out for the church. That's when it dawned on me, "there's more to the church than just getting people to heaven. There are people's lives being impacted now." You say that a shooting near the church mischaracterized as being at the church that got you into activism– tell me about that? I'm looking at the TV when the news pops up that a man dropping his wife and child up at Bible study gets shot and killed. I'm like, honey come here. Then our church sign pops up. I said, "Oh my God. The story was all backwards. We didn't even know the guy that got killed. He had never come to church. He was shot just outside the gate before hobbling onto church property. But out of tragedy comes treasure because of that story I did a press conference and started openly talking about how bad it was over here and I started getting calls from Supervisor Mark RidleyThomas and the mayor's office asking how could they help? That started us partnering and was the number one thing that led to my activism.
Oftentimes you have churches in areas of transition and maybe high crime rates and
What did that experience teach you? You can't change anything, throwing rocks at it or talking about it from the outside in. You change it from being active. It's our community. No one's going to come in on a white horse and save us. We have to save ourselves. With Coronavirus, I feel like God just hit the reset button. Since we can't come to church, my slogan now is it's time to be the church, so we're doing kingdom work. We're supposed to be expanding the kingdom of God, not the empire as in individual churches. The kingdom is about who did you feed that was hungry. Who did you cloth that was naked? Who did you visit in the hospital or prison? And who did you tell about me? That's the mission of our church– helping the community. We're meeting the need with the food giveaway, gang intervention, housing assistance, medical help– the resources we're giving and the community outreach for public policy to change what's going on in our community. You talked about your dream of playing pro ball…is your transition to ministry part of the hard times you referenced briefly? I was a pretty good basketball player in high school, so I had a couple offers. I didn't have a lot of world experience, so when I went to Santa Monica Junior College. . Church was all I knew. We won a championship in '87. I'm getting letters from everybody and I got an invitation to play in the NBA summer league. I'm on my way. But crack was sweeping the streets. So I was experimenting with some professional athletes and it took me. By that time, I'd got a scholarship offer from Pepperdine University, but I started doing more drugs than going to class and lost my scholarship. Now, I'm doing drugs and running the streets and truth is, I ended up homeless on the street for about a year. Literally, every door that had been open to me, closed, and the only door open was the church. That's the beautiful thing about growing up in the church. The bible says, if you train up a child the ways of God, when they get old, they won't depart. That's how I ended up back in the church How did you come to pastor the church? Trust me, I didn't reach for it. It took 23 years. When I first came back, my grandfather needed a driver because he was getting too old to drive. After about maybe a year, he's like, You need to teach the Sunday school class. So I started teaching Sunday school. Then he sent me back to theology school. I was made a licensed minister in '94 and in '98 I was ordained an elder in the Church of God in Christ. You qualify to be a pastor when you're an elder, but I was still serving under my grandfather. I'm teaching the men's class, the pastoral class and Sunday school. I played the drums. I'm the sound man… By this time, he's 91. I'm the assistant pastor preaching on second Sundays. This is in around '08. And he falls and hurts his hip. They didn't even expect him to walk again, so he can't come to church Pastor Profile continued to page 24
Dr. Michael J. Fisher, Senior Pastor Sunday Worship: 9:00am Online Wednesday Bible Study: 7:00pm FB: GreaterZionChurchFamily IG: GZCFamily www.gzcfamily.com
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 Bishop Ronald C. Hill Sr., Founder/Pastor Sunday Worship:10am/6:30pm Wed. Bible Studies: 7:30pm Prayer w /Bishop Hill: Fri: 9am Food For Your Soul TV Ministry Impact TV Network: Mon-Fri PST 6:30am The Word Network Fridays @ 12:30pm
The City of Refuge 14527 S. San Pedro St, Gardena, CA 90248 (310) 516-1433 Bishop Noel Jones
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 Pastor David W. Cross 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 In Hawthorne 2627 W. 116th Street Hawthorne,CA 90250 (323) 757-3113 • www.athertonbc.org F: 323-757-8772 • firstname.lastname@example.org Pastor Larry Weaver 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 In Inglewood 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 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
L.A. Focus/November 2023
What are you working on now? I'm partnering with Community Build and I'm on the advisory board for METRO’s transportation school. The school is my heart, because when you figure Metro Transit Authority, you just think buses and trains, right? But actually, there are 901 departments within the MTA, 12,000 jobs for these kids who will be learning valuable skills.
you’ve tackled that aggressively and successfully with the liquor store across the street.... Absolutely. 78% of the deaths in this area were happening right in front of that liquor store. So what I did was I partnered with a Community Coalition and a couple of other major stakeholders and we marched, picketed and went downtown to get the liquor license suspended. They had a bunch of violations, so their liquor license was suspended. We got rid of the liquor maybe eight months ago, and there hasn't been any disturbance or killings. The area is own upward swing and getting rid of that liquor was paramount.
Greater Zion Church Family 2408 North Wilmington Avenue, Compton, CA 90222 (310) 639-5535 • (Tues - Thurs 10am -4pm)
ELGIN NELSON • D.T CARSON Staff
Wanda A. Davis: 1948 - 2023
anda Davis Turner, nationally acclaimed preacher, prophet, adjunct professor, and author has died following a battle with diabetes and dementia. She was 75. The announcement came with the following family statement: “It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our dear mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin and woman of God, Dr. Wanda A. Davis. We are asking you to respect the privacy of the family at this time.” Just days before her death, her daughters, Wendy Fletcher and Whitney Owens took to social media to solicit prayers for their mom who had been hospitalized in intensive care. “For so many years, she’s been so many of you all’s spiritual mother,” said Fletcher. “She’s preached to millions. and we just believe in God for healing in her body. “She was a woman’s woman and a fighter and advocate for women in the gospel,” Owens added. “She prayed for so many people, gave to so many people. What we’re asking you to do she’s done this for people all over the United States and literally all over the world. She would jump on planes, trains, and in cars… pay people’s mortgage, give them rent money. “ Davis, who with her late husband, Bishop Wayne Davis, founded First Apostolic of Inglewood and World Won for Christ Ministries, was credited with blazing a trail for women preachers across the country. “Before there was Juanita Bynum there was Dr. Wanda DavisTurner. I’m glad I got to experience her ministry for m y s e l f , “said o n e former f o l lower. Said Pastor Laytecia McKinney, “She shook the nations with her bold and powerf u l
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 Pastor J. P. Foster In-Person Services: 7:00 am & 9:30am Online Services: 7:00a, & 9:30am Wednesdays, The Download: 7:00pm Facebook + Youtube+ Website 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
preaching!! She left a lasting print on “singles” with her sermon “Sex Traps”, she told us “If you have no ringy, you get no dingy”! She was real, raw but relevant and most of all graceful! The church says farewell to a giant in faith.” The Stockton, California native was born Wanda Ann Stallworth, one of thirteen children to the late Bishop Lewis D. Stallworth and Mary M. Stallworth. Destiny is what Davis felt she had been walking in when she accepted her call to ministry–a call that wasn’t confined to one denomination. “My journey has been a little different than others,” said Davis-Turner once told L.A. Focus Newspaper. “I've been very fortunate and blessed to have been received by Baptists, Apostolics, Methodists, Episcopal…across the board. In fact, I've been so publicly accepted that sometimes I forget about the battle waged against women in ministry. “My late husband told me that posture, wardrobe and sermon presentation would have a lot to do with how people receive you as a preacher,” she continued. “That you don’t go into arenas of ministry defending your presence, never even bring that up. You know what God called you to do.” That is not to say that she did not recognize that some men didn’t accept that God would use a woman. She just didn’t spend much time trying to convince them. “One minister said as much to my face,” Davis-Turner recalled, “and as I respond to a lot of stuff with humor, I told him, ‘If God could trust Mary to carry His word for nine months, that he should give me 20 minutes’. Turner’s path was that of a new trend in ministry at the time–women who started as co-pastors. “When my first husband, Bishop Wayne Turner and I became pastors in 1976, it wasn't called copastors, but
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.
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 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
we were doing everything together. I was filling in for him…I used to even help write some of his sermons and represented him in the city of Inglewood. But I felt that's what a wife should do.” Turner said. Pastor Beverly Crawford of Bible Enrichment Fellowship says it was Davis and her late husband, Bishop Wayne Davis who embraced her as she was setting out to establish her own ministry. Crawford recalls of Davis, “She had a bold presentation. Her breakthrough, I believe, was saying things that were either difficult or other women were afraid to say.” Davis authored five books, including “Stood in the Flames”, “Sex Traps”, and “Even With My Issues”. “Your impartation saved our lives; your corrections guided; your transparency and humor made us more honest and more holy,” Noted evangelist Claudette Copeland, penned on social media upon hearing of her death. “Your life leaves a sweet fragrance. You made God’s world better.” The funeral is set for Saturday, November 11, 2023, at Crenshaw Christian Center with a viewing from 9am — 4pm the day before at Angelus Funeral Home.
Grant AME Church 1129 Alamitos Ave, Long Beach, CA 90813 (562) 437-2567 • Fax: (562) 599-6175 • www.csbclb.org Rev. Dr. Michael W. Eagle,Sr.,Ed.D, Community Activist Sunday School: 9:00am Worship Service Sundays: 10:45am (On Facebook Live, YouTube) Free Conf Call: 857 232 0156 877511 Zoom:438 996 2703 Where all receive attention, affection & love Walking In The Spirit Ministries In Norwalk Double Tree (Sonoma Grill) 12623 Norwalk Blvd, Norwalk CA 90650 (213) 248-6343 P.O Box 1597 Norwalk CA,90651 Tim & Leshia Brooks Morning Worship: 11:00am Services Held Every 2nd & 4th Sunday and Free Breakfast Is Served Bible Study: 8:30am (Every 5th Friday)
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Parker continued from page 8
adults" have left Gaza. The horrors and atrocities committed by these purveyors of death have been captured on video for all to see. Women, children and elderly civilians murdered in cold blood. Corpses desecrated. Unfortunately, now, young Israelis are pulled out of universities and places of work and mobilized once again to fight. More parents will lose their children; more young wives will become widows. Israelis fight in order to survive. Hamas fights because they want to kill. For the sake of Israel, for the sake of the Palestinian people, for the sake of the world, we must pray that this time is the last time that Israeli and Palestinian lives are lost because of this evil regime. The status quo is no longer an option. Hamas must be removed for good, once and for all. Star Parker is president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education and host of the weekly television show "Cure America with Star Parker." Her recent book, "What Is the CURE for America?" is available now. To find out more about Star Parker and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com. Harriot continued to page 24
But in America, whiteness is the dictator of all things. It is the authoritarian that defines freedom and determines what is profane. It can redefine “wokeness” as “anti-white” and insert an invisible “only” before the phrase “Black lives matter.” It transforms demonstrations against brutality into “anti-police” and makes history illegal. And the tyranny of “shutting people up” is as American as anything that has ever existed. It was employed by Southern whites – not just slaveholders – who issued a $10,000 bounty on David Walker to shut him up after he wrote his four-part “Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World.” After Nat Turner’s rebellion, Virginia’s legislature thought 39 lashes would shut up “free negroes or mulattos” who “write, print, or cause to be written or printed, any book, pamphlet or other writing, advising persons of colour within this state to make insurrection, or to rebel.” The reason we don’t have copies of many of Ida B. Wells’ early writing is because a white mob tried to shut her up by burning down the Memphis Free Speech. These laws did not enslave people or noncitizens, just people who were not
white. But, for the oppressed people of America, silence is not an option. For many, “support” is more than a symbolic statement or an online virtue signal. Standing up for the oppressed is not a zero zerosum game. A closer look at the above-mentioned polls reveals that non-white people’s support for Israeli victims is equal to their support of Palestinians. More Palestinians have died since the Hamas terrorists attacked Israel. Israel has one of the deadliest militaries on the planet. And if one believes that life is precious and murder is bad, speaking up for those who don’t have the power to protect themselves is a moral duty. Once, during the appeals phase of one of my many first-degree shutting-up trials, my mother explained why telling someone to shut up is an immoral act. (Yes, we had an actual appeals court, with actual juries and written rulings that she posted on our bedroom doors). But in the case of Michael vs. Comelita, my mother didn’t even bother to deliberate before issuing an oral decision. “When I brought you into this world, you had was a voice,” she said in her concurring opinion (she concurred with herself). “It’s all you had. If me and God saw fit to give it to you, you bet not let nobody take it.” Then, as if it were a secret or a prophecy or a Bible verse, my mother paused, leaned in and whispered the sentence that it is impossible for me to unremember: “And someone will try to take it.” On most issues, there are no “sides.” Black people don’t support crime or murder. We protest because we understand that police officers have guns and the full authority of the state. Even if Rufo’s antiwhite movement hysteria were real, white people would still have the power of the majority and the protection of a constitution. Most people don’t hate Israel. They just recognize that Israel has the support of the Western world and one of the most advanced militaries in the history of the world. Palestinians living in an apartheid state are being killed, starved out and removed from the land of their ancestors … And we have our voices. This story is about that. Michael Harriot is a journalist, author and cultural critic whose writing has appeared in the Washington Post, the Atlantic and The Grio, where this article first appeared. For more info on Michael Harriot, visit MichaelHarriot.com
Bullying continued from page 8
cause of their race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, or disability,” she said. “Students who are doing the bullying are following the lead of a biased peer and imitating things that they see on social media,” said Slater. “We also see kids of color who are harassed for their identity and harassing somebody else for their identity. Studies show that kids who are the bully and bullied are the ones who have the longest lasting effects afterward.” Studies have also shown that students who perpetuate racially motivated bullying onto their fellow classmates don’t necessarily ascribe to racist ideologies but have simply fallen into the trap of influence from outside sources online or mirroring behavior from their parents or guardians at home. Alexander-Boaitey says Black and Latino leaders and residents from the area have not formally met yet to resolve tensions brewing between their communities. “I know this is where the struggle really is,” she added. “How do we have leaders from the Black, Latino, and Hispanic communities sit down and have our own conversations? What makes it not happen is erasure culture that says we don’t need to talk about it, or it was a single incident.” Some parents of California students are pushing back against ethnic studies requirements brought to schools to combat hate and ignorance. “Parents are trying to take their kids out of the classes,” Alexander-Boaitey continued. “The bill (Assembly Bill (AB)101) does not go deep enough to fight against
it. We need to start this at TK. We are way too late by the time we get to high school for this.” Monroe says the state provides various resources and care coordination for victims of hate crimes or hate incidents. To report hate incidents or crimes in California, victims or witnesses can file them online here. They can also call 833-8-NOHATE; (833) 866-4283 Monday - Friday from 9:00 am — 6:00 pm. If outside of those hours, they can leave a voicemail, or you can call 211 to report hate and seek support. This California Black Media report was supported in whole or in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library. Pastor Profile continued from page 20
and while he's gone, He says, "just keep it going." By the time I take over the church which seats over 1,000, attendance has dwindled down to a handful. I'm not a traditional preacher. I'm a teacher. So I start teaching the word. The church started to grow and by the time my grandfather came back, I’d taken in more in the last couple of months then he’d taken in in years. That’s when he let me know it was time for me to take over. I just celebrated ten years. The church has grown exponentially. We’ve renodeled and become the staple in the community. Now, I'm a superintendent in the Church of God in Christ and I serve on the executive board of the general council of the pastors and elders of the Church of God in Christ. It’s been God.
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L.A. Focus/November 2023
SavingGrace Colman Domingo
L.A. Focus/November 2023
ctor Colman Domingo is living the life his late mother always envisioned. From Broadway baby to seasoned triple-threat performer, Domingo has become one of Hollywood’s most sought-after entertainers. In fact, this winter, he will take on two of his most groundbreaking roles yet. Fans can flock to theaters to see Domingo in “Rustin,” with its scheduled release this November. As the key historical figure, Bayard Rustin, Domingo will portray the openly gay, forward-thinking civil rights activist who was a central figure during the Civil Rights Movement. In 1947, the civil rights leader planned the "Journey of Reconciliation," which served as a model for the Freedom Rides in the 1960s. Martin Luther King, Jr. relied on him as a mentor and advisor throughout the movement. Domingo shared his hopes for the film’s impact, “He was an original in every single way, and someone who didn't put limitations on himself and also thought outside of the box,” Domingo continues. “After this film comes out, no one should ever say, 'Who was Bayard Rustin?” A month later, on Christmas Day, fans will watch Domingo reprise the role of “Mister” in Oprah Winfrey’s adaptation of “The Color Purple.” He will bring his acting chops to the polarizing figure once played by legendary actor Danny Glover. Domingo recently revealed his thoughts on the upcoming musical, role, and cast mates. “I think it’s actually going back to the roots of the book, in many ways, even more so, but also goes into the imagination of Ceilie, played by Fantasia, beautifully. She has a vivid imagination. We see her imagination come to life in juxtaposition with her reality. So, we see where her dreams will take her, where her soul lives, and I think that’s a beautiful visual landscape with music and photography. “So, I think that’s what’s cool about it. We have a great cast, and I love working with Fantasia, Taraji P. Henson, Corey Hawkins, and Danielle Brooks,” Domingo continued. And mostly everyone comes from the theater. Taraji does as well. She comes from musical theater, but Fantasia? She brings something so beautiful from her experience as a vocalist. Domingo adds, “She’s got skills that she doesn’t even know she has. That’s what’s exciting to see, what her instincts are as a storyteller with music. The way it translates on film will knock your socks off, and I play the villain. Of course, I play the villain.” Domingo can handle any role he is required to transform into. In the past, he gained critical acclaim in theater, television, and film. In 2011, he received
a Musical Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actor for his performances in “The Scottsboro Boys.” Years later, he took home the 2022 Creative Arts Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his performance as Ali, a recovering drug addict in the HBO Emmy-winning drama series “Euphoria.” For his character, Domingo drew inspiration from someone he loved — his older brother Rick, who faced his battles with alcohol. And he explained what receiving that Emmy meant to him. "It feels like I'm on a cloud, to be honest. It feels like pure heaven. It's lovely, all of the eyes in the room, people you love and respect, it's really amazing." Domingo played other pivotal characters on the big screen, including the family patriarch in “If Beale Street Could Talk” and the trombone-playing peacemaker in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” His meteoric rise to prominence comes from his ability to transform into any character. “I’ve been doing this work now for 31 years professionally. My work in the theatre was always about playing very different roles, so I really was that journeyman actor, shapeshifting at all times.” Most say Colman’s adaptability is deeply rooted in his real-life authenticity. For instance, the “Selma” star has been out and proud his entire career – never leading with his sexuality, but never hiding it either. “You know, I didn’t recognize I was doing anything unusual in this industry until someone pointed out that I had a unique experience in Hollywood.” Colman continues, “They said you’re not marginalized by your sexuality–you played more heteronormative characters than most out actors. “I didn’t recognize that. I’m someone who’s always been out. I think I’ve never led with my sexuality; I lead with being an artist, a Black artist — being gay. It’s a wonderful, vital part of it. But I’ve never put any limits on my career, what I can do, or who I can play.” Domingo’s level of comfort with himself and achieving his dreams harkens back to his upbringing. When describing his parents, he said, "They're from Belize and Guatemala and all over Central America, and I feel very proud. I'm sure they're screaming in the streets for me; they're very proud of me for
being a part of this and representing not only AfroLatinos but also humble people from West Philadelphia. You know, working-class parents, step-fathers, and mothers, so I think I represent many of them. So it feels really, really good." Domingo touched more specifically on his mother Edith’s influence and impact, “My mom gave me a great imagination.” While talking to fellow actress and long-time friend Anika Noni Rose on the Academy Greenroom, he said, “My mother had a profound effect on everything that’s happening for me right now. My mother was a true dreamer and believer. She had faith.” He added, “She always wanted me to live in gratitude with everything and that everything is about giving honor to spirit.” Domingo also explained how his mother kept him grounded when she felt he was acting a little self-centered. After advising him to volunteer with children, Domingo became an after-school program teacher. He said it filled him with purpose and incorporated teaching into his life whenever possible. Additionally, Domingo noted his mother’s acceptance when he finally came “out” to her. "She just wanted to make sure I was the same guy. We took a stroll in the Castro and walked by a gay bar. She wanted to go in for a drink. She wanted to know everything about me, and we had the best time. We always did. She was the most fun-loving person I've ever known.” Although Domingo’s mother passed away in 2006, he keeps her memory and their dream alive through his production company, Edith Productions. Likewise, he remains on the path he and his mother desired. After the release of “Rustin” and “The Color Purple,” Domingo can be seen in 2024’s "Drive Away Dolls.”