L.A. Focus Newspaper May 2023

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VOLUME XXVIII • ISSUE 4 •May 2023 >> WWW.LAFOCUSNEWSPAPER.COM L.A. FOCUS @LAFOCUSNEWS <<
In the News:
UPFRONT : Black Teen Sets Records with $10 Million in Scholarship Offers >> SEE PAGE 14 Court Date Nears for Jonathan Majors, Uncertainty Over His Future with Marvel Hollywood Buzz SEE PAGE 10
Upfront: Pastor Set to Throw His Hat into Tenth District City Council Race
Egypt
Decries Casting of Cleopatra as Black in New Netlix Series

“Just

“We

UpFront

Ridley-Thomas Defense Files Motions Seekin New Trial, Acquittal, New Orleans Teen Sets Record, with $10M in Scholarship Offers, Michael Lawson To Step Down as President/CEO of the L.A. Urban League Cover

Money Matters

McDonald’s To Face Byron Allen in Court This Month

On the Money

14

Hollywood Buzz

Rihanna to Star as Smurfette in Upcoming Movie, Oprah Previews 2023 Color Purple Musical at CinemaCon, Court Date Nears for Jonathan Majors

Footnotes

15

Red Carpet Style

Eye On Gospel

J.J. Hairston is Believing Again, “The One”, Donald Lawrence Teams with Yolanda Adams on Single

Church News First Lady Files

Pastor Profile

19 From The Pulpit

Pastors Speak Life to Effort to Beat Colon Cancer

21 22 In Good Taste

Saving Grace

“”March to a drumbeat you believe in”, were the words of Harry Belafonte who died April 25 at the age of 96. Belafonte’s drumbeat earned him three Grammy Awards, a Tony Award and in duction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But his biggest passion was his humanitarian ism and activism, most notably in the civil rights move ment alongside Martin Luther King, Jr.

October 2022 advisory board #LAFOCUS @L.A.Focus @Lafocusnews Address all correspondence to: L.A. Focus, 333 W. Florence Ave., Suite C333 Inglewood, CA 90301 • (310) 677-6011 Subscription rates $25.00 per year. www.lafocusnewspaper.com Publisher/Editor-In-Chief Staff Writers Photographer Advertising Lisa Collins Gerald Bell, Quita Bride, JT Torbit Ian Foxx Kisha Smith staff Napoleon Brandford Apostle Beverly Crawford Lem Daniels Bob Blake Siebert, Brandford, Shank & Co. Bible Enrichment Fellowship Int’l Morgan Stanley Bob Blake & Associates West Angeles C.O.G.I.C. Bishop Charles Blake City of Refuge Bishop Noel Jones Greater Zion Church Family Pastor Michael J.T. Fisher Southern Saint Paul Church Rev. Xavier L. Thompson Faithful Central Bible Church Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer Mt. Moriah Baptist Church Pastor Emeritus Melvin Wade Baptist Minister’s Conference Pastor K.W. Tulloss Inglewood Minister’s Assoc. Bishop Robert T. Douglas Sr. honorary advisors Cover Design: UpScale Media Group L.A. Focus/ May 2023 3 contents L.A. Focus Publications May2023
(Left) Pastor William Smart, Charles Dickerson, Capri Maddox, Senator Raphael Warnock, Areva Martin and Holly Mitchell at the 7th Annual SCLC Labor and Community Luncheon; (Middle) Mayor Karen Bass gives her first State of the City address; (Last) Tracey Morgan, Tichina Arnold, Lynn Whitfiled and Steve Harvey join Martin Lawrence (center) in celebrating his star ceremony on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Clarence Thomas
NAREB Wants Special Purpose Credit Programs to Bridge Black-White Homeownership Gap
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Unite or an Apology Tour to Re-Engage the Community, Pastor Set to Throw His Hat in The Race for Tenth District Council Seat
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From
Should All Get Into Good Trouble Like Tenn. State Reps Pearson and Jones” 4
The Editor
Who Was Victimized in the Mark-Ridley Thomas Case?”
L.A.’s Faith Community Marks A Changing Of The Guard in Leadership Headlines From Africa 8 HeadToHead 13 10
Yara Shahidi
Met Gala 2023

“We Should All Get Into Good Trouble Like Tenn. State Reps Pearson and Jones”

In his prolific final words, Brother John Lewis wrote “When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It is an act…” and demanded that each of us “answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe.”

In his remarks, he dictated the essence of public service and struck at the heart of what it means to be an active participant in our democracy.

We fight for the things we believe in because there is no certainty that others will if we don’t. That is what Tennessee state Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson did when their community was traumatized by gun violence and what Rep. John Lewis did when he held a sit-in on the House floor to advocate for the same sort of action to address schools in our nation turning into war zones.

It was a dark day for our country when Republicans in Tennessee decided to act against the values that we hold dear in our Constitution and our democracy by silencing the voices of Reps. Pearson and Jones.

In an extraordinarily rare act, Republicans in the Tennessee state House showed that they are more concerned with cracking down on our democratic freedoms and right to free speech than they are with ensuring the safety of our children.

This move, which has only been executed a few times in Tennessee history, not only targeted two young, Black male lawmakers but temporarily disenfranchised the thousands of Black voters that they represent.

Unfortunately, driving out Black voices and Black manhood through punitive measures is a common theme in our American story.

That is why I have introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives to denounce this heinous act and expose it as a move that is both anti-democratic and painfully racist.

Over the last several years, some Republicans have shown their willingness to turn against our democratic norms. On Jan. 6, 2021, they incited a riot at the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop the peaceful transition of power from one president to another.

Last year, they pushed to rescind abortion access and turn back the clock on women’s rights.

In states like Ohio, North Carolina, and Georgia, they have launched successful gerrymandering campaigns and anti-Black voter discrimination policies to drown out the voices of Black residents. And, in their latest stunt, they have shown what happens when they wield power: they will kick duly elected public servants out of office.

It is a bleak irony that while Democrats were silenced for demanding commonsense measures to address gun violence, Republicans blindly hold onto their out-of-context interpretation of 2nd Amendment rights. Children are dying, and rather than roll up their sleeves and save lives, they cower behind the NRA.

As a member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I see stunning parallels to these GOP behaviors and the actions taken by autocrats to stamp out dissent. What Republicans are doing pushes us further from the ideals of our nation enshrined in our Constitution.

I believe my resolution is a strong statement that Congress should make against these actions, but I also believe more could be done as a country to rebuke the Republican-controlled Tennessee legislature. In a democracy, our collective choices have power and the ability to make an impact.

For example, a florist in Tennessee refused to provide her services to the Republican National Convention until they acted on gun laws.

We can go further. Student athletes should be reminded of the strong capital they hold in the Tennessee economy. Tennessee athletes fed up with their state’s

From the Editor

“Just Who Was Victimized in the Mark-Ridley Thomas Case?”

On May 1, attorneys for Mark Ridley-Thomas filed two post trial motions before the court laying out their arguments for a new trial due to actions by the jury and or procedural errors by the judge. (See our story on page 6). The motions will initiate a series of filings by the prosecution and his attorneys and will be heard on June 26, which is coincidentally the same day Dean Marilyn Flynn is set to be sentenced.

The jury acquitted the former councilmember and supervisor of all fraud and bribery counts related to the USC’s admission, scholarship and appointment to a position for his son, former Assemblymember Sebastian so let’s puts to rest the assertion that this case was about getting something for his son.

So, who then were the “victims” in this case? The government contends it was the public, taxpayers and Mark Ridley-Thomas’ constituents – that did not receive his duty to provide them “honest services” as their on a Telehealth contract in order to procured the USC dean’s transfer of a $100k donation his ballot communitee made to the school to United Ways of California for the benefit of the Policy Research & Practice Initiative (PRPI), a think tank founded by Ridley-Thomas' son.

However, it is questionable whether RidleyThomas' constituents were actually victims in this case as neither of the two prosecutorial approaches set by federal circuit courts, i.e., "reasonably foreseeable economic harm" and "materiality," seem to have occurred.

In actuality, Ridley-Thomas, a longstanding proponent of voter rights and the founder of the African American Voter Registration, Education and Participation Project as well as the Empowerment Congress (its goal to educate, engage and em-

power), “funneled” the money through USC to United Ways to fund a voting study for Blacks. The idea was that the USC connection would lend more credibility to the study as an academic institution.

So, if that is the case, the people who really lost out were the Black folks who would have benefitted from the study and more broadly, the general public.

No one in the city’s Tenth District or the county’s 2nd Supervisorial has complained–at least on record –of being defrauded. The legal $100k donation to USC from Ridley-Thomas’ Committee for a Better L.A. came mostly from political contributions made by people of like mind who wanted Blacks to be empowered by the election process and to address the crisis of homelessness in Los Angeles. To that end, Ridley-Thomas was doing exactly what was expected of him by his constituents.

Just something more to think about...

Switching gears, it was a lifelong devotion to her mother and a disdain for the ill treatment of many elders by their offspring is what prompted Anna Jarvis, a West Virginia school- teacher to mount a letter writing campaign in support of a national day in tribute to mothers. She began the campaign in 1905, after the death of her mother on May 9. It took three years before her appeals to ministers, businessmen and politicians paid off, with many of the churches she'd petitioned holding observances on May 10. In 1910, West Virginia became the first state to proclaim a day of observance to mothers and in 1914, it became a national holiday with President Woodrow Wilson proclaiming the second Sunday in May as its official date.

But enough of the why. The when is now–this month–as we celebrate mothers and the women who have acted as so in our lives. As a child, you hardly ever see, yet alone understand the struggles of your parents,

inaction on gun violence and retaliation against democracy can sub mit applications to transfer to a different state through the Athlete Portal.

Talent in the entertainment industry can also ex press their distaste by using their platforms to openly talk about this issue and to condemn Republican wrongdoing. Producers in entertainment can refuse to work in Tennessee and take their money elsewhere, as well.

As someone who appreciates the relationship between arts, culture, and democracy, I would suggest award shows, festivals, and sporting events to reconsider when and where they host events in Tennessee. Wouldn’t you rather attend these types of events in states with a more democratic vibe, anyway?

We are at a grave moment in our nation’s history when elected officials turn their backs on children who are dying at the hands of gun violence, which is now the No. 1 cause of death for our kids. But it doesn’t have to be this way. The Tennessee Three showed us that there is power in our voice, and certainly, there remains power in our vote. However, we cannot forget that there is power in our actions, and our pocketbooks as well.

Each of us must remember the words departed onto us by the late Congressman John Lewis. We must get into Good Trouble just like Pearson and Jones, and, when we feel our democracy backsliding, we must do everything we possibly can to defend it.

particularly mothers–whose acceptance or rejection is paramount in those all too formative years. My mom, though beautiful, found it difficult to maintain relationships due to the fact that she was divorced, with three children and being I didn't have a clue as to what she was going through. All I knew was that she was the prettiest mom in the day care center, and whenever she came inside to pick us up, the other kids would be green with envy.

Today, I understand and appreciate her struggles, realizing that all I have become is due in some part to some of them. I am reminded of the words contained in Tupac Shakur's hit, “Dear Mama”: "there's no way I can pay you back, but my plan is to show you that I understand. You are appreciated.'

To the left is a picture of my mom. I'm sure she would have preferred a more current snapshot. But as it's my favorite shot of her, I opted to instead reflect back to a time when I was just eight years old and she was the prettiest mother in my world.

Happy Mother’s Day to all and keep the faith.

4 L.A. Focus/ May 2023 Commentary U.S. REP. SIDNEY KAMLAGER-DOVE
Guest Columnist

UpFront

Ridley-Thomas Defense Files Motions Seeking New Trial, Acquittal

The defense team for Dr. Mark Ridley-Thomas filed two motions earlier this week with Judge Dale S. Fischer arguing he deserves a new trial because the government’s star witness, FBI Agent Brian Adkins, gave false testimony on at least three occasions. In their second filing the defense team outlined multiple instances where the government failed to present sufficient evidence on the charges and in some cases “a total failure of proof” which should lead, according to the filings, to an outright acquittal of the jury’s conviction.

On March 30, 2023, the jury acquitted Ridley-Thomas of all fraud counts related to Probation University and Vermont Street Reentry Center, as well as all counts related to the USC admission, scholarship, and Professor of Practice appointment of his son, former Assemblymember Sebastian Ridley-Thomas.

In all Ridley-Thomas was found not guilty on 12 of the 19 charges brought against him by the government. The jury convicted Ridley-Thomas on conspiracy, bribery, honest services mail fraud and four counts of honest services wire fraud, but an examination of the record shows that the government failed to make an evidentiary showing on key elements of those counts.

The motion for the new trial, referred to as a Rule 33 motion, argues that the jury’s decision to convict Ridley-Thomas was likely driven by Agent Adkins and his false or misleading testimony. During his testimony Adkins falsely testified about a Telehealth contract extension and incor-

rectly misrepresenting an interview by the FBI with John Sherin, former head of the County’s Department of Mental Health.

“Agent Adkins’ false statements therefore created the only pathway for the jury to infer that support for the Telehealth amendment was it genuine, which bears directly on Dr. Ridley-Thomas’s intent,” according to the filing. The defense team also called out the government’s improper behavior, improperly “vouching” for Agent Adkins and elicited improper testimony concerning his opinion of RidleyThomas’ guilt.

The second motion, Rule 29, provides that “the court on the defendant’s motion must enter a judgment of acquittal of any offense for which the evidence is insufficient to sustain a conviction”. The defense team argued in its filing that the government didn’t present the evidence it needed to support a conviction.

Prosecutors chose not to call a single

Black Teen Sets Record, with $10M in Scholarship Offers

through the process, the numbers just started increasing.”

Barnes and school counselor Denise James worked to shatter the $8.7 million record after Barnes realized he was close. The record is even more impressive because there are no third-party scholarships. Instead, all his offers came directly from the schools.

While Barnes says he spent many hours applying to schools around the country, school, and extracurriculars took precedence over his pursuit.

“I was still doing other things,” Barnes said. “I did incorporate it into my schedule one way or another, but I just did it whenever I had time.”

witness from the County of Los Angeles. It subpoenaed no documents from the County and presented no evidence that Ridley-Thomas received any financial benefits, simply relying on speculation to prove corrupt intent. According to the filing, Prosecutors failed to make the case about the value of the County’s Telehealth contract. In fact, the inflated, multi-million-dollar amount prosecutors alleged was rebuffed by documents as well as testimony from a senior USC representative who indicated that the revised contract amount remained the same and would provide no additional revenue to USC.

The government’s key witness, FBI Agent Brian Adkins, could not recall how the money worked with the Telehealth contract and did not know the specifics of how the county process worked for approval of county items. Adkins did not speak to anyone to try to understand it. He did not know if the normal process was followed with respect to each of the county items at issue.

Instead, Adkins relied on a review of “some” of Ridley-Thomas’ subpoenaed emails (only his AOL account, not his county email) to understand “generally how that may have worked.” The government presented no evidence that RidleyThomas pressured anyone to support any legislative item.

Prosecutors have until May 22 to file their response to the defense team’s motions. A hearing before Judge Fischer is scheduled for June 26 where she will consider both motions.

Michael Lawson To Step Down as President/CEO of the L.A. Urban League

Michael A. Lawson has announced that he intends to step down as President and CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League by the end of this year. A former partner with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom with a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law, Lawson was heading into retirement after serving as an ambassador in the Obama administration when he was called to lead the organization in 2018.

Egypt Decries Casting of Cleopatra as Black in Upcoming Netflix Series from Jada Pinkett Smith

Egypt is not happy with Netflix. Its Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) is accusing the network of misrepresenting history with its casting of a Black woman as Cleopatra in its upcoming docudrama, Queen Cleopatra, which is narrated and executive produced by Jada Pinkett Smith.

Adele James–a British actress of mixed ancestry–was cast as the lead in the miniseries that is set to debut on May 10, sparking backlash in Egypt and calls for Netflix to be banned. A Stop the Cleopatra Documentary on Netflix due to historical falsification” has racked up over 40,000 signatures.

“The Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities confirms that Queen Cleopatra had light skin and Hellenistic (Greek) features,” the SCA said in a statement posted online.

“The appearance of the heroine is a falsification of Egyptian history and a blatant historical fallacy, especially since the film is classified as a documentary film and not a dramatic work, which requires those in charge of its production to investigate accuracy and rely on historical and scientific facts to ensure that history and civilizations are not falsified,” said SCA Secretary General Mostafa Waziri.

“The rejection experienced by the film before it comes out is sparked out of defense of the history of Queen “Cleopatra VII”, which is an important and authentic part of the ancient history of Egypt, and far from any ethnic racism, with full respect for African civilizations and for our brothers in the African continent that brings us all together”.

Waziri points to statues of Queen Cleopatra are the best proof that Cleopatra was white, though legend has left the color of her skin open to interpretation.

The producers of the show say that her ethnicity is not the focus, but it continues, “we did intentionally decide to depict her of mixed ethnicity to reflect theories about Cleopatra’s possible Egyptian ancestry and the multicultural nature of ancient Egypt.”

ixteen-year-old Dennis Barnes is believed to have set a new record, earning more than $9.7 million in scholarship offers from 170 colleges and universities.

Barnes, a senior at International High School in New Orleans who goes by his middle name, Maliq, has shattered the previous record of $8.7 million, and believes he may top out with more than $10 million in scholarship offers.

Barnes told the New Orleans NBC News station, “I started to apply to schools, and as I’ve gone

Barnes’ participation in track and basketball and serving as the National Honors Society executive president made him a well-rounded applicant.

He has a 4.98 GPA and speaks Spanish through an immersion school. That primary school foundation was imperative in his decision to attend International High School.

“That school was very important for me and my journey,” he told the network. “They set a strong foundation for me going into high school, and I think that’s a big reason I could say I am where I am today.”

In the five years since, Lawson has led the organization through a series of historic challenges from which it has emerged with a solid financial foundation and an ambitious programmatic vision.

“Leading the Los Angeles Urban League has been an extraordinary honor,” said Mr. Lawson. “I have had the pleasure of working with an exceptional team of dedicated individuals who have consistently outperformed expectations. As our impact grows and having just sold out our annual Whitney M. Young Jr. Awards Dinner with a record setting amount of funds raised, I am confident that this organization is on a path to a strong future.”

“Working with leading historians and experts including Shelley Haley (Professor of Classics and African Studies, Hamilton College) and Dr. Sally-Ann Ashton (Cleopatra scholar), we explore Cleopatra’s story as a queen, strategist, ruler of formidable intellect as well as a woman whose heritage is the subject of great debate,” read the statement posted by Netflix.

In a Twitter post, James said, “If you don’t like the casting, don’t watch the show.”

News Briefs
6 L.A. Focus/ May 2023 continued to page 20 Adele James S
STACY BROWN NNPA Newswire

UpFront

Urban League’s Annual State of Black America Calls Out Rising Racial Violence and Threats Against Democracy

Rfising hate crimes, racial violence and threats against democracy were front and center in the National Urban League’s annual State of Black America report. Titled “Democracy in Peril: Confronting the Threat Within”, this year’s study details the “explosive growth” of racial violence and right-wing extremism.

“There is a fire brewing in America”, the Urban League asserts. “Hate-fueled rhetoric and conspiracy theories have radicalized Americans and fanned the flames of an extremist movement. A movement that has taken flight from the internet's darkest corners and found its way into state legislatures, our courts, and the halls of Congress.”

According to the report, over 567 laws have been introduced to suppress children’s access to school libraries, censor and censure our educators, and rewrite American history. Additionally, that operating under the guise of “parents’ rights,” extremists are labeling diversity initiatives in education, and culturally competent curriculums, as critical race theory to suppress the teaching of Black history and center whiteness in the classroom. They are disrupting school board meetings and, under the leadership of extremist state leaders, have even introduced laws to arrest and prosecute teachers for doing their jobs.

“We’re not talking about a handful of bills. We’re talking about hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of proposals. We’re talking about a movement to normalize hate,” President Marc Morial said. “The depth of it – the reach of it –smacks of what we saw in the 1950s and ’60s.”

The far-right extremists advocating for the erasure of our civil liberties are infiltrating our military ranks, law enforcement, political system, and classrooms under the guise of “parents’ rights.” The racist ideologies supporting this movement can also be tied to the increase in hate crimes, mass shootings, and police brutality, claiming lives in communities of color every day.

“The mainstreaming of extremist ideology is an existential threat to American democracy, the rule of law, and decades of hard-won progress toward an equitable, inclusive, more perfect union,” President Marc Morial wrote. “No longer limited to passing out mimeographed leaflets on street corners or huddling in corners of the dark web, conspiracymongers and white nationalists openly spew their bile across social media and cable television. They weave it into the public policy they impose on their constituents. It corrodes the trust between police and the military and the communities they are sworn to protect and serve. “

Politicians cited for spouting harmful conspiracies included Marjorie Taylor Greene, current Arizona State Senator and self- proclaimed Oath Keeper Wendy Rogers (R), U.S. Representative Paul Gosar (R), U.S. Representative Lauren Boebert (R) and Angela Rigas (R). The report uses data and analysis from the

group’s research partners, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Anti-Defamation League, and UCLA Law in examining just how deeply extremist ideology has seeped into America’s most vital institutions, resulting in an ever-rising tide of deadly violence, oppressive laws, and weaponized racial polarization.

The report highlights five topics revealed as troubling threats:

1. A hate manifesto: The Rise in Violent Hate Crimes Across America.

2. Tracking parental rights’ movement rooted in racism: the threat within education.

3. Hate in the nation: The threat within America’s political system.

4. A threat to national security: Hate within law enforcement and the military.

5. The divided state of America: A

surge of divisive policies.

Ironically, in the days before its release, a threat against democracy was making headlines in America as the Tennessee Three–Reps. Justin Pearson, Gloria Johnson and Justin Pearson–faced expulsion for a gun support protest. For Morial, the failed attempt to oust the three highlighted the link between heightened racism and threats against democracy.

“We have censorship and Black history suppression, and now this,” Morial said. “To suppress and contain is to pick yet another rotten apple from the same tree.”

Contributing authors of the report also reflect on the aftermath of last year’s racially-motivated mass murder in Buffalo, New York that claimed the lives of

SMITH

10 African-Americans; address the increased threat to democracy and way of life posed by extremists; and outline how the federal government and civil rights organizations are fighting this threat.

“The time to act”, they say, “is now”. For more information, visit stateofblackamerica.org.

The Clarence Thomas Dilemma HeadToHead

It’s nearly impossible to avoid hearing about the many, many scandals surrounding Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Last year, we were knee-deep in the news that his wife was a little too close to the people leading an insurrection against the United States government. In the several weeks, we’ve learned about his cozy financial relationship with a top Republican donor, which Thomas later defended. And none of that even touches on the harassment allegations made against him by Law Professor Anita Hill.

Can Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas Actually Be Stopped?

The question with Thomas isn’t whether another scandal will break but when. However, despite his frequent appearances in the headlines, we’ve yet to see real movement on efforts to reign him and other Justices in. But that could change. Over 30 progressive groups, and several Democratic lawmakers, including Representative Ayanna Pressley (DMA), are launching a massive push this week calling for structural changes to the Supreme Court.

“Through its partisan decisions and repeated ethics violations, this far-right, extremist, and unaccountable Supreme Court is actively undermining our democracy and faces a crisis of legitimacy,” said Pressley in a statement. “It’s time for Congress to use its constitutional authority to expand the Court and pass a binding code of ethics for Supreme Court justices–real reforms that would restore the Court’s integrity and bring balance to the bench.”

The campaign, which also includes Democratic Senators Edward Markey (D-MA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), kicked off in Boston on Monday. The “Just Majority” tour will hit 20 cities nationwide before concluding in late June in Washington, D.C. Although complaints about the court certainly aren’t new, the sheer number of partners, in-

cluding the aforementioned influential lawmakers, is notable.

So, what exactly are progressives demanding in this campaign? Well, it’s nothing we haven’t heard before. The campaign is calling for Congress to enact a binding code of ethics for Supreme Court Justices and expand the court to include more than the current nine justices. The argument for court expansion is that it would help balance the judiciary, which many progressives claim has been captured by right-wing interest groups.

“Conservatives spent decades stacking our federal courts with ideologues, but it was the work of Trump and the Senate Republicans that dealt a major blow to our freedom when they rammed through a Supreme Court supermajority that’s already taken away our constitutional right to abortion,” said NARAL Pro-Choice America President Mini Timmaraju. “This is an existential crisis, and we need all of our options on the table to salvage the legitimacy of our judiciary.”

Although Congress theoretically has the power to add justices to the Supreme Court, it’s unlikely we’ll see that happening soon. For one thing, Republicans currently control the House, and they’re not exactly incentivized to add more liberal justices to the court. Even if Republicans weren’t in control, there’s still a good chance it would be a dud. President Joe Biden came out publicly against “court packing,” late last year. And a previous bill to expand the court when Democrats were in control was essentially dead on arrival.

So, what about ethics guidelines? It

Washington continued to page 20

Headlines From Africa

Benin: Rwanda has pledged military support to help Benin contain a “spillover” from jihadist conflict on the nation's northern border with Burkina Faso.

Central African Republic: The International Monetary Fund approved an Ex tended Credit Facility arrangement of $191.4 million in a coordinated effort by international financial institutions to assist the nation in averting a humanitarian crisis.

Chad: Hosting more than 1 million people forced to leave their homes, Chad officials fear the conflict in Sudan will pile more pressure on its limited resources.

Congo: The Democratic Republic of Congo's Inspectorate General of Finance has re vealed massive fraud in the public payroll department, where dozens of fictitious employees are costing the nation nearly $800 million a year.

Egypt: Goldman Sachs has warned that Egypt’s debt crisis and falling credit outlook are impacting the economies of high-yield sovereigns elsewhere in Africa.

Ethiopia: Peace talks between Ethiopia's federal government and the rebel Oromo Liberation Army are underway in Zanzibar. The talks— mediated by Kenya and Norway— come at a critical time for Ethiopia, which has experienced a rise in ethnic tensions and violence.

Ghana: As the first country to approve a new malaria vaccine that has been described as a "world-changer", Ghana represents a "significant milestone in efforts to combat malaria around the world".

Kenya: According to new scientific analysis, a devastating drought in the Horn of Africa—including Kenya—climate change sparked by human emissions are exacerbating the region's arid conditions, as well as the suffering of tens of millions of people.

We've seen this rodeo before.

The infamous Anita Hill affidavit and accusation of sexual harassment lodged against then Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991. Mr. Thomas denounced then-Sen. Joe Biden's sexual harassment hearings as a "high-tech lynching." Nominee Thomas was confirmed as a justice to the Supreme Court by a Democratic-controlled Senate.

Another High-Tech Lynching of Clarence Thomas

Now we are witness to an ongoing Anita Hill redux with hysterical verbal pummeling of Justice Thomas for neglecting to report gifts from Harlan Crow, who has never had a case before the high court. The justice has explained that he relied on legal advice of third parties in determining the reportability of gifts. Moreover, the work of the Supreme Court is intense and unrelenting. It requires intellectual concentration of the highest order. It is readily understandable why Justice Thomas did not divert his precious time in expounding the Constitution to the menial task of reporting gifts.

If sainthood were the standard for the Supreme Court, all nine seats would be vacant. Former Justice Stephen Breyer took at least 225 subsidized trips from 2004 to 2018 as reported by the Center for Responsive Politics. The trip destinations included Europe, Japan, India and Hawaii. Billionaire David Rubenstein paid for a trip to Nantucket, an island occupied by the 1%of the 1%.

The late Justice Antonin Scalia took at least 258 privately subsidized trips while sitting on the high court. He passed away while occupying an opulent Texas hunting lodge owned by John Poindexter, whose company had legal matters before

the Supreme Court.

Israeli billionaire Morris Kahn paid for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's private tour of Israel in 2018. The billionaire had previous business before the court. Moreover, Justice Ginsburg outrageously attempted to derail Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. The Justice first volunteered to The New York Times: "I can't imagine what his place would be –I can't imagine what the country would be – with Donald Trump as our president." That was no slip of tongue. Justice Ginsburg later added: "He is a faker. He has no consistency about him. He says whatever comes into his head at the moment. He really has an ego. ... How has he gotten away with not turning over his tax returns? The press seems to be very gentle with him on that."

Bruce Allen Murphy's 1982 pathbreaking book, "The Brandeis/Frankfurter Connection: The Secret Political Activities of Two Supreme Court Justices," disclosed recurring financial and partisan political irregularities of Justice Louis D. Brandeis and his understudy Justice Felix Frankfurter.

Can there be any doubt that if Justice Thomas sported a liberal jurisprudence that celebrated abortion, transgender rights, affirmative action, hyperstrict secularism and student protections against intellectual microaggressions, the media and Democrats would be treating his nonreporting of gifts as a venial faux pas, like misplacing a knife and fork at a state dinner? Their real grievance against the justice is his courageous unwillingness to shill for the liberal establishment – an insult they find especially offensive because Clarence Thomas is black and contradicts their gospel that all blacks think alike. Their ulterior motive is to force Justice Thomas' resignation by media harangues.

But who among us has the moral

Williams continued to page 20

A look at current news from the continent of Africa

Namibia: Germany and Namibia are being critized for violating the rights of Herero and Nama ethnic minorities by excluding them from talks over reparations for against their ancestors.

Inflation accelerates to 22.04% in Africa's biggest economy, eroding incomes and prompting the central bank to hike interest rates to their highest level in two decades.

Somalia: The House of Representatives votes 101-321 against withdrawing U.S. troops in Somalia.

Sudan: Civilians in Sudan scramble for safety as escalating violence makes for disastrous consequences and aid operations are forced to pause.

South Sudan: As the Sudan crisis rages, anger mounts among Americans who feel abandoned by the US government and left to fend for themselves amidst the violence.

Tanzania: In keeping with President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s emphasis on improving trade relations between Tanzania and other East African countries, Tanzania is moving forward with plans to construct the first bridge in Africa, spanning 50 kilometers, connecting the mainland to the Zanzibar Islands to facilitate the movement of people and commerce.

: Gay Ugandans flee the country in droves as the government gets closer to passing the 2023 Anti-Homosexuality legislation, known as the latest “Kill the Gays” bill. With its passage, those found guilty homosexuality can be imprisoned for up to 10 years, while those who pursue LGBTQ+ advocacy may be imprisoned for up to 20 years.

Zimbabwe: In a move to shore up Zimbabwe’s faltering national currency, the government will launch a digital currency —introducing tokens backed by gold reserves that can be used as a form of payment.

Jessica Washington Armstrong Williams

ast October, in a series of festivities billed as the “Honor & Celebration Weekend”, one of L.A.’s most renowned pastors, Bishop Charles E. Blake was saluted as he stepped down as spiritual leader of one of the city’s largest congregations, turning over the mantle of leadership to his son, Charles E. Blake II who was installed as pastor of the 10,000-plus member strong, West Angeles Church of God in Christ.

Then just two months ago, it was Bishop Kenneth Ulmer’s turn and in a monthlong series of celebrations and services, he retired as senior pastor of Faithful Central Bible Church, turning over leadership of his Inglewood-based mega fellowship to John Paul (J.P.) Foster.

Faithful Central and West Angeles COGIC aren’t the only churches in Los Angeles dealing with a shift in leadership. With Pastor J. Edgar Boyd set to retire this year as pastor of First AME, the city’s oldest Black church–now celebrating its 150th anniversary– will also be in a state of leadership transition with a new pastor (not yet announced) taking over this fall.

Last year, Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church installed Joshua Daniels as senior pastor, the result of a two-year search precipitated by the untimely death of Pastor E.V. Hill II in 2019. Hill’s death was preceded by the passing of A.D. Iverson, who pastored one of the city’s most storied churches (Paradise Baptist Church) and was followed in short order by the passings of Dr. Earl Pleasant Jr. (Greater New Bethel Baptist Church) and Pastor Jerome Fisher, (Greater Zion Church Family). And on February 12, 2021, the faith community marked the passing of Apostle Frederick K.C. Price (Crenshaw Christian Center).

To be sure, the L.A. faith community is in a season of transition and as a collective, the pastors who’ve transitioned out of leadership have left some pretty big shoes to fill, particularly as many of them not only changed the landscape of the faith community locally but like Price, Blake and Ulmer have been recognized nationally as trailblazers.

Price– credited with revolutionizing the way Black ministries have evolved over the last five dec-

ades–blazed a trail for the likes of T.D. Jakes with his televangelism model, Ever Increasing Faith at one point reaching an estimated 15 million households weekly. His keen business savvy as evidenced in the purchase of 32acre, former Pepperdine University complex, which now houses the Faithdome in the heart of South L.A.–also inspired churches to a new level of community development. Prior to his death, he’d also blazed a trail for his son, Fred Price Jr., who he groomed to take the reins as senior pastor.

Blake–who led the nation’s largest Black denomination for more than a decade and mastered the church community development model with corporate partnerships and housing–has been dubbed as one of the nation’s most gifted and anointed preachers of all times. Ulmer–whose church became the largest ever with its purchase of the Inglewood Forum–underscored how churches could become drivers of local economy.

“At one time, L.A. was considered as one of the preaching capitals of the nation for its tremendously influential pastors–E.V. Hill, Tim Chambers, Cecil Murray, Melvin Wade, Bishop H.H. Brookins, of course, you had Blake, Fred Price, Noel Jones and Kenneth Ulmer,” recalled Welton Pleasant, who serves as senior pastor of Christ Second Baptist Church in Long Beach and president of the California State Baptist Convention. “Those names were nationally known names across the country. It's probably not considered a church town anymore, but at one time it was popping in LA.”

Over the last two decades, the city has lost its luster as a church town and a transition amplified by a pandemic has led to major shift in the Black church everywhere, impacting everything from attendance to finance and leaving many to wonder about L.A.’s next generation of faith leaders. And the bigger the church, it seems the more challenging the transition.

There are no specific statistics on what percentage of church members leave during a transition of leadership, as it can vary greatly depending on the circumstances and dynamics of each individual church and transitioning leader. However, studies have shown that it's not uncommon for some members to leave during this process.

LISA COLLINS Staff
L“ ” 10 L.A. Focus/ May 2023
Many of these larger churches are personality driven. That’s one of the problems, because some of these men are larger than life and after being in a church so long, those members are their disciples in a lot of ways, so if a new pastor comes into a church and wants to make changes, it’s like World War III.

It is a point that was not lost on devoted West Angeles COGIC member, Magic Johnson, who addressed the church membership during last fall’s installation festivities.

“Pastor Charles Blake II, we’re going to get on board,” declared the NBA Hall of Famer. “I followed your Dad. I’m going to follow you. I don’t want to hear no more talk…[or] social media. This wasn’t just Bishop’s decision. This was God’s decision. This man has brought us this far and his son’s going to take us to the next level.”

“Many of these larger churches are personality driven,” noted Pleasant. “That’s one of the problems because some of these men are larger than life and after being in a church so long, those members are their disciples in a lot of ways, so if a new pastor comes into a church and wants to make changes, it’s likeWorld War III.”

To that end, church insiders believe that it's important for churches to have a well thought out plan in place to minimize the impact on the congregation. But as one church insider observed, “No matter who the faith leader is, there is always going to be fallout with change. It’s unavoidable and in a city like Los Angeles where there have been so many dynamic church personalities coupled with a steady rotation of worshippers moving from church to church, fallout is a given.”

All of the transition has made Bishop Noel Jones (City of Refuge) the lone elder statesman among L.A.’s largest Black churches.

“Succession is inevitable because nobody is indispensable,” Jones said. “The problem I see with the preachers coming up now is that they are looking at the achievements of the previous generation in terms of mega–meaning financial wealth, private jets, monster houses–that lifestyle. What they don't realize is that the previous generation was not working towards that.

“They've gotten caught up with the glamor and the trappings that go with preaching. I have always been as low-key as I could, even with all the controversy I've stirred up, because I’ve lived by the motto that I'm too flawed to be flashy and I think that they're too flawed to be flashy. Let's get in the word, let's focus on building people's lives and not focus on being all of that in our own eyes.”

It’s a point Pleasant agrees with.

“Some in the generation of pastors I see as emerging just want a megachurch for their own glorification and the competition that's emerged is scary to me when we all should be on the same team.”

“My hope,” adds Jones, “is predicated only on the fact that they would humble themselves to the point where they realize I did not achieve this, I just received this, and I should be grateful for having received it; and because I received it from a great man, I should now become the best I can be and buckle down and get in the word of God with the right disposition.

“That's my word to all the young men who will listen. I'm not making any judgements of who you are, where you are, what you are. I'm simply saying that if you are going to continue the great works that have been established in this city, you have to humble yourself, selfcheck, see whether or not you are biblically accurate, and go forward from that platform.”

Complicating matters is COVID which has changed the playing field altogether, particularly as it relates to the mega church mentality that has permeated the

church landscape.

“I recently read an article defining the new mega church as 200 members in attendance,” Pleasant reports. “And keep in mind, that's written from a white protestant perspective, so the number is probably lower in the African American tradition and that's not exclusive to Los Angeles. That's all of the nation.

“Another culture shift,” Pleasant continues, “is that the era of George Floyd has put the church in a lot of ways back to our position of speaking truth to power, which I think was hijacked by the prosperity movement.”

For Bishop Kenneth Ulmer, the changing of the guard is significant and timely because of a shift in culture.

“The impact of things like the hip hop generation and pioneers like Kirk Franklin that have now woven this new style and this new flow into the church has been positive,” Ulmer explains. “But I also think it is connected to a culture that may be the most ungodly culture in the history of the church in terms of morality, priorities and values. It's just different. The way and the word that we had five-ten years ago, the culture's not hearing that, but that doesn't mean the church is not the church. So, you've got to have guys like Albert Tate, Michael Fisher and J.P. Foster who can come in and recognize that we're about to cross the Jordan into a whole other land now while not denying the journey that brought the church here.

“I recognize that this new generation is not mine to serve, but rather to share my 40-plus years of Kingdom experience with those who have been called to serve this new generation,” says Ulmer of his repositioning as pastor to the new pastor. “I want to try to stabilize things while he [J.P. Foster] has the opportunity and the time to bring in people who will come because of him, not because of me.”

For Foster, it’s a matter of adjusting to people’s changing rhythms.

“The body of Christ has gone through a lot the last two or three years just as far as politically, racially, and I think a lot of these things have impacted how this generation and the younger generation even views the church,” said Foster. “The theology has to match what people are experiencing existentially.”

Foster is one of those being viewed as a new guard of pastors on the rise in the city’s faith community that includes Pastors Geremy Dixon (Center of Hope), Charles Blake II (West Angeles COGIC), Frederick Price, Jr. (Crenshaw Christian Center), Michael J.T. Fisher (Greater Zion Church Family), Warryn Campbell (California Worship Center), Toure´ Roberts (One LA), Joshua Daniels (Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church), Johnteris Tate (Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church) and K.W. Tulloss (Weller Baptist Church).

“We’re leading in unprecedented times,” states Tulloss, president of the Baptist Minister’s Conference. “Our city is facing new challenges and struggles, and as we celebrate the leadership of those that paved the way, we will take what we learned from them and apply the strategies to push forth our communities in this new day and time.

“I believe that God is calling leaders with new and fresh ideas to carry on the kingdom in such a time as this. I’ve had the opportunity to grow up watching E.V. Hill, Cecil Murray, Fred Price, Kenneth Ulmer…. They’ve set a standard and it’s a challenge to carry the

torch they lit.”

Geremy Dixon, however, is one of the pastors coming up who wouldn’t have it any other way. His Inglewoodbased, Center of Hope is thriving, and the church–which ceded leadership to him on the passing of his Dad, Bishop Gregory Dixon, now has two additional locations–one in South L.A. and the other in the San Fernando Valley.

“This generation of leaders –the way we are called to lead is going to be really unique,” Dixon said. “We are pastoring in a post-pandemic society so while there are some things that won’t ever change, the modalities that are going to be necessary in this era will demand of my generation a level of innovation and creativity that we probably haven’t seen in the last hundred years.

“People are not engaged in the ways in which our forebearers experienced their engagement. We can see that right now with many of the places that used to be filled with several services. It’s just a different era so we’re having to pick up a multitude of ways to engage and it’s hard but it’s exciting. It’s funny that back in the day pastors had to really pray to find out what was really going on with their member. Now, you’re able to know by virtue of what they put on social media.

“It would do us well to really study–not necessarily all of the manifestations of a previous movement relative to political engagement, but some of the underpinnings probably are still very viable,” Dixon continued. “They just need to be updated relative to how they would work with some of the newer technologies or cultural norms.”

“I also feel like now there’s much more of an emphasis on preaching a strong gospel in church on Sunday and then mobilizing on Monday to make sure the quality of life of our constituencies is being raised in every shape, form and fashion–social, economically, relative to health disparities, relative to the justice system.”

Dixon is not only excited by the work, but also by the dynamic group of leaders he believes will transform the L.A. church scene, perhaps even restoring it to its glory days as a church city.

Says Dixon, “What I see happening–and I don’t want to call any names–but there are tons of leaders who I consider to be colleagues and contemporaries that have been in the woodshed getting ready. They’ve been like laying the foundation and I think that in the next ten years, we’re going to see these leaders – who have been emerging all this time–really come to the forefront and do some incredible things in the culture. What I believe has been in like a proof of concept stage on a smaller level is going to be amplified in short order.”

For Charles Blake II, that time is now.

“Some have said that I have some very big shoes to fill, but I’m not supposed to fill my father’s shoes,” Blake stressed. “God gave Bishop Blake the shoes that he needed to walk in his time on his terrain, but now we are on different ground in a different age. God has given me the shoes that I need to walk the path through the terrain for this time. We’re facing a world and a culture that we have never seen before–a culture where up seems to be down, in seems to be, right seems to be wrong and wrong seems to be right.

“We can be sure that God is not through with West Angeles yet. We’re going to keep fighting the good fight, serving God’s people and touching the world. God has given us the power to change the world, so let’s get to work.”

(L-R) Bishop Charles Blake with son, Pastor Charles Blake II • Pastor John Paul (J.P.) Foster • Pastor Geremy Dixon • Pastor Michael J.T. Fisher

Money Matters

NAREB Wants Special Purpose Credit Programs to Bridge Black-White Homeownership Gap

The median net worth for Black households is an embarrassingly low $24,000 compared to $188,000 for white families.

And that’s one reason only 45.3% of Black Americans owned their homes in 2022, compared to 74.6% of white people, according to the National Association of Real Estate Brokers — or NAREB.

The organization, which counts as America’s oldest trade association for Black real estate professionals, demands that mortgage lenders utilize Special Purpose Credit Programs (SPCPs) to increase mortgage originations from Black buyers.

The group believes this would help close the homeownership gap between races.

“It’s disappointing that more mortgage lenders are not using these programs to increase homeownership, especially for those living in under-resourced communities,” NAREB President Lydia Pope said.

“America has a low homeownership rate among Black families because of the overt racism in government and private sector practices and policies that limited the building of intergenerational wealth. SPCPs provide opportunities to balance the scale and put more Blacks on a path towards building wealth through homeownership.”

SPCPs are credit assistance programs for economically or socially disadvantaged consumers and commercial enterprises.

The programs, which have been available for nearly 50 years but are rarely used, allow banks and creditors to consider prohibited-basis information in credit transactions to meet special social needs or to help a buyer of lesser means.

In 2021, the U.S. Housing and Urban Development released guidance that SPCPs can legally be developed by non-profit and for-profit financial institutions to help resolve barriers faced by poorer groups, such as Blacks, Hispanics, and women, when they seek to purchase a

Biz News Briefs

McDonald’s To Face Byron Allen in Court This Month

On

home. Examples of such programs include where buyers can have a higher loan-to-value ratio than usual or a lower down payment.

NAREB noted that Rocket Mortgage recently announced that it expanded its special-purpose credit program to offer a $3,000 credit for first-time homebuyers to use toward their down payment in select cities.

Previously, Rocket Mortgage announced its Purchase Plus program, which offered first-time buyers up to $7,500 in credits to use toward their mortgage costs.

Additionally, the company said it would offer Freddie Mac’s BorrowSmart Access program for buyers purchasing homes in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, El Paso, Houston, McAllen, Memphis, Miami, Philadelphia, and St. Louis.

Pope called the programs “vital,” mainly because a divided Congress is unlikely to pass significant legislation addressing the homeownership gap in America.

“This is an opportunity to use public policy for good, to expand opportunities for Black families to enjoy the American Dream of homeownership,” she said.

“Homeownership is the major driver of wealth for Black families. By increasing homeownership, it will strengthen communities and expand family economic security.”

Ironically, Pope noted that before World War II, the government rolled out a series of initiatives for white families to purchase homes and build wealth.

She said that action led to a housing boom, creating modern suburbs surrounding major cities nationwide.

Pope also said that the wealth made from home equity has been passed down from generation to generation, making it possible for white families to improve their quality of life and keep living in their homes.

However, African Americans aren’t allowed to participate in those programs, and the private sector and

the Money

Facebook May Owe You Money

If you used Facebook between May 24, 2007, and December 22, 2022, you’re eligible to file a monetary claim against Facebook. That’s because Meta–the parent company of Facebook–agreed to settle a class action lawsuit accusing the company of sharing user information without permission in one of the largest data leaks in Facebook history.

The breach reportedly provided access to the social media activity of millions of Facebook users to build voter profiles Cambridge Analytica to aid former President Donald Trump in his 2016 presidential bid.

Here’s what you need to do:

Visit the claim website: https://www.facebookuserprivacysettlement.com and provide your name, address, email, phone and your Facebook user name. Other basic information needed is as follows:

• If you resided in the U.S. between May 24, 2007, and December 22, 2022

• If you were a Facebook user between May 24, 2007, and December 22, 2022

• If you deleted your account in that period, the date range when you were a Facebook user

• The payment service you prefer, such as PayPal, Venmo or a prepaid Mastercard

What you stand to receive of the $543.7 million pot that is left over after fees is anyone’s guess. A great deal of that depends on how many of Facebooks 247 million users apply for the claim though by all accounts it is likely to be small.

A final approval hearing for the settlement has been set for September 7, 2023 to decide whether to approve the settlement. Only when that happens will monies would be distributed. Then, of course, you’ll have to pray that Facebook doesn’t appeal the case, which would further delay the settlement.

Byron Allen took out a full page ad in the Chicago Tribune asking Wall Street mogul Carl Icahn to join his fighting the racism against Black America by McDonald’s” given the billionaire’s speaking out against McDonald’s inhumane treatment of pigs.

“Mr. Icahn”, I commend your activism,” the letter begins. “I must ask you to join us in taking another important step against McDonald’s in the fight against their blatant racism against Black America.” The ad goes on to cite multiple instances of racist treatment.

Allen filed a $10 billion lawsuit against McDonalds, accusing the fast food chain of failing to advertise equitably with Black-owned media, spending just $5 million of its $1.6 billion annual advertising budget on African

American-owned media.

Said Allen, “This is about economic inclusion of African American-owned businesses in the US economy. McDonald's takes billions from African American consumers and gives almost nothing back. The biggest trade deficit in America is the trade deficit between White corporate America and Black America, and McDonald's is guilty of perpetuating this disparity."

The case was set to go to trial this month.

LL Cool J’s Rock the Bells Sets New Milestone

LL Cool J has entered into a multi-year first-look deal with Paramount Global for his Rock the Bells global platform, a radio station and web platform that also provides provides Hip-Hop lovers with a single global destination for content, commerce and experiences. The platform–which recently received a $15 million funding round–will include scripted and unscripted feature film. It is also likely to live stream the rapper/actor’s upcoming Rock the Bells Festival set for August in Queens, New York, where LL Cool J was raised.

“Hip-Hop is an art form that many people doubted from day one, but our culture continues to rise to higher heights! I’m honored that Rock the Bells is leading this resurgence of timeless Hip-Hop, while simultaneously

bridging the generations,” said Rock The Bells Founder and CEO LL Cool J.” I’m so excited about all of the amazing things we have planned for the community, fans and brands! This is just the beginning.”

Serena Williams Expands Business Empire

Serena Williams is proving not only to be an ace in tennis but in business as well with investments in more than 60 startups through her firm Serena Ventures. The 41-year old tennis superstar–who also owns a stake in the Miami Dolphins–is added yet another business to her portfolio with the launch last month of 926 Productions, a multimedia production company aimed at empowering women and diverse voices.

“With the launch of 926 Productions, we aim to elevate female and diverse voices through content that speaks to everyone. I’m so excited to begin this next chapter of my career alongside Caroline [Currier], a woman who understands the art of storytelling and is passionate about evoking the entertainment industry in new directions. I look forward to collaborating with her and developing unique projects that inspire audiences across all platforms,” said Williams of the startup that has already aced a first-look TV deal at Amazon Studios.

13 L.A. Focus/May 2023
Money Matters continued to page 20

LIGHT SPOT HO L LY W OOD JT Torbit

“The Little Mermaid”

The Little Mermaid is making waves in the film industry as fans eagerly anticipate Disney's latest live-action remake. This timeless classic, originally released as an animated movie in 1989, tells the story of Ariel, a mermaid princess who dreams of living on land and marrying a human prince. The ensemble cast features Halle Bailey, Awkwafina, Melissa McCarthy and Javier Bardem.

The first teaser– released lastSeptember–gave us a glimpse of the underwater world of Atlantica. Bailey's stunning portrayal of Ariel capturesher youthfulness and rebellious spirit. Additionally, the inclusion of Awkwafina and McCarthy in the cast suggests that the movie will be filled with humor and heart, making it per-

OUT THIS MONTH

fect for audiences of all ages.

The casting of a Black actress as Ariel has sparked an important conversation about inclusivity and representation in storytelling. Bailey's portrayal of Ariel is sure to inspire a new generation of children who will see themselves represented on the big screen.

The anticipation surrounding film is growing by the day, with fans

Rihanna to Star as Smurfette in Upcoming Movie

Grammy-winner Rihanna once sang about wanting to feel like the "only girl in the world”. Now, she will actually be that, or at least be the only one in the village — the Smurf Village that is. The "Work" singer has revealed that she will play Smurfette in the upcoming live adaptation of the Smurf's movie. Rihanna shared the news alongside Paramount Animation head Ramsey Naito at CinemaCon in Las Vegas. Aside from starring in the film, Rihanna will write and record original songs for the film and serve as a pro ducer. A release date for the film has been set for Feb. 14, 2025.

Oprah Previews 2023

Color Purple Musical at CinemaCon

It's "not your mama's Color Purple” is how media giant Oprah Win frey described the upcoming revival of the 1985 Oscarnominated movie while sharing the first trailer for the Warner Bros' re boot alongside its stars Fanta

sia Barrino (Celie), Taraji P. Henson (Shug), and Danielle Brooks (Sophia). Winfrey, 69, says the project has "magical realism, wholesome family goodness, and an amazing cast.”

This will be the second silver screen adaptation of Alice Walker's award-winning novel. The first –released in 1985–starred Whoopi Goldberg, Margaret Avery, and Oprah Winfrey who earned an Oscar nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress. Steven Spielberg directed the original and will serve as a producer alongside Winfrey and famed-music icon Quincy Jones.

The official release date is Christmas Day 2023.

Court Date Nears for Jonathan Majors

The hearing for Creed III actor and rising star Jonathan Majors is set for May 8, but talk of more incidents and an exodus on the part of some of those representing him appear to indicate that the domestic abuse charges filed against the 33-year old actor may be a great deal more serious than first believed.

“Jonathan Majors is innocent and has not abused anyone. We have provided irrefutable evidence to the district attorney that the charges are false. We are confident that he will be fully exonerated,” his lawyer, Priya Chaudhry, has said. But in the weeks since his arrest, other women have reportedly come forward with allegations of abuse.

of the original animated movie eager to see how this live-action remake will bring their favorite characters to life. Moreover, new audiences are excited to be introduced to this timeless story. Despite some negative comments, it is clear that the movie–set to release on May 26–promises to be an emotionally resonant retelling of a beloved story, set to take audiences on a magical journey beneath the sea. Disney's live-action remakes have been successful in the past, and this latest installment is sure to be no exception. With stunning visuals, The Little Mermaid promises to be a must-watch movie of 2023, loved by generations to come, inspiring new audiences with its messages of love, perseverance, and following one's dreams.

Footnotes

YaraShahidi

Age: 23

Hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota

First Break: Imagine That

Breakout Role: Blackish

Current: Peter Pan and Wendy

Yara Shahidi shines as an industry vet at 23 years old. At six weeks old, she was a print model. By nine, she starred alongside Eddie Murphy, in Imagine That, but the past decade has been her most exciting era yet. The Harvard alum who portrayed Zoey Johnson on Black-ish for eight seasons before leading the show’s spinoff, Grown-ish. Not to mention, she signed a “massive production” deal with ABC Signature in 2020. This year, she debuted in her most iconic role yet as Tinkerbell.

On the reimagining of Tinkerbell:

Charged with three counts of assault in the third degree and one count of aggravated harassment in the second degree, three counts of attempted assault in the third degree, and one count of harassment in the third degree, the Manhattan’s D.A.’s office alleges that Majors not only struck, shoved and kicked the 30-year old woman, but also caused injury to “a family and household member of such person.”

The incident has not been good for business as the actor has been dropped from the feature adaptation of Walter Mosley’s novel The Man in My Basement, a reported Otis Redding biopic as well as an ad campaign for the Texas Rangers. The U.S. Army has paused its recruiting ads featuring Majors, instead reworking its $117 million campaign to create new ads without the appearance of Majors.

In other entertainment news...

Yvonne Orji has signed a two year first look deal with Sony to develop scripted drama and comedy series for cable and streaming…Tyrese has been ordered by an Atlanta judge to pay a total of $237,944 in back child support to ex-wife Samantha Lee Gibson for their daughter and $399K for her attorney fees. While the actor has been paying child support, it has not been the $10K the judge ordered and the $237K represents the difference. Half of the money is due on May 15 (Ouch!)...Finally, Jada Pinkett’s “Red Table Talk” has been canceled by Facebook and is now in talks for a new home. Stay tuned.

“They wanted to bring some new fun to this classic but also give us the fairy tale we deserve. It’s evident they’re not just popping Black and Brown folks in the cast for the sake of updating the story. Instead, it’s about creating a story that so many more people can see themselves in after we’ve been left out for so long.”

On facing racially charged backlash for being casted as Tinkerbell:

“I think oftentimes people think of diversity and inclusion as threatening or jeopardizing the quality of the story, instead of seeing how beautifully they can be interwoven together to create something that impacts even more people, that lets even more people into stories that we love.”

On how she balanced work and play as a child actor:

“One thing my mother has always said is acting is something we do, but it's not who we are. I've always appreciated that distinction because it's meant I've always had a personal life with hobbies and friends. My acting career was never all-consuming. Before Black-ish, I was guest-starring on a lot of shows, but I would go to work and then go back to school or attend things like karate class."

On graduating from Harvard with a degree in African American Studies:

“It’s surreal to have finally hit this major milestone. I’ve known I wanted to go to college since I was four. By 17, I knew exactly what I wanted to study, so to see that come to fruition is a goal fulfilled.”

On being raised to be of service to the world:

"It’s something that I’m personally even conflicted about. In this moment, for example, I think a lot of the work that I’m hoping to do is about pointing people toward the organizers and the people on the front lines of this movement, because they have the most prescient, most real, most necessary voices. The greatest skill about having a platform, I think, is handing over the mic.”

On getting her own “Sheroes” Barbie Doll: “I’m honored to be repping all the young ones as a Barbie Role. Let’s continue to inspire the next generation and each other. We need your voices and are watching you all Blossom and shine!”

Guardians of the Galaxy 3 May 5 Fast X May 19 The Little Mermaid May 26 The Mother (Netflix) May 12
14 L.A. Focus/ May 2023 HOLLYWOOD
BUZZ

RedCarpet Style

LIZZO was a standout in this Chanel black formal accented with pearls

VIOLA DAVIS was dazzling in this glimmering pink Valentino gown with feathered bodice

Eye On Gospel

J.J. Hairston is Believing Again

J.J. Hairston. Hairston returns to the top of Billboard's Gospel charts after being named a Top Gospel Artist of the Decade, with his current single, "Reminder (feat. Deon Kipping)."

The project features stand-out collaborations with Travis Greene, Kipping, Crystal Aiken, Zebulon Ellis and more. The first volume of the project was released in September. Believe Again, Vol. II is the first fulllength project the Grammy-nominated artist has completed since being installed as the Senior Pastor of All Nations Worship Assembly in Washington D.C.

"Previously, my creative process evolved from the worship perspective. Although I am still a worshiper, as a pastor, I teach more. Now, each musical project starts with a thought or scripture. I spend a great deal of time thinking about what I want people to get from each song," shares Hairston. "Faith is a choice, and we hope the album will inspire people to choose God."

Hairston is continuing his devotion to a greater purpose alongside his wife, Trina, having recently released a book, “A Miracle Marriage”.

“The One”

TV One has reportedly signed Kirk Franklin–and his wife Tammy–up to host “The One”, an all-new competitive dating series hosted by Kirk and Tammy Franklin. The Franklins will be sharing their thoughts on what it takes to maintain a

KEKE PALMER was stunning as in this fitted white sequined Sergio Hudson gown

KERRY WASHINGTON was a showstopper in this sheer black floral lace ensemble by Michael Kors

YARA SHAHIDI shined in this gorgeous bronze two-peice from Jean Paul Gaultier

healthy relationship on the dating show.

In the meantime, BET+ has renewed its popular music-driven drama series Kingdom Business for a second season. The show is produced in part by Franklin along with DeVon Franklin and Holly Carter. Kingdom Business explores the gospel music industry through the lenses of family, faith, love and the redemptive power of music.

Yolanda Adams returns to lead the series as the reigning “Queen of Gospel” Denita Jordan and Serayah as Rbel, a talented up-and-coming gospel star with a troubled past who threatens Denita’s crown.

Joining as recurring guest stars for season two are Loretta Devine and Lou Gossett as Denita Jordan’s parents. Musical guests this season include Tasha Cobbs Leonard and Chandler Moore who earned a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album. Returning for Season 2 are Kiandra Richardson as “C.J. Jordan-Walker,” Tamar Braxton as “Sasha”, and La’Myia Good as “Essence.”

Production on the new season is currently underway.

In other gospel news, Kirk Franklin recently made music history as the first person to reach the 100-week milestone on a songwriters chart.

“As a songwriter, there are few things more gratifying than seeing your work connect with people on a deep level,” Franklin tells Billboard. “To have my music resonate with so many for 100 weeks is truly a humbling experience. I am grateful beyond words to those that love my music for their support and to everyone who has played a part in bringing my music to life.”

Franklin has also announced the return of the Exodus Music and Arts Festival set for later this month in Dallas. The annual gospel fest will feature Yolanda

Adams, Tasha Cobbs Leonard, Tamela Mann and Natalie Grant among others and is headlined by Franklin. Donald Lawrence Teams with Yolanda Adams on Single Grammy award-winning producer, songwriter, and recording artist Donald Lawrence recently dropped a new single and music video, “In Him There Is No Sorrow,” honoring Twinkie Clark’s beloved song with a newly-recorded performance by Yolanda Adams. Lawrence created the single in celebration of pioneering award-winning gospel legend Twinkie Clark.

“In Him There Is No Sorrow” marks the first single release from Donald Lawrence’s upcoming tribute album highlighting Twinkie Clark’s early solo work with reimagined covers of her songs, whose talents as part of her family’s best-selling historic gospel group The Clark Sisters - as well as her work as a solo artistremain a trailblazing influence on gospel artists today.

In the newly-released single and video from Donald Lawrence & Co., Yolanda Adams sings a powerful, modernized version spotlighting Twinkie Clark’s incredible songwriting that’s made it a classic. Keeping the message of the original song, the “In Him There Is No Sorrow” remake is an emotional tribute praising faith and God’s abilities to provide strength and lift us up throughout our lives.

An integral force in crafting the sounds of The Clark Sisters and their solo endeavors, Lawrence was the music director on the 2020 Clark Sisters TV biopic. Briefly: Multiple award-winning gospel singer and minister, CeCe Winans, is set to host and speak at the GENERATIONS LIVE! 2023 women’s conference in Nashville, TN May 12th and 13th, sponsored by Compassion International and CVS. The conference now in its second year, is quickly becoming a premier event for women across the country seeking to connect, grow spiritually and be inspired.

It is dubbed as “fashion’s biggest night of the year” and this year’s red carpet at the Met Gala didn’t disappoint. The guest list includes celebrities globally from the worlds of fashion, entertainment, business and sports. Here are some of our favorite looks.

Pastors Unite for an Apology Tour to Re-Engage the Community

Pastor Set to Throw His Hat in The Race for Tenth District Council Seat

There’s less than a year to go until the next round of elections and already the races for who will win seven of the 15 council posts up for grabs are shifting into high gear. No where is that truer than in the CD 10 where those newly installed councilwoman Heather Hutt is set to face off against include Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer and attorney Grace Yoo.

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

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

Bishop Craig A. Worsham, Founder & Senior Pastor

Sunday School: 10:00am

Morning Worship: 11:00am

Loving, Lifting & Liberating Humanity Through The Word

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

Pastor Kyron S. Shorter

Sunday Morning Prayer: 9:00am

Sunday School: 9:30am

Morning Worship: 11:00am

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

On Pentecost Sunday, May 28, a group of Black pastors are coming together to launch an apology tour in an effort to restore the union between the local church and the local community–healing strained relationships and reintroducing their churches to neighborhood residents.

At 12:00 pm, each participating ministry will walk out of the building and into the community for 1-4 hours, offering varying services or giveaways reflective of that community's need assessment and priorities.

The Apology Tour is the brainchild of Pastor Shep Crawford of the Experience Christian Ministries, who believes that the interconnectedness between the church and community is so vital to the sustainability of both that we must restore the relationship.

“The union between the two entities (the church and the community) is in crisis, especially following the global pandemic”, Crawford said. “The apology is the approach, because we haven’t been there for residents in the way it’s needed. I’m very engaged in the community and they are very angry with the church. They feel like we’re in it for the money. Sure, we’ve done well with food giveaways, but they need us for far more than that. So, we’re trying to train pastors to engage the community within a one mile radius of their church. If we do that, L.A. will be covered.”

The collective of 100 faith-based organizations moving together in the united effort includes Baptist Minister’s Fellowship President, K.W. Tulloss, Center of Hope Pastor Geremy Fisher, Greater Zion Church Family Pastor Michael Fisher and Dr. Najuma SmithPollard, who pastors the Word of Encouragement Community Church.

The move is intended to tear down any walls of division, misunderstanding and tension between the church and the community.

“The goal,” says Crawford, “is for all participating ministries to meet with, talk with, and love the community surrounding their specific local churches. We hope to establish the church’s facilities as a safe and healthy space for community healing, resources, meetings, and peace advocate support.

“What we know is that in every community, there are several local houses of worship. We also know that with the shift in demographics, and the residual impact of the pandemic, there is a greater possibility of disconnect in the relationship between the community and the local ministry, house of worship, and vice versa. Our objective is simple, to revive and restore that the relationship and have both become stronger together.”

The engagement period for the effort is slated to last from June 2023 through May 2024. That the tour is set to launch on Pentecost Sunday is no accident.

“The united effort symbolizes The Day of Pentecost,” Crawford said. “This spirit-filled movement started in a building and eventually made its way to the streets, changing the community through the Spirit of God's love. This approach to communal unity is not intended to be just a special moment but a lasting movement.”

Set to join the race is Pastor Edward “Eddie” Anderson of McCarty Memorial Christian Church. While a formal announcement is pending, Anderson spoke to L.A. Focus about a possible run and his qualifications for the post.

“The fact that I am a pastor and a prophetic voice means that I take very seriously the call to serve the folks dealing with the pain in our community and with the broken systems. I have honed the skills of not only deep listening and organizing but also responding with folks around how do we get to the other side,” Anderson said. “That’s a unique characteristic I do not think you will find in the field of those running. Out of everyone I am the most aggressive person who has been a fighter and actually been a part of the brain trust and grass roots efforts to push change forward in this city over the last decade.”

Anderson has been serving the community as a spiritual leader and activist for more than a decade as a regional organizer for L.A. Voice, a co-founder of Clergy4BlackLives and as former Co-Chair of the New Poor People's Campaign in California (led nationally by Rev. William Barber II). He has also served as a Commissioner for the Los Angeles Redistricting Commission (2020-2021) and is on the board of the ARDI Advisory Body of Los Angeles County and the Black People Experiencing Homelessness Committee for LAHSA and LA County.

“I have been an integral part of the faith community bridging the divide between the faith community movement and the city on the ground as well as working through LA voice to bridge the divide between different institutions whether Jewish, Muslim, Christian, or Buddhist so that we can move powerfully together.”

Anderson is most proud of the work he has done around voting rights, transformative justice, the passage of Measure J and police accountability. He is set to launch a $7 million, state-funded urban farming initiative to counter the food desserts in South L.A.

“As a millennial I have been one of those who have bridged the generational divide while still pushing forward progressive policies and the worldview we need at City Hall that can change the fabric of our city for the better where we all have dignity and a pathway towards equity. And that we become a city where we don’t have angels with broken wings but a city where angels can actually fly.”

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.

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

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!

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

Dr. Frederick K. Price

LiveWorship Service:Sun 10:30am,Tues 11:00am and 7:30pm at faithdome.org, Facebook, Roku, YouTube and the EIFM app (Download in Apple Store and Google Play)Website: faithdome.org

Giving Options: Text to 28950, type EIFMO and amount you wish to give (ex.,EIFMO 50) or mail to: P.O. Box 90000, Los Angeles, CA 90009

Congregational Church of Christian Fellowship

2085 S. Hobart Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90018

Phone: (323) 731-8869 • F: (323) 731-0851

www.christianfellowshipla.org

Pastor James K. McKnight

Sunday LiveStream: 10:00am (facebook.com/christianfellowshipla)

Sunday Conference Call: 10:00am (310-372-7549 / code: 342408)

Tue/Thurs Morning Word & Prayer: 7:00am

Wed. Bible Study w/ Elder Stephen Brown (701-802-5001 / code: 825252#

God’s Faithful Disciple of Jesus Christ / Prayer Clinic & Deliverance Ministry P.O. Box 561368, Los Angeles, CA 90056 (323) 293-7566 • www.gfdjc.org •gfdjc@att.net Dr.Ruby I. Cottle, Ph.D., Pastor/Teacher Services every Friday: 7:00pm We

Church News
Pastor Dwaine Jackson
meeet at: St. Paul
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 16 L.A. Focus/May 2023
Evangelical Lutheran Church
Pastors J. Edgar Boyd, K.W. Tulloss, Ken Walden and William Smart share a moment with Mayor Karen Bass at her first State of the City Address at City Hall. Pastor Shep speaking to reporters

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: 8am

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

Grace Temple Baptist Churchh

7017 South Bramercy Place, Los Angeles, CA 90047 (323) 971-8192 • gracetemplebaptist7017@gmail.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 Baptist Church

5300 S. Denker Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90062

(323) 759-4996

Rev. DeNon Porter

Early Worship: 8am Sunday School: 9:30am

Mid-Morning Worship: 11am

Radio-KALI 900AM:

Sun. 11-Noon, 7-8pm

KTYM 1460AM Sundays: 5:30pm

Bible Study (Tues, Wed & Thurs): 7pm

Holman United Methodist Church

3320 W. Adams Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90018

(323) 703-5868 • www.holmanumc.com

Email: holman@holmanumc.com

Rev. Dr. Ken Walden, Senior Pastor

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

Sunday Radio: KJLH 102.3FM at 11am

Sunday School: 9:30am (Children/Youth) & 9:45am (Adults)

Bible Study: Every Thursday @ Noon

We Gather,Grow,Go and Live the Gospel of Jesus Christ

McCarty Memorial Christian Church

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

Senior Pastor Edward Anderson

Sunday Worship: 10:45am

Bible Study: Tues @12:30pm/Wed @6pm

Zoom Call: (605) 472-5454 Access:188857

Online Stream Live: Sundays@10:45am to www.mccartychurch.org

Give: Text 77977

Instagram@mccartyconnect

Mount Moriah Baptist Church of Los Angeles, Inc.

4269 South Figueroa St. Los Angeles, CA 90037

(323) 846-1950 •Fax: (323) 846-1964

Rev. Johnteris Tate-Pastor

Sunday Church School: 8:00am

Worship Service: 10:00am Baptist Training Union: 7:00am

Tuesday Refueling : Noon

Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church

3669 W. 54th St. Los Angeles, CA 90043

Phone (323) 291-1121•F: (323) 291-1133

office@sinai.church • 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.

Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church

1300 E. 50th Street Los Angeles, CA 90011

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

Pastor Touré and Sarah Roberts

The ONE Experience Online:

FIRST LADY FILES

Karmen Foster

Contributor KAREN A. BROWN

Faithful Central Bible Church

Given her background, Karmen Foster, never thought she would ever be a first lady. For starters, she didn’t grow up in church. Then there’s her real focus–her husband, J.P. Foster, who just took the reins of Faithful Central Bible Church, and their two children; and her job as a family court services specialist with Los Angeles Superior Court handling child custody mediations and evaluations.

Admittedly, it’s a lot to balance. “I'm here to support and to help the congregation and people when they need me, but it seems like lately our family has just needed so much”

Foster began her career with the goal of being a Christian therapist. Great training, perhaps for introvert who will now be the face of women in a congregation of thousands.

“What's really important to me is young girls–something that focuses on their self-esteem, building character, shaping identity in Christ. For me in middle school, if I just had someone like telling me who I was in Christ–someone's voice to be louder than the voice of my peers and louder than the voice of the enemy– I feel I could have avoided so many traps and pitfalls,” Foster said.

After 13 years of marriage, Foster’s vision is in line with her husband’s in building up families, marriages and the community. Says Foster, “What is most important is that we're all here to serve God and make sure souls are saved. As long as I'm doing something that helps bring people closer to God, I feel like that's the point. God being the focus makes everything satisfying no matter what position I'm in or from what seat I'm sitting in the church.”

New Antioch Church of God in Christ

7826 So. Vermont Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90044 (323) 778-7965 • www.newantiochcogic.org

Superintendent Jeffrey M. Lewis

Sunday Early Worship: 8am

Sunday Morning Worship: 11am

Sunday School: 9:30am

Tuesday Bible Study: 11am

Wednesday In The Word: 7pm

All services streamed: Facebook and YouTube

@New Antioch Church of God In Christ

(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

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

Rev. Terrell Taylor

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

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

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

Wednesday Virtual Bible Study : Noon & 7:00p

Communion: 1st Sunday at 8:00am & 11:00am

In Compton

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

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

Service Time: 10:45

Virtual Worship: Youtube

Greater Zion Church Family

2408 North Wilmington Avenue, Compton, CA 90222 (310) 639-5535 • (Tues - Thurs 10am -4pm)

Dr. Michael J. Fisher, Senior Pastor Sunday Worship: 9:00am

Online Wednesday Bible Study: 7:00pm

FB: GreaterZionChurchFamily 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

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

PastorProfile: Eddie Anderson

Church: McCarty Memorial

How Long at church: 7 years

Hometown: Atlanta

Family: Married to wife, Clare

What prompted you to consider a run for a seat on the City Council representing the Tenth District…

Yes, because I believe that the best days are ahead for Los Angeles. For too long residents have accepted the status quo especially in district 10 where we have seen a deliberate shutting out of citizens in the political process with appointments, without fully hearing what the residents want. Without City Hall listening we cannot have change. So, I’m ready to make sure the residents of district 10 are fully heard. To make sure that historically rooted black communities and communities of color in the district are not displaced.

What do you say to those who believe that politics and religion don’t go together?

I would say that as long as African Americans have been in this country, politics and religion have been together. We cannot legislate morality, but we can legislate equity and there is no position in the community that understands what equity looks like more than pastors and clergy who deal with the brokenness of the system every day.

How did you get into the ministry?

My grandfather and father were both pastors, so I'm a third generation PK, but I really felt the call once I got to college and was doing community organizing. Having your Dad and grandfather as role models, what did you like about ministry?

Helping people and seeing lives transformed. My grandfather was also a county commissioner, so he was very much changing everything lives through policies. And then my father, I saw him bring couples to our home and needy families that were going through hard transitions and seeing their lives changed. That drew me but if I'm being completely honest, I didn’t think of going into ministry. I was going to go to law school or maybe politics.

What changed your mind?

I went to Claremont School of Theology and my colleagues–who’d heard I could preach–invited me to preach in chapel. Well, after I preached, the bishop of the school asked if I was sure I didn't miss my calling. When I asked, what he meant, he said, ‘That was one of the greatest sermons I've heard’. For an entire week it seemed like everywhere I’d go people would ask the same question, "Are you sure you didn't miss your calling?” That's when I began to take ministry seriously. So, growing up you wouldn’t have thought you'd end up where you are today?

No, my friends would probably say a politician or a lawyer, but a pastor–they did not see that coming. My perspective was that pastors gave a lot and got little in return. They were very impactful in communities, but I didn’t see a lot of gratitude. Then too, I found the church to be a little rigid and dogmatic. We put God in a box so that we can control what goes on in our church and community instead of allowing God to be really relational to everyone in the church no matter where they are. The church preached about justice but always prayed more on their knees. Like Martin Luther King Jr., my grandfather and my dad, I wanted to be more about action.

Is that to say you don't think today's churches are living up to their powerful legacy?

When I got to Los Angeles one of the things, my first church was white but then I get to the black churches at about the time when Black Lives Matters was hap pening and Mike Brown had just been killed. People in L.A. were dying as well, and I didn't understand why churches weren’t doing more. I thought the churches must have be-

come comfortable and instead I walk very close to the legacy of civic engagement that has happened in Los Angeles and part of what I see myself doing is not anything new, but just activating the fallen legacy of all those years.

What do you think it will take for churches to rise to the occasion?

What's pushing the church now is the mass exit of millennials. People are wondering why isn’t my church full. We've preached the gospel of transformation but when people come to church, we only raise their awareness. We don’t give them tools to do that transformation. People of my age group are very social active. They're in the streets. The millennials are pushing us to have that conversation again and not just raise awareness, but actually show up in the streets.

What do you find most hopeful about what's going on in black churches today?

That black churches continue to carry their culture–in our songs, our liturgies– in the sermons that we preach still talking about resilience and hope on the other side of darkness. That's one of the treasures we continue to offer Los Angeles at a time of transition and a time full of a lot of change especially with gentrification and other factors–the message of hope and faith. If you had a theme, what do you want people to take away most from hearing you preach?

My messages are pretty much three points. One, you were made in the image of God, and that you are the hands and feet of God in this world. Two, that no matter your background or if you've been hurt by the church for your sexuality or anything else, that God welcomes you. And three, that together in our families and neighborhoods we co-create the kingdom of God.

What do bring to the city of the Los Angeles?

I believe we can be that bridge in the community where we can understand our history and legacy while understanding that our future is beyond the four walls into the streets with the people who are most impacted.

In taking over the church, what was the biggest challenge for you and what helped you past it?

The biggest challenge for me was that I was the youngest pastor McCarty Memorial had ever picked and I was the youngest pastor in the denomination on the West Coast. They took a chance on me and I thought because I was young and moved to the city that I could have had an impact in a city that had so many established churches. So, there was some trepidation. What helped me get through it was prayer and God telling me, "I've called you for this time and I've got you."

What will define your success?

If the community feels empowered and more people are inspired to speak up, stand their truth and challenge our elected officials.

What plans do you have for McCarty Memorial?

The goal–when I first came– was to fully integrate community engagement into our ministry–and to build a multiracial church based on black theology that actually able to help structure people on the outside as well as to restore people on the inside. In the time since we have created a Black and Jewish coalition–the Partnership for Growth Los Angeles and we have three major programs. The first is Freedom Schools. The second is Project Jubilee, where we partner with the CA violence intervention program and take 18-26 year-olds from high violence neighborhoods through a 12-week course offering mental health, life skills and job training. Then we place them in jobs.

The last program is Freedom Farms, which has received $7 million in funding from the state of California to create an urban agriculture system – a cooperative farm to table pipeline to address the health problem of food desserts in South Los Angeles.

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

2627 W. 116th Street Hawthorne,CA 90250 (323) 757-3113 • www.athertonbc.org

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

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 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 (Under Blessed Family Covenant Church) www.blessedfamilycovenant.org

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

Morning Services: 11:45am

Evening Service: 7:00pm

Wed. Lock & Load Prayer: 7:00pm

Wed. Bible Study: 7:30pm

3rd Friday Youth Night: 7:30pm www.jacobladderschurch.com

In Gardena
In
Hawthorne
In Inglewood

Pastors Speak Life to Effort to Beat Colon Cancer

C-olorectal cancer is the second deadliest cancer and disproportionately affects the Black community. Rates are the highest of any racial/ethnic group in the U.S. with Blacks about 20% more likely to get colorectal cancer and about 40% more likely to die from cancer of the colon or rectum than most racial and ethnic groups. As the pandemic spotlighted health inequity and Providence Southern California–the region’s largest health system–is working with community partners to expand access to care.

Renowned for leading-edge cancer care and research, Providence Saint John’s Health Center donated $2 million to the Stand Up To Cancer® Colorectal Cancer Health Equity Dream Team and its commitment to address colorectal cancer screening disparities in medically underserved communities and has teamed up with some of the most trusted and influential voices in Black communities — church pastors.

Thirty of these L.A. faith leaders have joined the campaign illustrated by a compelling art exhibit that encourages preventive screenings. The pastors are featured on 6-foot-high banners in striking portraits accompanied by their heartfelt quotes. Their message to men is to prevent cancer by getting colonoscopies and then encouraging loved ones to do the same.

The photographic art exhibit features powerful images of area faith leaders uniting their voices to “speak life” into the community – promoting the knowledge that colon cancer is beatable and treatable. Pastors featured in the display include Dr. Lovely Haynes (St.

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.

Online Services

In

Long Beach

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

Give: text antiochib to 77977

Social Media: facebook.com/antiochlb

instagram.com/antiochlb youtube.com/antiochlongbeach

Mark Missionary Baptist Church), Pastor Robert Taylor (Beulah Baptist Church), Pastor J. Edgar Boyd (First AME Church), Pastor Darnell Jones, Sr. (First Missionary Baptist Church), Pastor James McKnight (Congregational Church of Christian Fellowship), Pastor Carolyn Baskin-Bell (First AME Santa Monica) , Lawrence Dove (Park Hills Community Church) and Rhonda Holbert of the Celebrate Life Cancer Ministry.

The banners are set to travel among the churches and Providence hospitals.

The effort was already a priority locally as Dr. Anton Bilchik as famed actor Chadwick Boseman was cared for at Providence St. John before his death.

Bilchik began research in the molecular and immunology laboratories at Saint John’s Cancer Institute to better understand why colon cancer cases are occurring at a younger age and whether they’re preventable.

“Providence and SU2C have collaborated to change the inequities in colorectal cancer and increase screening rates to 80 percent, led by a Dream Team of researchers,” said Bilchik, who also serves as and chairman of the division of general surgery at Providence Saint John’s Health Center. “The Dream Team’s members, all from major academic institutions, bring a deep understanding of racial/ethnic minority communities and health inequities regionally and nationally through their extensive career experience and published research.”

A study led by Providence, published in the International Journal for Health Equity, found that 11 sociodemographic and environmental factors contribute

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

House of Refuge Church of God in Christ 1446 W. 36th Place, Los Angeles, CA 90018 (323)515-9022•Email:info@horcogic.org•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

to higher COVID-19 infection and transmission rates among vulnerable populations. These results highlight the urgency and complexity of addressing health disparities in the immediate term to help mitigate the inequitable impacts of the pandemic.

“Lowering the colorectal cancer screening age to 45 is an important step as we look to save more lives from this preventable cancer,” Bilchik added. “But given the disproportionate impact on medically underserved communities, raising awareness for colorectal cancer and screening options remains critical.”

To increase convenience and accessibility, at-home screening tests for colorectal cancer will be provided to unscreened community members.

As part of its ongoing efforts to identify and prioritize inequities within the communities it serves, Providence’s investment will develop data-driven strategies to improve health equity and reduce disparities aside from COVID-19. Partnering closely with Providence regions throughout its seven-state system to identify specific health disparities in their local communities, Providence is leveraging existing system and regional tools, resources and programs to ensure its investment has the greatest impact on the greater number of people.

“A crucial component of this effort is listening to and partnering with our communities to understand the structural and cultural barriers at the local level,” said President and CEO Rod Hochman, M.D. “Providence believes that health is a human right, and therefore we are committed to ensuring everyone in our communities has an equal chance to achieve health.”

Walking In The Spirit Ministries

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

In Norwalk

Services Held Every 2nd & 4th Sunday and Free Breakfast Is Served

Bible Study: 8:30am (Every 5th Friday)

Call 310.677.6011 Ask for Kisha 19 L.A. Focus/May 2023

Barnes continued from page 6

International High School opened in 2009, when Barnes graduated from middle school. He attended Riverdale, a public high school outside the city, while many of his classmates attended International. The school’s strong language department, which provides French, Spanish, Arabic, and Mandarin, was a big lure for him, as he wanted to practice his Spanish.

“There are plenty of options at the school that I could have chosen from to continue with my languages, be able to strengthen them, and continue to learn,” Barnes said.

Barnes immediately impacted the charter school despite combining his sophomore and junior years into one with a dual enrollment at Southern University in New Orleans. He also noted International High School’s academic reputation.

“They are known for putting out million-dollar scholars, so whenever the idea was presented to me by my counselor, I hopped on board,” he said.

Barnes advised prospective college students to value education, especially African American students.

“There’s always something in the news for athletics. And I think there’s a stigma put on African Americans – probably others, too,” he said about academic suc-

cess. “I think that doing well in school and understanding the importance of education is something that could break that stigma.”

Barnes credits his parents and James for his success. James helped him apply to institutions, prepare for college, and dual enrollment.

“She has guided me and instructed me in my best interest; that will move me forward,” he stated. “James has helped me get where I am.”

Barnes said he’s grateful and excited about all scholarships and acceptances. Still, he insists that he’s incredibly proud of those from well-known institutions like Xavier and LSU and other schools that traditionally don’t provide many scholarships.

Barnes now aims to exceed $10 million in scholarships and acceptances in the coming days.

With 170 acceptances, he said he’s being more selective and won’t hedge on which school he’ll choose. A decision was expected this month.

Washington continued from page 8

may surprise you to learn that the Supreme Court Justices are the only federal judges not bound by the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges. In fact, there are very few ethics guidelines governing the most powerful court in the country. Only one Supreme Court Justice in history has

ever faced impeachment, Justice Samuel Chase, back in 1805, and he was acquitted.

There have been attempts to pass ethics reforms for the Supreme Court. Just this session, Representative Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) introduced the “Supreme Court Ethics Act,” which would create a code of conduct for the Supreme Court. It likely won’t surprise you that both bills are sitting in committee.

Even if Congress did pass ethics guidelines, they would still have to be enforced. And if the current situation with Thomas, who may have violated the already loose ethics guidelines, is any indication of Congress’ willingness to step in, enforcement could be challenging.

The “Just Majority” tour has only just kicked off, so it’s a little too soon to dismiss the possibility that we could see some real movement toward holding Supreme Court Justices accountable. But our track-record on Supreme Court reform isn’t exactly promising. Jessica Washington is a senior reporter for The Root covering race, gender and politics. This column first appeared on www.theroot.com

Williams continued from page 8

standing to condemn Justice Thomas? As Jesus instructed in the Bible, "He that is without sin among you, let him cast the

first stone at her."

Former House Speaker and Democratic icon Nancy Pelosi in 2021 balked at the idea of banning congressional lawmakers and their spouses from owning shares of individual companies, despite the potential for conflicts of interest between their legislative duties and personal finances.

"No," she replied to reporters at a news conference when asked whether she would support such a prohibition. "We're a free market economy. They should be able to participate in that."

A Business Insider investigative report on share ownership by lawmakers and other controversies over stock purchases by multiple senators since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the question to Pelosi. The report found that 78 members of Congress and 182 senior-level congressional staffers had violated the so-called STOCK Act, which requires public disclosure by themselves and family members within 45 days of sales or purchases of individual stocks, bonds and commodity futures.

That "a judge ... should be above suspicion" is a wonderful idea. But it is not real. In his his "Essay on Criticism," Alexander Pope preached that "All people commit sins and make mistakes. God forgives them, and people are acting in a godlike (divine) way when they forgive."

In the interests of full disclosure, Clarence Thomas has been a mentor and friend to me for many long years. I previously served as his confidential assistant. I have never known a more selfless, unpretentious, honest person. The nation should be thankful he has many more years to serve on the Supreme Court sparkling with a bold and pioneering opinions.

To find out more about Armstrong Williams, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Brown continued from page 8

government engaged in redlining to relegate Black households to segregated neighborhoods.’

Homeownership for the Black community has declined nearly 20% since 2008, Pope determined. Despite the enactment of the 1968 Fair Housing Act, which was designed to offer legal protections from housing discrimination, the homeownership gap continues to expand, disenfranchising the most marginalized, she summarized.

For instance, in 1960, 38% of Black Americans owned homes while white homeownership was at 65%, a 27-point gap.

In recent years, the United States has experienced the largest homeownership spread since 1890, with 44.6% of Black Americans owning a home compared to 74.2% of whites, a 29.6-point gap.

“The cycle can only be broken by improving the major driver of Black wealth — intergenerational homeownership that yields prosperity and family economic security,” Pope said.

“America’s public and private sectors claim to be committing to a more equitable society, one with opportunities for wealth and success regardless of race or ethnicity. But to make racial equity a reality, government, corporate and civic leaders must address the wealth and home ownership gaps that diminish the aspirations, hopes, and dreams of Black families and individuals.”

InGoodTaste

Chef Spotlight Regine Terry

It was an Easy Bake oven she received as a little girl that got Regine Terry started with baking. By the time she turned 11 and graduated to her Mom’s “real oven”, she’d made up in her mind she was going to be a chef and straight out of high school, started at Le Corden Bleu, an international culinary school specializing in French cuisine.

“I graduated with honors and the experience I gained taught me that one day I would like to have my own bakery.”

After taking a few years off to start a family, Terry’s entrepreneurial spirit took hold.

Her following skyrocketed when a custom cake she made in 2019 went viral, securing 2.5 million views on Facebook.

Terry specializes in custom cakes for all occasions from wedding cakes to baby showers that have become a hit with local celebrities. Among her most requested designs are her Boss Baby cakes, Crenshaw/Nipsey Hussle cake and Hennessy birthday and pound cakes, while her menu includes such delights as strawberry cheesecake brownies, cheesecake stuffed apples and strawberry lemonade pudding peach cobbler cheesecake.

She began selling her cakes to family and her customers. Word spread as her custom cake orders began to grow. By December 2017, she couldn’t accommodate the requests for orders she had working out of her home and in 2018, opened Busy Baking.

“I like to do freestyle,” says Terry. “You tell me your theme and I create you something unique.”

To place an order or for more information about Chef Regine, call (323) 919-3937 or visit busybaking.info.

Banana Pudding Cupcakes

Ingredients:

2 ½ cups all- purpose flour

2 ½ cups baking powder

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp cinnamon

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 ½ cups sugar

4 large eggs room temperature

1 tbs pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325F and line cupcake/muffin pan with cupcake liners. In a Medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set flour aside. In an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 minutes until thick and fluffy, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add vanilla to your eggs. Then add eggs to the butter mixture one at a time, beating well with each addition. Scrape down the bowl. Add in the flour mixture in thirds alternating with the Silk Oatmilk Original, mixing to incorporate with each addition. Scrape down the bowl as needed and beat until just combined and smooth. Divide the batter evenly into a 12-count lined muffin or cupcake pan, filling 2/3 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 325F, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes clean. Let them cooling the pan for 5minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature before frosting.

21 L.A. Focus/May 2023

SavingGrace

At the peak of their careers, celebrities can exist in a red-hot space for varying periods of time. Cameras flashing. Immense fanfare. A-list parties. Red carpet premieres. Awards and accolades. Access to everything! There is, however, a limit and like all good things, it can all come to a screeching halt. However, there are some entertainers who seem to defy the odds, staying booked and busy for decades. Vivica Fox is one of those standouts.

Actress, director, producer, author, TV host, philanthropist, and entrepreneur, Fox is a Renaissance woman. By creating her own path and evolving, the 58-year-old has been able to sustain a well-established brand and in-demand career for more than 30 years that cannot be “cancelled”. How did she build such a long-lasting career and survive the challenges that comes with the entertainment industry? In a previous interview with Shadow and Act, she revealed her secret.

“Versatility has definitely been the key to my longevity. Especially with me having this amazing resurgence that I’m having in my career — that I’m now into producing and directing…I do my hosting thing, I do my acting thing, and now I’m doing my producing and directing thing…then I have my hair line.”

Her professional journey has been one for the books and it all began on Soul Train.

One month after graduating high school in the 80s, Vivica Anjanetta Fox migrated from her hometown of South Bend, Indiana to L.A. for college. It was kismet that one of her favorite dance television programs filmed nearby. An invitation from a friend would lead her to the set where the late Don Cornelius reigned. From there, Fox graced the iconic Soul Train risers, dance line, and scramble board with her bouncy hair, jazzy dance moves, and timely fashion. Week after week, she slayed on the program before moving onward and upward in her career a year later.

The Fox Soul host went on to model and become a daytime diva. It was on Days of our Lives that she cut her teeth as nurse Carmen. She also landed other small roles on hit shows like China Beach. Then an opportu nity for a full-time role on NBC’s Generations came along. As the first black majority soap opera on the network, this show was historic. Fox became one of the few black women with a lead role in that television

genre at the time because of that experience.

One year later, the show was axed by NBC after one season, leaving Fox without a regular income as an actress for the first time. She did not regret the experience, however. Instead, she considered it as excellent training.

A Vivica Fox

As a result of her training, Fox was able to eventually shined on her first sitcom, Out All Night, in 1992. The show followed a former superstar singer turned nightclub owner and her sometimes rambunctious young staff. Fox starred alongside Duane Martin, Morris Chestnut, and Patti LaBelle. With a promising young cast and popular musical guests like Jodeci, Boyz II Men, and Johnny Gill, it seemed destined for success. After 20 episodes, NBC canceled the show, and Vivica was once again out of full-time work.

The ups and downs of Hollywood would have easily broken others, but Fox stood firm. Her ability to pivot and push forward can be attributed to some advice she received years ago. In her book, "Everyday I'm Hustling", she recalls getting knocked down while playing with her siblings. Having run to her father in tears, he gave her this advice,

“If you want to hang with the big boys, you’re gonna get knocked down. It’s on you to get up.” Those words of wisdom have served her well. She eventually landed a role on the Young and the Restless and was romantically paired with Shemar Moore. Little did she know, this gig was not a destination, but a gateway.

Fox got noticed by an executive’s pregnant wife who was watching Y&R while at home on the couch. She thought the young actress would be a great candidate for Independence Day, starring emerging superstar Will Smith. Fox auditioned (the sixth time was the charm) and won the role. With more than $817.4 million worldwide, it was the highest-grossing movie of 1996 and the second-highest-grossing movie in history at the time. From there, she landed starring roles in hit films like Set It Off, Soul Food, Batman and Robin, Two Can Play That Game, and Why Do Fools Fall in Love. Her most notable mainstream role was as assassin Vernita Green in the infamous Quentin Tarantino the Kill Bill film franchise.

Well into the 2000s, Fox continued to maintain her footing in Hollywood. Not limiting her talent only to the silver screen, she starred on the popular

HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm 2007 — 2009 and Lifetime’s crime drama series Missing. It did not escape her attention, however, that the landscape of pop culture was changing. Reality TV was becoming king and she effortlessly stepped into it like the seasoned pro she is. The NAACP Award winner appeared on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, The Apprentice, and The Starlet.

Her faith, she says, has kept her humble. Fox started out in a working-class neighborhood in the mid-West, spending much of her time involved in local church activities.

“I grew up in church, Breeding Tabernacle AME in Indianapolis, Indiana” Fox fondly recalls. “The neighborhood I grew-up in would be considered at-risk, but the church provided a lot of programs after school for us and I am glad my mother raised me in that church and made me go to church. That upbringing and my faith have stayed with me and have gotten me through.”

“There have been times when I have been able to draw on aspects of my spirituality and faith in the roles I’ve played. People tell me that in my work I am very real and that’s because my faith keeps me humble. I realize now that I am who I am today because I have a relationship with God…just knowing that there is a higher power that is watching over me at all times and is control of my destiny and that I don’t have to walk alone.”

Through diversification, she remained employed, but the Empire alum took it one step further to ensure she would never be unemployed again. Fox created her own production company and has racked up 30 production credits. In 2016, she began producing films for Lifetime TV which led to a mega deal in 2019. The first movie, “The Wrong Roommate” was the first of 25 installments for the MTV Movie Award winner and the network.

“I get to cast myself in characters that normally Hollywood wouldn’t even give me an opportunity to play,” Fox says. “I’ve played a detective, a principal, a mom. The only thing David DeCoteau, the director, won’t let me play is the villain, because I’ve always got to deliver that catchy phrase. ‘Well it looks like you’ve got the wrong cheerleader’ or ‘You’ve got the wrong Valentine’ or ‘You’ve got the wrong Mr. Right.’ And people are like, ‘I can’t wait for her to deliver the line.”

Currently, Fox is doling out sage advice as only an auntie could on Fox Soul’s Cocktails with Queens. She is also directing the upcoming BET+ biopic, The First Lady of BMF: The Tonesa Welch Story.

“There’s days when I gotta get down on my knees and do positive prayers. I feel like I’ve achieved another level in a business that’s not kind to African American actresses.”

L.A. Focus /May 2023 22
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