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VOLUME XXV • ISSUE 8 • September 2020 >>






CHURCH NEWS Pastor Helps Broker Peace Treaty Between Rival Gangs PAGE



Wendy Raquel Robinson Tells Californians to Get Ready for Emergencies PAGE


GONE TOO SOON What Happens To Black Panther Without Its Star, Chadwick Boseman

UPFRONT Will Experience Trump New Blood in CD10 Council Race

“My heart cannot take 2020! Please God no more!!!” were the words from Viola Davis in a social media post upon hearing of the death of her “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” co-star Chadwick Boseman. This, as a dark cloud of shock, grief and disbelief shrouded the film industry..





L.A. Focus Publications

September 2020

Left: Scene from the National Mall of the March on Washington last month; Middle: Councilmember Curren Price (center) announced plans to rename portions of Figueroa Street to “Kobe Bryant Boulevrd”. Right: L.A. Dodgers star Mookie Betts poses in front of the Jackie Robinson statue at Dodger Stadium recapping a week of Jackie Robinson Day events.


From The Editor

4 Commentary

“So Who’s America Are We Living In”?

Mental Illness is Hurting Black Communities, Prayer Shouldn’t Be Our Only Defense



UpFront Will Experience Trump New Blood In Council District 10 Race; U.S. post office Controversy Sparks Questions concerns



8 Money Matters 9 Biz News Briefs Game Changer

One On One

Ken Bentley

Lisa Collins Stephen Oduntan, Keith DeLawder Christal Mims Ian Foxx Kisha Smith

Ken Walden Holman United Methodist Church

New Antioch Church of God In Christ

LeBron James’ More Than A Vote

John Cleveland

Wendy Raquel Robinson

A Stellar Night Le Andria Johnson Releases Nuw Music

Pastor Shep Crawford Helps Broker Peace Treaty Between Rival Gangs; T.D. Jakes’ Woman Thou Art Loosed Goes Virtual

Yolanda Renee King, the 12 year-old granddaughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave a powerful speech at the recent March on Washington. "We stand and march for love," she said. "We will fulfill my grandfather's dream."

Heather Bourne

honorary advisors West Angeles C.O.G.I.C. City of Refuge Greater Zion Church Family Southern Saint Paul Church Faithful Central Bible Church Mt. Moriah Baptist Church Baptist Minister’s Conference

Bishop Charles Blake Bishop Noel Jones Pastor Michael Fisher Rev. Xavier L. Thompson Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer Pastor Emeritus Melvin Wade Pastor K.W Tulloss

advisory board Napoleon Brandford Pastor Beverly Crawford Lem Daniels Bob Blake

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

Cover Design: UpScale Media Group




L.A. Focus/September 2020

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19 Church News 20 First Lady Files 21 Eye On Gospel

America’s Wealthiest Black Investor Under Investigation; Broadway Federal Merges With City First Bank to Form Nation’s Largest Black-


22 From The Pulpit of 23 People 24 In Good Taste 25 Through The Storm 26 Pastor Profile

John David Washington

“The Urban League Annual State of Black America

Publisher/Editor-In-Chief Staff Writers Production Photographer Advertising

Chadwick Boseman

Get Ahead of the Game: Wendy Raquel Robinson Tells Californians “Be Ready for Emergencies”

Headlines From Africa

Target On Her Back; Black Lives Matters Melina Abdullah Is A Woman In The CrossHairs

Saving Grace

16 Red Carpet Style 17

A Vaccine Against Racism?


Ken Bentley “Bringing Diversity to the Game of Golf”

Hollywood Buzz

Head to Head

Feature Story

Game Changer




“Mental Illness is Hurting Black Communities, Prayer Shouldn’t Be Our Only Defense” t was good news. It was bad news. Just days before, I had said a funeral service for a young Black man who had been found hanged, in what appeared to be a flashback to the era of lynchings. I stood before his grieving family, proclaiming our church’s corporate commitment to justice and retribution. Since I learned that he’d lost his life to suicide. The good news was that he had not been killed; he was not another Black man whose life had been snuffed out by racial oppression. The bad news was that he instead he had fallen victim to a dark and dim spirit that had quite likely haunted him for quite some time. It was not another chapter in the ongoing saga of racism, but a manifestation of the whispered, often hidden reality of mental illness in my community. In the Black community, mental issues have always been hush-hush. We are more likely to trump our mental fears with spiritual faith. We are more likely to go to the altar than go to a therapist. This is not so much a rejection of the medical profession as the historic attempt to distance ourselves from demonic, spiritualist, occult practices. Whatever the origin, it is something we have never talked much about. Most of all, you don’t talk about this stuff outside of the family; in fact, you don’t talk about it too much in the family! I traffic in the company of charismatics and Pentecostals. One of our buzz phrases is “the anointing.” We pray for it. We admire it. We judge it. We want it. We prioritize it. One of our staple Scriptures is Jesus’ announcement after his victory over temptation in


the wilderness, as he stood in the synagogue on the Sabbath and proclaimed: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” Jesus’ assignment is to the poor, the brokenhearted, the blind and the oppressed. Isn’t it interesting that these words were recorded by Luke, a physician? It is also worth noting that Jesus, who healed physical bodies, opened blind eyes and unstopped deaf ears, is declaring that his mission also extended into the nebulous fragile realm of the “heart.” He was also sent to heal broken hearts. We are told a person “thinks” with the heart, loves with the heart and reasons with the heart. The heart/mind can also be broken, weakened, confused, flawed, cracked, shattered and oppressed. The killing of George Floyd seems to have triggered an increase in trauma and anxiety in the African American community. In Los Angeles, a Black psychologist noted that he was treating more Black men than ever. It’s possible that the phenomenon is due not only to increasing psychological stress, but an increased acknowledgment of the need to seek help among people who are more prone to keep it to themselves. The director of Champion Counseling Center, the community counseling ministry of our church, Erica Holmes, informed me that less than 4% of psychologists nationwide are African American, a shortage actress Taraji P. Henson has begun to address through her nonprofit. But mental illness does not discriminate. Olympic champion swimmer Michael Phelps said he is on a quest to “destigmatize mental illness.” Mariah Carey, Mel Gibson and Demi Lovato are all sharing their struggles in the hope of inspiring others to accept help to live productive lives. I stand with the proponents of prayer and faith as an aid to mental health. But I also affirm that prayer often

From the Editor

reveals the need to add earthly action to our heavenly appeals. That was what I told my parishioner who was abducted, chased and shot by her mentally ill husband, and, while lying in a pool of her own blood, witnessed him die in a “suicide by cop.” After she was unable to stop revisiting the incident – to stop “pressing the replay button,” we realized she had a need that went beyond her place on the prayer list. Those men and women trained to help individuals suffering from mental illness and traumatic experiences are the hands and feet of Jesus, ministering to the suffering, downtrodden and lowly in heart. Professional help, when combined with prayer and the comfort of a community of uplifting believers, is a gift from God. It’s not like Jesus to sweep pain under the rug. It’s not like Jesus to dismiss the suffering of the lowly. And it’s certainly not like Jesus to ask that others keep their pain to themselves because it is just “too much” for us to think about or address. God is in the business of shedding light on darkness. What we keep hidden as individuals or as a community can never be eradicated. It’s by the grace of God that we have resources, tools and knowledge available to make sense out of what was once confusing and bring healing to what was shattered. Mental illness isn’t selective. Just as “there is no sin which is uncommon to man,” there is no condition that any member of the Black community is immune from just because they’ve been told to keep it to themselves or that it isn’t real. God sees us in our pain, and he sees our silent suffering when nobody else does. It is time to open our eyes so that we can see, address and heal emotional pain and suffering in the black community before it is once again too late. Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer, pastor of Faithful Central Bible Church in Inglewood is the author of “Walls Can Fall.”


“So Who’s America Are We Living In?” f you’re like me, after sitting for four days through the Republican National Convention and the time since, you might be musing over whose America you’re living in. To hear Trump tell it, it’s not his America, even if he has been president for the last four years. And for all the chaos he likes to deride, that makes him the president of the people in Portland, Milwaukee and Kenosha. That also makes him the president of Jacob Blake, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, the countless other victims of police violence whose names he rarely remembers and the nearly 200,000 people who have died of the Coronavirus that he likes to forget. One of my uncles used to love to recall a line from a classic Jackie Gleason show, where Ralph–described as a red-blooded, working class bus driver wanting to make more of himself than he was– comes home and mouths off to his wife. ‘Alice,’ he says, ‘I’m the king…you’re nothing. The king. You’re nothing. That’s when she turns to him and says ‘Well, then, that would make you the king of nothing.’ So, if America is failing because no one is safe and the street are full of anarchists and rioters, that makes a presidential failure. I have a few black friends who are Republican–one of the more prominent of which has admitted to me that he’s some friends because of his political beliefs and defense of the administration. While I have never been one to condemn someone because of their politics, I have to say that I find it difficult to understand any defense of this president or his blatantly fake administration. This is a president who embraces QAnon, a far-right conspiracy theory alleging a supposed secret plot by the “deep state” against President Donald Trump and his supporters. They actually believe that the COVID death toll is inflated to hurt the president and some even characterize those opposing Trump as Satan-worshipping pedophiles who are plotting against him.

L.A. Focus/September 2020



(I’m not kidding). But Trump hardly needs anyone to dream up conspiracies against him, he’s a master at it, continuously spreading falsehoods about how a pandemic that is killing 1,000 people daily is exaggerated. Not to mention the fact that he is frequently censored by Twitter for his lies and his bullying by tweet and constant berating of people –even those who work for him–shows just how petty he is. And while he–and the people around him–are tested nonstop, the President has little problem risking the lives of others to gather in mass arenas (without masks) during a pandemic just so that he can campaign for another four years. He recently travelled to Kenosha and after the family refused to meet with him never once mentioned Jacob Blake’s name. Instead, he says he will provide $1 million to Kenosha law enforcement and over $42 million to support public safety statewide. Does he not understand that he is the reason for any public safety fears whether it’s COVID or the failings in law enforcement and inequities in the justice system. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. That picture is of a 17-year old white teen who’s just shot three people and is raising his hands with the gun in plain view and people shouting that he’s the shooter as police squad cars see and drive past him. Of course, the president–who routinely stoke racial tensions, defended the teen. Never mind that he would never allow one of his sons to travel to Kenosha with a long gun to patrol the streets. No, leave that to the nimble-headed followers of Trump who buy into all of his ravings and lunatic conspiracies. This truly is Trump’s America we’re living in and no matter the kind words from the Herschel Walker’s, Alice Johnson’s, Paula Whites and Ben Carson’s, it is a president that’s hard to defend no matter how many conservative supreme court choices he makes.

At some point, it ought to be about human decency and civility. It ought to be about truth and honor. It ought to be about doing the right thing. The president needs to borrower a page from the book of sports superstars who proved last month to be true heroes, sparking a disruption in the sports world to once again bring attention to systemic racism following the shooting of Jacob Blake, and to get America to listen. From the NBA and WNBA to Major League Baseball and Soccer to Naomi Osaka, who withdrew from a semi-final match in protest. And for all those who said they should shut up and dribble, Doc Rivers had an answer. “It’s just really so sad. I should just be a coach. I’m so often reminded of my color,” Rivers said. “All you do is keep hearing about is fear. We’re the ones getting killed. We’re the ones getting shot. We’re the ones that are denied to live in certain communities. We’ve been hung. It’s amazing why we keep loving this country, and this country does not love us back.” The good news is that their collective statement for change was not only supported by white teammates, but many of the execs and team owners and have led to some of the teams turning their stadiums and arenas into polling locations. In closing, I want to acknowledge the passing of Chadwick Boseman. I had the opportunity of meeting him twice and though I didn’t know him, I was touched by the warmth, kindness and the focus that he had on his craft, on the way he carried himself and on his people. More on his life and legacy on page 14. Keep the faith.



Will Experience Trump New Blood In Council District 10 Race hile the eyes of the nation are undoubtedly trained on the race to the White House this November, voters in Los Angeles will also grapple with who will represent them on the local level-- a decision that will have exponential impact on their daily lives. One of the most watched local races is for the L.A. City Council District 10 (CD10) seat where former L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson Jr. has termed out after serving three consecutive terms. Vying for the seat is another household name in L.A. politics, County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. His competition, attorney and community activist Grace Yoo, is looking to bring a fresh perspective to City Council. While Ridley-Thomas is undoubtedly the frontrunner-- with name recognition and a sizable war chest -- the Supervisor was unable to avoid a runoff election during the March primaries receiving 44% of the vote. Yoo, who secured just over 23% of the vote, is seeking to raise her campaign's visibility and paint herself as a candidate for change. Though the CD10 seat has had a long history of being held by an AfricanAmerican man, the district has seen a wave of demographic change in the twelve years since Herb Wesson took over with rise in Latino, Korean and gentrification cultures in many areas of the district. For Hyepin Im, President and CEO of the faith community outreach organization FACE L.A., Yoo's candidacy represents a chance to break the over 200 years of lack of representation for the Asian American community in City Hall. “There’s been a long history where the Korean community has felt that we have not been represented, whether in funding, outreach, or inclusion,” said Im. “Especially representing the 10th district which is home to a large swath of AsianAmericans, we want to feel like we matter too.” By the same token, others such as long-time Crenshaw community resident Sandi Hamilton support Ridley-Thomas because they are familiar with his lengthy career in politics and trust his ability to lead. “I’ve known Mark for well over 30



Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas years and in that time he’s been consistent at making things better and improving communities,” said Hamilton, who worries about the future of the neighborhood she grew up in. “I’m concerned about gentrification because I don’t want to leave my neighborhood. I see the things my own family has built in the community and I want to see things sustained with a proven leader.” While Ridley-Thomas got nearly twice as many votes in the primary, Yoo remains upbeat about her chances. “The voters have already spoken,” Yoo tells L.A. Focus. “The primary numbers show that, even with over a million dollars spent for Mark Ridley-Thomas, only 44% of the people said we want Mark. I may not be as known as Mark RidleyThomas, but I am known. People trust me. That’s how I know I can win.” But she will have her work cut out for her with those like resident and CD10 business owner, Odessa Bowden-Sierra. “I didn’t even know who was running against Mark Ridley-Thomas,” BowdenSierra said. “I don’t know what their platform is or what they’re offering so I will most likely be voting for him [RidleyThomas].” Ridley-Thomas –who champions himself as a reliable public figure with a track record of community improvement and a decades long career of activism– has hardly rested on his laurels. “Being an agent for change is part of my make-up, it is essentially my DNA,” says Ridley Thomas in an exclusive inter-

Grace Yoo view. “I am intent on bringing my extensive experiences from the city, state, and county to the issues in the district and making the quality of life what it ought to be.” As a thirty-year resident of CD10, Ridley-Thomas has represented the people of Los Angeles in just about every public office there is including two previous terms in City Council and one term each in both the State Assembly and State Senate. Yoo, a native Angeleno who has worked as an attorney for nearly thirty years and been an active member of an extensive number of community and charitable organizations, previously served four years as Vice President and Commissioner at the L.A. Department of Transportation. Running an anti-corruption campaign based on transparency and constituent input, she cites her time at the Department of Transportation-- a position she ultimately resigned from-- as an example of how government agencies become bloated and self-serving. “I am a proponent of open, transparent, accountable government and that’s a lot of the reason why I stepped down from my position at the Department of Transportation,” Yoo claims. “I saw the city lying to the people. They would say, ‘we welcome your input’, well that’s not true. It became clear that the city was putting on a dog-and-pony show, and that is not what I’m about.” CD 10 Race continued to page 24

U.S. Post Office Controversy Sparks Questions, Concerns

L.A. Focus/September 2020

Last month President Trump shocked the nation when he publicly admitted his intentions to block the U.S. Postal Service from getting the necessary funding it will need to effectively serve vote-by-mail ballots in November’s election. The notion comes from his baseless claim that expanding voting-by-mail will lead to mass voter fraud and hurt his chances of re-election-- even though non-partisan experts have asserted that neither party automatically benefits when states expand access to mail-in voting. Trump’s main target for his disdain are states like California who have shifted to universal vote-by-mail systems-- requiring counties to send every actively registered Californian a ballot to their home, beginning October 5th. The bill also upped the amount of time– from three to 17 days– that mail-in ballots can be counted when received after Election Day. The inevitable consequence of this


expansion of the vote-by-mail system will be that, especially in the tightest races, we may not know exact results for potentially up to a month after election night-and in certain cases, the election night results may not be accurate at all. In the 2018 race for State Superintendent of Public Instruction between Tony Thurmond and Marshall Tuck, election night results had Thurmond trailing Tuck by 86,000 votes. Yet when the results were finalized over a month later, Thurmond was declared the winner by 187,000 votes. Delayed results are a trend we’ve seen in the last two elections due to recent changes in California laws that have expanded voting accessibility, and while delayed results may bring up anxiety and uncertainty for both voters and campaign teams alike, it’s important to distinguish that it is not a malfunction in the voting system that is causing an issue, but is in fact part of the new democratic process. These new laws are a conscious effort to


expand democracy by allowing more votes to be counted, rather than to count votes faster. “We'd rather get it right than get it fast," said California Secretary of State Alex Padilla of the slow results. "We have many policies in place to make sure that every eligible voter in California has the right to cast a ballot." Now in the middle of a pandemic, where many people are opting to avoid polling places out of an abundance of caution for their health, more vote-by-mail ballots will be sent out than ever before. With Trump's recent power play, the question on everyone’s mind is: can the post office handle it? The short answer is yes from Padilla who recently visited a USPS main processing center in Los Angeles-- the largest in the nation-- to learn about recent operational changes. What he found was that the number of letters the USPS has been handling has actually fallen since the USPS continued to page 24

Activists Call For Answers in the Shooting of Dijon Kizzee Sheriff's deputies fatally shot a black man September 1st in South Los Angeles for allegedly violating a bicycle vehicle code. The deceased, 29-year-old Dijon Kizzee, was shot more than 20 times in the back near the intersection of Budlong Avenue and 109th Place. The killing has sparked two days of protests in the Westmont community and beyond, as calls for defund the police rage on. “Dijon Kizzee” is our George Floyd,” said Black Lives Matter activist Joseph Williams. “This is nothing new. The cops in L.A. County kill more Black and Brown people than anywhere else in the country.” During a sheriff's office press conference, Lt. Brandon Dean offered a brief summary of the incident and said: “Our suspect was holding some items of clothing in his hands, punched one of the officers in the face and dropped the items in his hands. The deputies noticed that inside the clothing items that he dropped was a black, semiautomatic handgun, at which time a deputy-involved shooting occurred.” The semiautomatic handgun was recovered, and no deputies were injured. L.A.-area activists maintain that the shooting was not justified and that the situation could have been handled without deadly force. They noted Kizzee was running from deputies and at no point did he aim any weapon at them. Cell phone video taken after the shooting shows deputies trying to render medical aid to Kizzee, who was later pronounced dead at the scene. The investigation into the shooting is ongoing.

EDD To Begin Processing Trump’s $300 Unemployment Beneift Thirty-four states, including California, will begin processing President Trump’s $300 federal unemployment benefit on Sept. 7. California's Employment Development Department said it will process the Lost Wages Assistance payments–as part of an executive order signed by Trump – in two phases. The first phase will cover people who “previously provided information that they were unemployed due to a COVID-19 and have already received their regular state or federal unemployment payments for benefit weeks between July 26 and August 15.” The second phase will cover people who “did not have the opportunity to indicate they were unemployed due to a COVID-19 reason on their initial application but still meet the $100 weekly benefit amount eligibility requirement.” The EDD lists two requirements to qualify for the program which include currently being eligible to receive at least $100 per week in benefits, and people who have provided a selfcertification that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. The payments will be retroactive to Aug. 1. Experts are saying that the payments may not last long, with some saying the program may only last six weeks once it’s up and running. Some states have been hesitant to adopt the plan due to its rushed development. Negotiations regarding a second stimulus package are still at a standstill after disagreements among Congressional democrats and republicans over the contents of the package, with a main point of dispute being the amount of federal unemployment aid.

HeadToHead A Vaccine Against Racism? few years ago, a political tion in denying their mortgage cartoon depicted Jesse Harris: “There is No applications, the bank settled, Jackson and Al Sharpton Vaccine Against giving some plaintiffs cash paylooking wistfully into the ments and others mortgages. Racism” night sky as they make a wish According to a 2012 piece in the "for an end to racial strife and bigotry." In Daily Caller: "Roughly half of the 186 the next panel, both suddenly evaporate, African-American clients in (Obama's) indicating that the eradication of racism landmark 1995 mortgage discrimination would leave these two "leaders" with noth- lawsuit against Citibank have since gone ing to do and that their race-hustling bankrupt or received foreclosure notices. would come to an end. "As few as 19 of This brings us to Sen. Kamala Harris' those 186 clients still Democratic National Convention speech, own homes with clean where she accepted her nomination as vice credit ratings." president and quickly whipped out the Given the plainrace card. Harris said: "And let's be clear tiffs' post-loan – there is no vaccine for racism. We've approval track record, gotta do the work." had there been a vacA vaccine against racism would be the cine against racism in Larry Elder worst possible nightmare for Democrats the '90s, would it have such as Harris and her running mate, Joe made it any more likeBiden. A vaccine would produce the moth- ly that their loans would have been er of all the emperor-wears-no-clothes approved? moments. Arguably, a vaccine against racism As with the Jackson/Sharpton cartoon, would disproportionately impact Blacks, the elimination of racism would deprive but not in the way Harris likely thinks. Harris of liberals' go-to excuse: Blame Question: Who is racist? A recent racism. Whether the disintegration of the Rasmussen survey of Americans found: Black family, urban crime, or support for "Eighteen percent (18%) say most white public schools with high dropout rates and Americans are racist. But 25% believe where those who remain in school often most black Americans are racist. Fifteen cannot read, write and compute at grade percent (15%) think most Hispaniclevel, the left blames racism. Americans are racist, while nearly as During the convention, former many (13%) say the same of most AsianPresident Barack Obama, as he did during Americans." As to anti-Semitism, it is the eight years of his presidency, pushed higher among Blacks compared with the the America-is-a-racist-nation narrative: general population, 23% versus 14%, "Americans of all races joining together to respectively, according to a 2016 survey declare, in the face of injustice and brutal- commissioned by the Anti-Defamation ity at the hands of the state, that Black League. The survey found, "In the past Lives Matter, no more, but no less, so that four years, anti-Semitic views among the no child in this country feels the continu- African American population have ing sting of racism." He, of course, provid- remained steady and are higher than the ed no definition of what he means by "the general population." continuing sting of racism." An example just occurred in the When in private practice, young attor- National Basketball Association, a league ney Obama was on an eight-member legal that takes pride in its "wokeness." A Black team representing one of the plaintiffs in a player got into an on-court scuffle, and the class-action lawsuit against Citibank. The Black player, who later apologized, called plaintiffs argued that Citibank turned the white player "b–– a– white boy." them down for loans because of racism. One can imagine the Category 5 storm had The lawsuit claimed Citibank "rejected a white player used a slur against a Black loan applications of minority applicants player. Would an apology from the white while approving loan applications filed by player have sufficed? The big "woke" white applicants with similar financial names in the NBA – LeBron James, coach characteristics and credit histories." Steve Kerr and coach Gregg Popovich – Despite denying any racial discriminaLarry Elder continued to page 24


Headlines From Africa Burundi: Recently elected President Evariste Ndayishimiye is working to overhaul the nation’s economic and political landscape and improve the nation’s image abroad, while promising reform of Burundi’s justice system. In a drive to eliminate state corruption, government officials are now required to declare their assets. Ethiopia: Ethiopia is set to launch its second satellite into orbit. The nation’s space operations, backed by China, serve to analyze weather patterns to collect data that will enhance the country’s preparedness in the case of drought. Gabon: President Ondimba promoted former Defense Minister Rose Ossouka Raponda to prime minister, making her the first woman in Gabon’s history to hold the post. Kenya: Washington State University’s School for Global Animal Health is launching a new Center for Research in Emerging Infectious Diseases that will be based in Nairobi, Kenya with the capacity to address infectious disease outbreaks in eastern and central Africa and have an immediate impact to save lives. Liberia: In the wake of the increase in incidences of rape across the country and strong protest by human rights advocates and civil society organizations for capital punishment for rapists, Her Voice Liberia, a women and human rights organization is calling for the strengthening of the justice system with specific focus on dealing with sexual and gender based violence and rape issues in order to address the growing wave of rape rather than subjecting perpetrators to capital punishment. Malawi: Aid groups say the coronavirus pandemic's closing of schools has worsened the trend if early marriage and teen pregnancy. Malawi has one of the highest rates of early marriage and teenage pregnancy in the world with about half of girls marrying before the age of 18, according to government records.

hile watching the over the police shooting of a 29Kamala Harris, Democratic National year-old Jacob Blake, who's parConvention, there was There is A Vaccine alyzed from the waist down. for Racism: a special moment of Another tragedy quickly pride in seeing Sen. Kamala Unconditional Love emerged from these protests, as Harris accept the vice presidential nomina- a 17-year-old has been charged with homition as the first black woman on a major cide after two people were killed. The grim party ticket. A daughter of immigrants and spirit of violence pouring out in our streets an HBCUgraduate, she embodies the prom- travels unmercifully like a virus, infecting ise of the ideals of the American Dream, hearts and poisoning minds. Protesting regardless of our differ- injustice alone is not going to stamp out ing partisan views. As fear and hatred. I listened to Harris Harris boldly declared that we are at "an address the nation in inflection point" in our nation and that her trailblazing role, "we've gotta do the work." She's right, and eloquently poised for going back to faith, one of the pioneering her moment in history, educators and civil rights activists Harris two points she made praised for paving the way for her, Mary stood out to me. McLeod Bethune, once said that "faith is Jessica Johnson The first was her para- the first factor in a life devoted to service. phrasing of 2 Corinthi- Without it, nothing is possible. With it, ans 5:7,"the Word that teaches me to walk nothing is impossible." Faith is needed to do by faith, and not by sight." Harris used this the work Harris is passionately calling for, reference to explain "a vision passed on but we must also not forget that engaging through generations of Americans," later in this good fight against racial prejudice, mentioning that this "vision makes the police brutality and other social inequaliAmerican promise – for all its complexities ties without love is meaningless. The prin– a promise worth fighting for." ciples of 1 Corinthians 13:3 need to be The second compelling point was when applied in our present-day activism. The Harris asserted "there is no vaccine for apostle Paul explained in this verse that if racism." She maintained that coronavirus he were to give everything he had in minhas exposed the shameful truth of how we istry to the poor, and if he were to even really see one another in this country, how make the ultimate sacrifice, giving up his we lack empathy regarding the struggles life, doing all of these great works without and hardships of our fellow citizens. love would profit him nothing. The sports COVID-19 has certainly brought out the world stands still, with games suspended in worst traits of people during a time of the NBA, Major League Baseball and Major painful loss and suffering, but I would League Soccer to call for justice in Blake's stress to Harris that there has always been shooting. We can't harbor hatred in our an age-old vaccine for racism in its most vir- hearts toward those on the opposite side. ulent form: unconditional love. God's love is our most powerful weapon, the Regarding love and the ongoing battle vaccine we need in this massive fight against bigotry that savagely tries to stran- against injustice. gle the core of our nation's soul, I always Harris will probably refer back to many think about how Dr. Martin Luther King of the points she made in her VP acceptance Jr. said that "hate cannot drive out hate. speech as she hits the campaign trail with Only love can do that." Democratic presidential nominee Joe King also said, "unarmed truth and Biden. In this bitter political climate with unconditional love will have the final word all the vitriol coming her way, she'll defiin reality." Believing that unconditional nitely need to meditate on 2 Corinthians love will have the final say in what we are 5:7. But no matter the outcome in witnessing during these extremely polariz- November, faith combined with love will ing times exemplifies the walk of faith always be a winning combination. This is Harris was speaking about. It takes strong the truth we must cling to. faith to believe love will triumph when we Dr. Jessica A. Johnson is a lecturer at Ohio continually see protests erupting in our State University's Lima campus. Email her cities, like the current unrest in Kenosha at smojc.jj@gmail.com.


A look at current news from the continent of Africa Namibia: Namibian President Hage Geingob has turned down Germany's offer of $11.7 million in reparations for the genocide committed by the German Empire at the start of the 20th century. German government officials, however, deny that they have offered anything in negotiations as of "yet". Niger: Flooding from heavy rains killed at least 45 and forced overn 226,000 from their homes. The western region was hardest hit by the rain that caused the Niger River to overflow, shutting down the capital, Niamey. Dozens of mud homes collapsed and rice fields were submerged. Nigeria: Nigeria is preparing for an extended period of low oil prices as a collapse in demand and a new OPEC deal have crippled the nation’s government revenues. Somalia: Somalia's parliament has replaced long-awaited legislation to protect women and girls from violence with a new bill permitting child and forced marriage. The new “Sexual Intercourse” bill would allow girls to be married as soon as they reach puberty. South Africa: President Cyril Ramaphosa called for calm after the alleged police killing of a disabled teenager sparked protests and placed the spotlight back on the country’s record of police brutality. Relatives of Nathaniel Julius, 16, who had Down’s syndrome, said that police shot him in the street after he’d gone out to buy food in Eldorado Park, part of Johannesburg’s Soweto township. Swaziland: Nearly one in three people in Swaziland face severe hunger in the coming months and the situation is worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Zimbabwe: Western diplomats in Zimbabwe are expressing deep concern over a deteriorating political and economic crisis. Zimbabwe is suffering inflation over 800%. Nurses are on strike and a series of arrests of political opponents have raised the alarm about a crackdown on dissent.

Activists Demand Restitution Paid to Bruce’s Beach Forced Eviction STEPHEN ODUNTAN Staff Activists and protesters marched from Manhattan Beach City Hall to Bruce’s Beach to demand that city officials address Manhattan Beach’s long-ignored racist history and atone for past wrongs relative to the historical landmark, once the property of blacks. “I promised the Bruce’s family that I would not stop until they received the land back. Until they received restitution for lost income. And until they received moneys for their civil right being stolen and snatched away from them,” said Kavon Ward who spearheaded the movement that brought attention to Bruce’s Beach park and its unsavory history. The history of Bruce’s Beach tells a story of an ambitious married couple, Willa and Charles Bruce who purchased the famous Black-owned beach resort in 1912, which later became a popular resort destination for Black Angelenos. But their white neighbors, disapproved of the only spot Black people could gather on the coast. Racial tensions began to mount as Ku Klux Klan members harassed the Bruce’s, along with any African-Americans who went beyond the ropes marking the beach’s boundaries. Eventually, blacks were run out of the majority white town. In 1924, Manhattan Beach officially voted to seize Bruce’s property under the guise of eminent domain, to build a park. “When we, as co-founders, heard about this story I was disgusted,” said Ward. “I knew I had to do something about it. So we decided to do something on Juneteenth, and it has since taken on a life of its own.” Juneteenth is a day celebrating June 19, 1865, the day the last enslaved African American people became free – when

Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to inform slaves the Civil War had ended, two years after Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. “This is what restitution and reparations is about,” said BLM-L.A.’s cofounder, Dr. Melina Abdullah. “We need to be very clear that this country and places like Manhattan Beach are built on the stolen land of indigenous people and the labor of black people.” There is little indication, at the moment, that Manhattan Beach officials will meet with ARM members to discuss demands related to the Bruce Beach. In fact, Ward lambasted Manhattan Beach Councilmember Suzanne Hadley, saying BLM members have encountered racism ever since the group came together to press officials to address the full history of Bruce’s Beach. “We’ve encountered racism from

Manhattan Beach City Council–specifically, Suzanne Hadley. She has said on several occasions that anything related to Black Lives Matter is a nonfactor. She will not hear us out,” Ward said. Hadley stated in a June interview with KTLA that the Bruce’s had been reasonably compensated, but she failed to mention that only a fraction of the compensation the family requested was paid. Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of the BLM movement, told the rallygoers it was important not to allow anyone to erase African-American history. “We will not erase the land that’s been stolen from us. We will not erase what we’ve done for every single community, and not just in this country but all over the world,” she said. Added Cullors, “Make this a marker, that on this day, this beach will be taken back. It will not be stolen forever.”

Governor Signs Tobacco Ban; Opponents File Referendum to Overturn It California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 793 into law on Aug. 28. The legislation is one of the country’s strongest restrictions on flavored tobacco. The bill would make it a crime for any retailer or individual to sell a flavored tobacco product or any tobacco product flavor enhancer in the state. Violation will be punishable by a fine of $250 for each infraction. The law would go into effect Jan. 1, 2021. SB 793 breaks “Big Tobacco’s death grip,” on longtime users hooked on nicotine, said Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), who is the author of the bill. He said that the addition of fruit and other alluring flavors to the products are tactics tobacco manufacturers are using to entice a new generation of smokers – the youth. “The action by Gov. Newsom and by the California Legislature this week is a huge win for our kids and the health of our communities,” Hill said in a written statement. “SB 793 will save lives.” Opponents, however, are seeking to overturn the law with a referendum. The California Secretary of State reported that a proposal for a referendum that would nullify the law was received, and the listed filers have past connections to the tobacco industry. If they qualify the referendum by collecting the signatures of 623,212 registered voters, the tobacco ban would be placed on hold until voters are given a chance to weigh in, possibly in 2022. The Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP) and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement (NOBLE) say the bill is discriminatory because merchants will continue to sell some other adult tobacco products that are not popular among African Americans and other minorities.

Money Matters “The Urban League Annual State of Black America Report is Unmasked” Last month, the Urban League released its annual State of Black America report. Entitled “Unmasked”, the data wasn’t all that surprising–that the coronavirus pandemic has widened racial disparities across the U.S., creating a crisis that has contributed to increased death rates among Black and Latino communities. “This is a crisis,” said National Urban League CEO Marc Morial. “Those with underlying conditions are more likely to get sick. Those that have less access to doctors and hospitals are going to be diagnosed much later. When they’re diagnosed much later, they are more likely to be hospitalized, they’re more likely to die,” Morial said Thursday at the National Urban League’s virtual presentation of the report’s findings. The report concluded the pandemic “unmasked” the face of racism in the country with health and civil rights advocates stating that the pandemic has exposed inequalities once hidden along the margins of society, including high rates of unemployment, poor access to technology and health disparities. According to the report, “African Americans and Latinos are more than three times as likely to contract the coronavirus as whites, and African Americans are nearly twice as likely to die. One reason the Black death rate from COVID-19 is higher than the Latino rate, even though Latinos are more likely to contract the infection, is because the Black population is older.”. “This report defines structural racism; If people want to know what structural racism is, it is the fact that these disparities in the 15 years that we’ve been releasing these statistics, in this fashion, have changed very little,” said Morial. “What stands out in 2020 is the awakening that the information contained in this report is real, substantial and that something has to be done about it.” Included in Morial’s “19 Lessons of COVID-19” is the assertion that black communities never fully recovered from the Great Recession. “Even at record lows, in recent years the Black unemployment rate consistently remained twice as high as the rate for whites. The Great Recession wiped out 50 years of rising black home-ownership, with the rate now as low as it was before the Fair Housing Act. The net worth of a typical Black family,” the report finds, “is about one-tenth that of a white family. Black household incomes still have not returned to pre-recession levels. Economic policies that don’t specifically address racial disparity do not reduce racial disparities.” Additionally that: •“Millions of low-wage essential


workers risked their lives on the COVID-19 frontlines for a median pay of $13.48, according to the Brookings Institution. Twenty percent of them live in poverty and more than 40% rely on public assistance.” • More than five million workers who lost their jobs also lost their families’ health insurance, affecting as many as 27 million Americans. With Black workers losing jobs at twice the rate of whites, the racial health insurance gap has drastically widened. • Black communities stand to lose billions of dollars and their rightful political representation if something is not done quickly to overcome delays caused by the pandemic. The National Urban League has urged an audit of Census operations to ensure a safe and accurate count. While racial economic disparities continued to persist, the improvement in the Black-white economics index was largely driven by greater equality in men’s earnings, as well as narrowing of the unemployment rate gap between Black and white men (from 47% to 50%) and Black and white women (from 55% to 57%). Black men’s median weekly earnings increased from 70% to 73% of white men. Other improvements included less disparity in loan application denials– both mortgage loans (from 35% to 41%) and home improvement loans (from 49% to 54%). “African Americans were not only overrepresented in COVID-19 cases and deaths, but they were disproportionately impacted by the attendant job loss,” said Dr. Bernard E. Anderson, a senior economic advisor and Wharton School professor. “As our nation reckons, yet again, with ts history of anti-Black racism, it is clear that high priority must be placed on targeted policies that eliminate racial inequality in the labor market. Solutions that reconcile these historic and structural wrongs will bring the practice of America in line with the promise of America and finally usher African Americans and people of color out of the caboose and upgrade them to first class citizenry.” When it comes to long term solutions, the National Urban League supports the Main Street Marshall Plan. This project would dedicate a trillion dollars over five years to address racial disparities on a national level. The group also endorses H.R.40, a bill that would create a commission to study reparation proposals for the nation’s history of mistreatment towards African Americans. “We have lost ground in many significant areas,” Morial said. “When you have 150,000 people dead and 40% of them, I believe, are Black, the country and Black America particularly, you can’t do happy talk and suggest these are the best of times.”

On the Money Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Named World’s Highest Paid Actor For the second year in a row, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has been crowned the world’s highest paid actor, earning $87.5 million in the twelve-month period from June 2019 through June 2020. His forthcoming role in the Netflix film, “Red Notice”, earned him $23.5 million of it. Adding to that was the success of Project Rock, the signature line of Under Armour gear he launched in 2016, with his latest collection debuting in May. A percentage of the sales from the collection–featuring everything from his signature Project Rock 2 shoes to tops, shorts and jackets for men, women and children– will go to charity. The wrestler-turned-actor recently bought the XFL football league for $15 million after it had suspended operations earlier this year and declared bankruptcy last month. Ironically, Ryan Reynolds, who stars alongside Johnson in “Red Notice” ranked second on the list with a reported $71.5 million in earnings. Reynolds was paid $20 million for his part in the movie. Others on the top ten highest paid actor list include Vin Diesel and Will Smith. Here is the complete top ten list:

Dwayne Johnson $87.5 million

Ryan Reynolds $71.5 million

Mark Wahlberg $58 million

Ben Affleck $55 million

Vin Diesel $54 million

Akshay Kumar $48.5 million

Lin-Manuel Miranda $45.5 million

Will Smith $44.5 million

Adam Sandler $41 million

Jackie Chan $40 million

Biz News Briefs Robert L. Smith, the billionaire investor who made national news when he publicly committed to paying off student loans for the entire 2019 graduating class of Morehouse College is now reportedly under investigation. Smith, who is the CRO of Vista Equity Partners, is said to be the subject of a criminal tax probe to determine whether or not he failed to pay taxes on $200 million in assets. According to a Bloomberg report, Smith has not been charged and could likely be found not to owe the amount in question. In the meantime, the 53-year old entrepreneur/philanthropist has partnered with the Prostate Cancer Foundation to address racial disparities surrounding prostate cancer. With Blacks 76 percent more likely to develop the disease and 2.5 times more likely to die from it, Smith is helping to fund research for the development of an affordable test that would detect early signs of prostate cancer and subsequently help with risk management. America’s wealthiest Black investor is also in the news for urging American corporations that benefitted from the slave trade to consider reparations.

America’s Wealthiest Black Investor Under Investigation

Broadway Federal Merges With City First Bank to Form Nation’s Largest Black-Controlled Bank Broadway Federal Bank, a Los Angeles-based commercial lender, will combine with City First Bank in Washington, D.C. to form a $1 billion lender and the largest Black-led bank in the U.S. Both Broadway and City First are Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI), which are lenders that focus on low- and moderate-income areas and generally serve minority borrowers and entrepreneurs who are not typically able to get traditional loans. The new company will preserve Broadway’s status as a Minority Depository Institution, a federally insured institution that is primarily owned by minority shareholders or led by a minority-controlled board. “Given the compounding factors of a global pandemic, unprecedented unemployment and social unrest resulting from centuries of inequities, the work of CDFIs has never been more urgent and necessary,” said Brian E. Argrett, CEO of City First Bank and the the new combined institution. “As part of this historic merger, we are demonstrating that thriving urban neighborhoods are viable markets that require a dedicated focus, long-term commitment and critical access to capital.” The merged, nine-member board will consist of four directors from Broadway Federal Bank and five from City First. Broadway’s president and CEO Wayne-Kent A. Bradshaw will lead as the board’s chair. “The new combined institution will strengthen our position and will help drive both sustainable economic

growth and societal returns,” said Bradshaw. “We envision building stronger profitability and creating a multiplier effect of capital availability for our customers and for the communities we serve.” The new institution will continue to have bi-coastal headquarters and will serve and expand in the banks’ current geographic areas. They hope to concentrate on underserved communities and scale to other high-potential urban markets. The enlarged bank will focus on three areas of financing: multifamily affordable housing, small businesses and nonprofit development.

Harry & Meghan Sign Multiyear Pact With Netflix Just months after giving up their titles as senior members of Britain’s royal family, Harry and Meghan (formerly the Duke and Duchess of Sussex) have formed a production company and landed a lucrative deal with Netflix. The multiyear deal includes docementaries and docuseries, feature films, scripted TV and children’s programming. “Our lives, both independent of each other, and as a couple have allowed us to understand the power of the human spirit: of courage, resilience, and the need for connection. Through our work with diverse communities and their environments, to shining a light on people and causes around the world, our focus will be on creating content that informs but also gives hope,” the couple said in a statement. “As new parents, making inspirational family programming is also important to us.”

STEPHEN ODUNTAN Staff n a sunny mid-August afternoon, Black Lives Matter activist Dr. Melina Abdullah arrived at the Hall of Justice building, in downtown Los Angeles, to lead a peaceful protest that called for District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s resignation. Wearing a black T-shirt with “Legalize Blackness” emblazoned in white, black jogging pants, sneakers, and flanked by T.V. reporters as she walked, Abdullah answered questions about someone making a prank call to police that lured a SWAT team to her door that same morning. The co-founder of BLM-L.A. began streaming live on Instagram showing the department’s heavily armed SWAT team outside of her home. Abdullah was concerned that officers would escalate the situation. During the tense, standoff, she repeatedly expressed fear about the safety of her three school-aged children, who were in her home at the time. She has a sizable social media presence, and as the tactical team surrounded her house and barked orders over a loudspeaker, she told her followers, “I don’t know why they are here.” Abdullah had no idea she’d been the intended target of a swatting prank. “They have guns pointed at my house,” she said. The hoax made the news and happened shortly before Abdullah was scheduled to speak to the press about a campaign to appoint her as dean of the new College of Ethnic Studies at Cal State L.A., where she teaches. The SWAT team eventually left without firing a single bullet upon determining there was no hostage situation. But Abdullah, who has become a seemingly ever-present thorn in the side of police brass, did not believe LAPD’s narrative about receiving a call claiming a bad actor was holding her and her children hostage for $1M and would kill them within an hour. Her skepticism was attributable, in part, to the fact that Abdullah’s uncompromising stance and relentless advocacy for racial justice reforms has brought her into

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confrontation with some of Los Angeles’s most powerful people. In 2018, the city attorney’s office charged her with misdemeanor battery on a police officer stemming from a commission meeting, and seven other counts including interfering or obstructing a public business establishment and interfering with the lawful business of the Police Commission. The following year, however, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer reversed course and decided to dismiss all criminal charges against the BLM scholar-activist. “We forced the charges to be dropped because every time I was called to court, 300 people showed up with me,” Abdullah said. She underscored a history of being targeted for outspoken criticism of the LAPD’s use of force–a history in which law enforcement officers often work in tandem with prosecutors to trump up charges and inflate allegations against Black activists. Abdullah did not mince words: “I’m not intimidated. Everybody understood that the targeting of me was a targeting of a movement…of Black women. This is a longheld practice of the police state targeting activists, especially Black activists.” That sentiment echoed across the press conference when her colleague, BLM clergy, Dr. James Thomas, shared with the audience some of the racist voicemails Abdullah had received in recent months. In the obscenity-laced recording that lasted about 30 seconds, a man described continental Africans as savages and said Abdullah wasn’t human. “Stop being a N--ger.’ Stop being a N--ger.’ Stop being a N--ger.’ I’m serious, N***er,’ what the ‘f*** is Pan African Studies? Living in a f***ing mud hut? Look at Africa right now, the only reason it’s halfway it is is because of the White man. If we let them g***amn savages run that place it’ll be a g***amn hell on earth, which it already is. You f***ing ape. You ain’t even human. Kill yourself.” The week following that press conference, Thomas lambasted Cal State president William Covino for remaining conspicuously silent to Abdullah’s ordeal. Cal State’s failure to confront anti-Blackness, makes them complicit in what has happened to Melina and her family? They know she has three kids,” said Thomas.

“They know she’s a single mom. How careless and unempathetic could you possibly be?” Since becoming the co-founder of the BLM-L.A., Abdullah– who stands 5 feet 3 inches and is amber complexioned, with dark curly hair and has hazel eyes that squint when she smiles–has been on the front lines of police protests and has even had the Los Angeles County’s district attorney husband pull a gun on her during a confrontation outside the couple’s home. It has not deterred her, though supporters worry for her safety. Her activist methods rebel against a police department that is eager to work alongside residents and build relationships in communities that have been calling for reforms and justice for years. Some cities have responded with police reform efforts that include community policing programs, anti-bias training, ethnic diversification of the force, and oversight which attempt to reflect community values. But these efforts do not demonstrate as specific a program Abdullah envisages as broad public safety. She has mused openly about abolishing the police. The Cal State L.A. professor, who has a PhD in Political Science from USC, says she keeps track of every case involving Black and Brown civilians killed by police in Los Angeles County. “We know the LAPD to be one of the most murderous and corrupt police departments in the country. What we’d like to see is accountability for the officers who kill people. We’d like to see them fired and prosecuted,” she said. The killing of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer triggered a wave of donations and attracted new followers for BLM groups across the country, remaking the financial landscape of Black political activism in a matter of weeks. “The donations come from individuals; not corporations,” said Abdullah. “Most of our donations are people who’ve decided to dig in their pockets. Up until the recent uprisings, we were mostly funding the movement out of our own pockets. We want to make sure that we’re sustainable, that Black Lives Matter isn’t just a moment but a movement that’s able to institutionalize the work that we do.” A big part of Abdullah’s appeal is her passion and zeal

for social justice. Raised in East Oakland, she now lives in the Crenshaw District–a neighborhood where she said, “police repression is real.” “I don’t agree with everything she does or says all the time. But I recognize and respect her motives and that she is doing what she thinks is best for all fair-minded Angelenos. And I support her in that struggle,” Abdullah’s attorney Carl Douglas said. The fact is BLM has been the most effective protest movement in half a century, at least when it comes to shifting public opinion. In fact, a CBS News poll found that 57 percent of Americans said police officers were generally more likely to treat Black people unfairly than to mistreat White people. This has made some city officials a bit more likely to see the police as activists do. From the perspective of many in the BLM movement, and some political allies, the solution means redirecting some police funding to address social services in the community. The Los Angeles City Council, for instance, recently approved a $150 million cut to the LAPD’s budget for the next fiscal year, though notably, LAPD still gets a massive slice of the pie–$3.14 billion out of the city’s $10.5 billion, according to city documents. Demanding deep cuts in the police budget, say advocates, captures both the enormity of the crisis and the need for an enormous response. As Abdullah puts it, “We want to invest in the things that make people safe like healthcare, after school programs, environmental protections; all of the things that create and build safe communities. There’s a lot of examples around the country but I think the best example of defunding the police is what’s happening in Newark, New Jersey where Mayor Ras Baraka has taken some of the money that goes to policing and invested it in community care workers.” Most notably, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a similar measure in June, which aims to replace police officers with a team of unarmed crisis response teams for nonviolent emergency calls. At the same time though, the sentiment behind the slogan appears to be a controversial subject because those who grapple with the idea of defunding the police say it remains nebulous mainly in its nature and mission. Others go as far as calling it an absurd fantasy. In fact, California’s Karen Bass, the progressive congresswoman who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus, has said, of “defund the police,” “that’s probably one of the worst slogans ever.” Abdullah understands that completely shrinking the scope of police responsibility isn’t going to resonate with everyone, but neither would she budge on the matter. “What creates change is consistent work. We don’t have any plans to rethink our terminology or strategy,” Abdullah told L.A. Focus. “So when we say defund the police, I think it’s very clear what we mean and not everybody is going to be in agreement with it, but many people are in agreement with it because it’s become the clarion call of the current moment. We want public safety. We just don’t believe public safety, especially for Black people will come through police.” Abdullah points to schools and parks as places where law enforcement could be removed altogether. She wants to see a world where her children get to live and grow freely, and not be in fear of police violence. “We want to invest in the things that actually make the community safe, like housing and healthcare and mental health and afterschool programs and all of those things,” she said. “So, you know, there’s a lot that we want to do.” Once a week, on Wednesdays at 3: PM, Abdullah and a diverse crowd of BLM supporters gather outside Los Angeles County Hall of Justice, which houses the office of Lacey, who oversees the largest prosecutorial office in the nation. The main event is calling for the ouster of Lacey for failing to prosecute killings by police officers. Each week, Abdullah begins by honoring the names of people who’ve died during police encounters. On this day, she called out George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. John Horton. After each name, Abdullah pours water from a plastic bottle onto the pavement below, as protesters responded with “Àse” (ah-shay), a word used by the Yoruba people of Nigeria that signifies the power to make things happen and produce change. “Our ‘Jackie Lacey Must Go’ campaign has been moving for years,” said Abdullah. “As well as our work to hold the police commission accountable and our work around the Civilian Oversight Commission for the L.A. County Sheriff, as well as our work in demanding justice in the name of Christopher Deandre Mitchell” — a 23-year-old man fatally shot by Torrance police officers. LM-L.A. has become the rhythm of Abdullah’s life–

So when we say defund the police, I think it’s very clear what we mean and not everybody is going to be in agreement with it, but many people are in agreement with it because it’s become the clarion call of the current moment. We want public safety. We just don’t believe public safety, especially for Black people will come through police.

Abdullah with Attorney Carl Douglas

her activism lending to the impression of a woman who has little time for anything else. To that she laughs, “I’m a mother to a whole bunch of students that I call my kids. There’s a whole life beyond Black Lives Matter, but Black Lives Matter is absolutely what I see is my sacred duty.” She underscored that BLM-L.A. is determined to get some semblance of justice for the families dealing with the trauma of police brutality and for the past four years, she has been instrumental in organizing an outlet for bereaved families of people killed by police to voice their hopes and fears outside of Lacey’s downtown office. For one of those parents, Helen Jones, “coming to a ‘Lacey Must Go’ protest brings awareness to how many family members are out here suffering like myself. So many mothers, fathers, siblings living without their brothers and sisters because the police have murdered them.” Jones alleged that her son John Horton, who died in custody at the Men’s Central Jail was subject to harassment and extreme physical abuse. With a voice that hoarse from her habitually loud and passionate speeches, Jones said Lacey had done nothing to bring justice to Los Angeles and believes [Lacey] is in bed with the police department. “We would not be where we are today, even in spirit, even mentally, without Dr. Melina Abdullah. She’s been there for me ever since I met her at a town hall meeting three years ago,” said Jones, who praised Abdullah for her tireless activism. Abdullah believes in grassroots policymaking, so a lot of her tactics collide with the conventional approach in bringing about change through electoral politics, but they include creating a web-based effort to expose police violence. “We just launched ProsecuteKillerCops.org, which lists the names of the murderer officers,” said Abdullah. “And we want to pass Re-imagine L.A., which will be on the November ballot. That’s a county-wide measure that would invest ten percent of the county’s funds into preventative measures like mental health and community resources.” Abdullah’s activism with BLM has brought its share of accolades. She was appointed to the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations in 2014; recognized by L.A. Weekly as one of the ten most influential Los Angeles leaders in 2015; bestowed with social justice awards by the YMCA and the California Teachers Association in 2016, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and National Association for Ethnic Studies in 2017. Still, Abdullah’s critics have bemoaned BLM as changing rapidly from its focus on anti-Black racism to more about combatting the challenges that LGBTQ Black people face instead. The right-wing Republican activist Niger Innis, who is part of the president’s official Black Voices for Trump advisory board, accused the movement of being set up to promote a “gay agenda.” And others say the BLM movement’s activism has amplified LGBTQ voices and often note that of the three Black women who founded the campaign, two of them identify as queer. But Abdullah has a radically different view. “There are multiple layers of oppression and when we say all Black Lives Matter, we can’t just say Black straight people’s lives matter,” she said. We mean all Black Lives Matter.” Asked what the LGBTQ’s plight has to do with Trayvon Martin, given that BLM rose out of George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the killing of the unarmed Black teenager, Abdullah said: “I think that it’s important to remember that LGBTQ folks are an essential part of Black Lives Matter work. And that the lives of those who’ve been killed, some of them identify as queers and trans. People like Tony McDade who was absolutely killed for both his race and gender identity as a trans man just a few months ago. She added that Black Lives Matter was also a spiritual movement. “We’re grounded in the tradition that’s core to Black radical Christianity liberation theology.” Notably, BLM’s message differs distinctly from that of faith-rooted activism, but Abdullah maintains that such differences hasn’t prevented BLM-L.A. from collaborating with the church. “The Black community can no longer rely on the Church let alone people who do not reflect the vision of those marching in the streets”, said Thomas, the clergy for BLM, who described Abdullah as a modern-day Harriet Tubman. “If we follow Melina, we’ll all be free.”

Game Changer: Ken Bentley “Bringing Diversity to the Game of Golf” t’s no secret that the sport of golf has a reputation for being an activity for older, affluent, white men. While that may be somewhat of a stereotype, the proof is in the numbers-- golf has a diversity problem. On the professional level, the Professional Golf Association (PGA) of America is made of 91% white members and is 96% male. On the recreational level, according to the National Golf Association, only 3% of recreational golfers are black-- and that drops to 1.5% when it comes to competitive golfers. The correlation between those statistics could not be clearer; when you don’t see people that look like you represented at the highest level, people are unlikely to participate in the activity for themselves. Fortunately, Ken Bentley has made it his mission to change this paradigm. Bentley is the founder and CEO of the Advocates Professional Golf Association (APGA)-- a non-profit organization whose mission it is to bring greater diversity to the game of golf by hosting and operating professional golf tournaments, player development programs, mentoring programs and by introducing the game to inner city young people. The APGA started back in 2008 with Bentley and his small group of volunteers hosting three tournaments for golfers of color, with $40,000 in prize money. Since then, the APGA has grown into 12 nationwide tournaments and boasts over $300,000 in prize money-- largely due to their partnership with the PGA. Bentley says the PGA has recognized their lack of inclusion and diversity and came to them as a partner to try to expand the game’s reach. “I think the golf industry says they need diversity because the sport without Tiger [Woods] really struggles,” says Bentley. “The demographic of golfers used to be old white men, and as old white men were dying off, they weren’t bringing in new people. So for golf to survive, they need an influx of talent. They need an influx of people of color and women.” What changed the trajectory for the APGA was in 2012 when the PGA came to them offering to make a small investment in their organization for five years. “What it did was give us credibility in the golf world,” says Bentley. “We knew we were the only minority organization that the PGA tour endorses.” The PGA was so impressed with the amount of growth and passion that came from the volunteer organization of black businessmen who ran the APGA-- all of which, including Bentley, were unpaid-- that they decided to double down on their investment. “They decided to give us more money, but more importantly, they gave us access to their resources,” says Bentley. “Now we play tournaments on courses that host PGA tournaments which allows us to simulate the conditions of a PGA tour event.”

L.A. Focus/September 2020



I think the golf industry says they need diversity because the sport without Tiger [Woods] really struggles. The demographic of golfers used to be old white men, and as old white men were dying off, they weren’t bringing in new people. So for golf to survive, they need an influx of talent. They need an influx of people of color and women.

The APGA sponsors and mentors talented young golfers of color, including black college golfers, to help them get over the barriers to entry of being a pro on the PGA tour-- which is namely the cost. Bentley estimates that between travel expenses, tournament fees, equipment and everything else it costs about $50,000 per year to play on the PGA tour. “A lot of our guys don’t have the resources and we’re trying to provide for them because I want to level the playing field for being on the PGA tour,” says Bentley. “That’s why we’re looking to strengthen our relationship with black colleges. When guys are in school, they get everything taken care of, but as soon as they graduate they’re totally on their own. Most of them don’t have the family resources to take care of the expenses, so that’s where we want to provide them the opportunity for them to develop their game after college.” Currently there are three active PGA tour golfers who started their career playing in the APGA and have made it to golf’s highest level. But fostering young talent on the professional level isn’t the only goal of the APGA, they also work to introduce the game to the black community at a young age. On one day of every APGA tour event, the organization invites up to 100 young people to come out for a free golf lesson where they award scholarships to those who participate in their essay contest,


Contributor and raffle off prizes. “Our goal is to introduce them to the game because most of the kids have never been to a golf course or held a golf club,” says Bentley. “We try to inspire them to get interested in the game and then partner them up with an organization such as First Tee which works with kids as young as eight to get them involved in the game.” And according to Bentley, the benefits of golf for young people are many. “For one, it’s a game you can play for the rest of your life,” says Bentley. “Also, one of the huge issues in our community is health and wellness. We see golf as an outlet for being healthier because being outside and walking the golf course. The amount of calories you burn is amazing! “Secondly, golf can be a ticket to college, especially for women because there are not enough women who take advantage of the sport. There are over 400 golf scholarships for women available every year, so why miss out on that? And the third thing is-- and the reason I personally started playing-- is because in the business world, so many deals get done on the golf course.” Bentley did not grow up playing golf-- in fact golf was not a part of his life until much later in his professional career. During his 31-year career with Nestle, where he was Vice President of Community Affairs and Workplace Diversity, it was actually tennis that was his game. But he begin to wonder about the deals he could make networking on the golf course with other executives. “I felt like I was missing out on four hours of business talk,” remembers Bentley. “So, my goal was just to learn golf well enough so I could play with those guys, but after a few times I fell in love with it.” With his newfound love for the game, Bentley would organize golf retreats a few times a year with 20 to 30 of his friends, which is where he had the idea to have everyone pitch in to start a charity golf tournament and the seeds of the APGA were born. Now, Bentley is more optimistic than ever about the place of people of color in the world of golf. “I think we’ve dramatically changed the game of golf, says Bentley. “Besides the fact that we have three guys playing on the PGA tour, we’ve really elevated the conversation on why golf needs to be more diverse. Everybody has talked about it for years but now we’re actually out there doing it. I believe that within the next five years, golf is actually going to look like America.”

The Saving Grace of Chadwick Boseman


y heart cannot take 2020! Please God no more!!!” were the words from Viola Davis in a social media post upon hearing of the death of her “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” co-star Chadwick Boseman. This, as a dark cloud of shock, grief and disbelief shrouded the film industry. The confirmation of his untimely death at 43 came from family on his official Twitter account. “It is with immeasurable grief that we confirm the passing of Chadwick Boseman,” the statement read. “Chadwick was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016 and battled with it these last four years as it progressed to stage IV. “A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much,” his family said in the statement. “From Marshall to Da 5 Bloods, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and several more- all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy. It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther.

“One of the last times we spoke, you said we were forever linked, and now the truth of that means more to me than ever. Since nearly the beginning of my career, you paved the way for me. You showed me how to be better, honor purpose, and create legacy. … “Everything you’ve given the world … the legends and heroes that you’ve shown us we are … will live on forever. But the thing that hurts the most is that I now understand how much of a legend and hero YOU are. Through it all, you never lost sight of what you loved most. You cared about your family, your friends, your craft, your spirit. You cared about the kids, the community, our culture and humanity. You cared about me. You are my big brother, but I never fully got a chance to tell you, or to truly give you your flowers while you were here. I wish we had more time.”

Michael B. Jordan

From Oprah Winfrey, Dwayne Johnson, Whoopi Goldberg and Robert Downey Jr. to Chris Evans, Octavia Spencer, Senator Kamala Harris, Sterling K. Brown, Kerry Washington and Don Cheedle, the outpouring of love, admiration and grief was palpable. “This broke me,” said Issa Rae, while Jordan Peele characterized the loss as a crushing blow. The endless flow of tributes extended from the Marvel family to the Obamas to the countless children throughout the world who donned their black panther garb and bowed their heads–often in tears– and crossed their arms to their chest with one last Wakanda salute. As of this writing, the tweet had been liked more than 7.2 million times .A testament to the iconic popularity of the Anderson, South Carolina native who graduated from Howard University in 2000 and headed to New York after taking part in the British American Drama Academy's summer program, paid for by Denzel Washington. “I was on a roll when I entered the system of entertainment, theater, television and film,” Boseman recalled in 2016. “In my first New York audition for a professional play I landed the lead role. From that play, I got my first agent. From that agent, I got an onscreen audition. It was a soap opera. It wasn't Third Watch. It was a soap opera on a major network. I scored that role too. I felt like Mike Tyson when he first came on the scene knocking out opponents in the first round. With this soap opera gig, I was already promised to make 6 figures, more money than I had ever seen.” Just one problem, he was conflicted by the character he was contracted to play. “This role seemed to be wrapped up in assumptions about us as black folk,” said the actor who’d been mentored by Phylicia Rashad. “The writing failed to search for specificity. Plus, there was barely a glimpse of positivity or talent in the character, barely a glimpse of hope. I would have to make something out of nothing. I was conflicted. Howard had instilled in me a certain amount of pride and for my taste this role didn't live up to those standards.” After filming the first two episodes, the execs called him into their offices to tell them how happy they were with his performance. He took the opportunity to share some hard questions he had about the stereotypical nature of the character. The execs said they would be happy to connect him with the writer. Instead, he was let go the next day. But as he recounts the story, he’d planted a seed. “God,” he said, “kept it growing. Boseman arrived in Hollywood in 2008 and landed

numerous TV appearances including a recurring role on the TV series, “Lincoln Heights” before being cast in his first film, The Express: The Ernie Davis Story. But it was his breakout role as Jackie Robinson in “42” opposite Harrison Ford. Nicole Beharie was cast as his wife in “42. “We’d shoot in these stadiums (filled with extras) and between set ups in the middle of the empty field stood this black man from South Carolina doing kemetic yoga moving energy with the number 42 on his back bathed in sunlight,” Beharie said. “It feels like he was showing us through heroes and being one himself, how to dig fearlessly into purpose. He had these magnificent expressive hands and this cheeky smile. A dancer. A singer. Writer. Light bearer. Chad wanted us to see our brilliance.” And we would soon see his as the film put him squarely in the spotlight, leading to roles in Draft Day, Get On Up as the iconic king of R&B, James Brown and ultimately, his casting as T’Challa, the King of Wakanda and the legendary Black Panther in Captain America. The first of a five-picture deal leading up to the 2018 release of Black Panther, the highest grossing film of the year. More than its commercial success, Black Panther– which crushed expectations at the box office, was a cultural success and gamechanger demonstrating to the film industry the passion African Americans had for their media images and a world that would embrace and commercially support them. “We knew we had something special that exemplified a world that we wanted to see,” said Boseman, who went on to appear again in the phenomenally successful Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers; Endgame. By his side was actress Danai Gurira. “I always marveled at how special Chadwick was. Such a pure hearted, profoundly generous, regal, fun guy. My entire job as Okoye was to respect and protect a king. Chadwick made that job profoundly easy.,” Gurira said. “He was the epitome of kindness, elegance, diligence and grace. On many an occasion I would think how thankful I was that he was the leading man I was working closely with. A true class act. And so perfectly equipped to take on the responsibility of leading the franchise that changed everything for Black representation. “He played great, iconic roles because he possessed inside of himself that connection to greatness to be able to so richly bring them to life. He had a heroic spirit and marched to the beat of his own drum; hence his excellence as an artist and the incredible courage and determination as he faced life’s challenges; while still guiding us all. “The children he inspired, my heart aches for them, to lose their hero just as they finally found him. I am so thankful to have taken the Black Panther journey with him. To have known him, spent time in his light and leadership.” Even as he fought his own valiant and private battle against America’s second deadliest cancer, the actor who’d also portrayed Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in 2017 made it a point to visit children suffering from cancer and to inspire youth. “Your very existence is wrapped up in the things you are here to fulfill,” he told Howard’s graduating class in 2018. “Whatever you choose for a career path, remember, the struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose. When I dared to challenge the system that would relegate us to victims and stereotypes with no clear historical backgrounds, no hopes or talents, when I questioned that method of portrayal, a different path opened up for me, the path to my destiny. “When God has something for you, it doesn't matter who stands against it. God will move someone that’s holding you back away from the door and put someone there who will open it for you if it's meant for you. I don't know what your future is, but if you are willing to take the harder way, the more complicated one, the one with more failures at first than successes, the one that has ultimately proven to have more meaning, more victory, more glory then you will not regret it.” “This was a man who was beyond talented and was so unbelievable giving not only as a performer but as a human being,” said “Marshall” co-star Josh Gad. “He was somebody who just gave and gave and gave and never stopped giving. Beyond just being black panther, Chadwick was T’Challa in real life. “He lives in the mythic,” said Jeffrey Wright. Indeed, for so many he a true saving grace. #Wakanda forever…

What Happens to “Black Panther” Without Its Star, Chadwick Boseman? For all the success of Chadwick Boseman’s portrayals of real-life heroes like Jackie Robinson, James Brown and Thurgood Marshall, it was his iconic portrayal of T’Challa, that he will be most remembered for. Upon its release, countless videos depicted Black children dressed up as the superhero making their way to the theater, and Black people expressing just how needed the movie’s representation of Black culture was. Boseman’s personification of the Marvel character not only gave Black America a powerful and unapologetically Black superhero to look up to, but its commercial success was a gamechanger for African Americans in the film industry. Gil Robertson, co-founder and president of the African American Film Critics Association, called the film "critically important" and “a gate-opener opportunity for other black-centered projects” while New York Times writer Carvell Wallace said that in contrast to earlier black superhero films, “Black Panther” was “steeped very specifically and purposefully in its blackness.” The 2018 film smashed box office records and earned Marvel its first best picture Academy Award nomination, while bringing in over $1.347 billion in global revenues, catapulting commercial expectations of what an almost all-Black cast was capable of. In the film's opening weekend, 37 percent of audiences in the United States were African American, according to PostTrak, compared to 35 percent Caucasian, 18 percent Hispanic, and 5 percent Asian. This made it the most diverse audience for a superhero movie ever. The critical response also broke new ground within the Marvel franchise, with experts calling it one of the best stand-alone Marvel movies so far and praising the film for elevating superhero cinema to thrilling new heights. Marvel Studios released a video tribute titled, “You Will Always Be Our King” highlighting the star. “He was our T'Challa, our Black Panther, and our dear friend. Each time he stepped on set, he radiated charisma and joy, and each time he appeared on screen, he created something truly indelible,” Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios and chief creative officer, said in a statement. “He embodied a lot of amazing people in his work, and nobody was better at bringing great men to life.” There has been no official word on what Marvel will do concerning the continuation of the “Black Panther” franchise, but many fans have been adamant about not recasting the character and instead suggest that Shuri, T’Challa’s sister played by

actress Letitia Wright, take on the lead role. Black Panther 2 is not scheduled for release until 2022, and while director Ryan Coogler is in the process of writing the script, filming isn't believed to have started yet. “I haven’t grieved a loss this acute before. I spent the last year preparing, imagining and writing words for him to say, that we weren’t destined to see. It leaves me broken knowing that I won’t be able to watch another close-up of him in the monitor again or walk up to him and ask for another take,” Coogler said. While the Black Panther title could pass to another character, it’s possible there's unused footage from the first film or from other Avengers movies that could be spliced in to create scenes or to set up T'Challa's departure, similar to what the Star Wars franchise did with Carrie Fisher when she died before the completed filming of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” Villains of the next film are still being discussed, but there have been rumors that Michael B. Jordan could return as Erik Killmonger. But the possibilities are endless, as T’Challa has fought groups from the KKK to coups within the fictional land of Wakanda in the comics. Though it will be difficult to imagine the film without Boseman, the success and cultural impact guarantee a continuation of the franchise. “Panther obviously is a big swing that we hope to continue through many sequels and take some of these characters and put them in other franchises because I do think there's a way to cross-pollinate in an interesting way,” producer Nate Moore stated in 2018. In the meantime, ABC honored Boseman following a commercial-free airing of “Black Panther,” in a special titled, “Chadwick Boseman: A Tribute for A King” featuring actors like Robert Downey Jr. and Phylicia Rashad who shared stories about their late friend. MTV also dedicated Sunday night’s VMAs to Boseman. A Change.org petition that seeks to replace a Confederate statue in his hometown of Anderson, South Carolina with a statue of the unforgettable actor has amassed over 35,000 signatures. There has also been a petition started to rename Howard University’s Fine Arts College after Boseman. Actress Whoopi Goldberg, who called the acclaimed actor one of her “all-time favorite people on the planet,” is calling for Disney to build a Wakanda theme park in honor of Boseman. Disney has not responded but has previously revealed that there will be a Marvel expansion at California Adventure Park.

INSIDE HO L LY W OOD by Neily Dickerson “Quarantine Watch List” I miss going to the movie theater, getting my popcorn, a hot dog, an ICEE, nachos, or maybe a pizza and all that goes with it. Here’s the thing, AMC Theaters have opened in some cities, but us here at the city of Angels have been put on hold (ugggh). If you’re wondering what I’d go see here’s a short list: Russell Crowe’s new film, “Unhinged”. It’s a thriller, maybe over the top and not the kind of movie needed now, but remember, I want the experience and I am a Russell Crowe fan, so, I’d give it a shot. I am hopeful we’ll be able to go back to the theaters this month because I’m really look forward to see-

ing, “The King’s Man.” This all-star cast includes Ralph Fiennes, Stanley Tucci, and Djimon Hounsou. I’m also looking forward to seeing, “Tenet”, starring John David Washington. This looks like it’s going to be a spy thriller and that would do me some good right now. I’m pretty much ready for anything coming to a theater near you / us and hope I get to go sooner rather than later. I’m also hoping there will be tributes to Chadwick Boseman when theaters open nation wide, cause I’m here for his complete body of work: “42,” “Get On Up,” “21 Bridges,” “Draft Day,” and of Hometown: Los Angeles, CA course, “Black Panther.” God rest his Big Break: “Ballers” soul Upcoming Projects: “Tenet” Former football star John David Washington has found a home in film and television. Before he took up acting, he was signed by the St. Louis Rams as an undrafted free agent and then the California Redwoods - until an Achilles tendon injury sealed the deal on his football career. Starring in the critically acclaimed TV show, “Ballers,” the 36-year-old has proven that his acting chops are just as seasoned as his running back skills. The Morehouse College graduate has gone on to star in Spike Lee’s 2018 crime film, “BlacKkKlansman” and is Mulan Antebellum The King’s Man the lead in Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” which will September 4 September 18 September 18 debut this September 2020. Washington has even found a way to stay active during the global pandemic and an exploration of the Black experience NeNe Leakes Absent as ATL secretly filmed a movie alongside actress Zendaya; the and what it means to live in a Black Housewives Commence Filming release date is to be determined. Oh, and he’s Denzel NeNe Leakes has fueled rumors that body. The book is written in the form of Washington’s son. a letter to Coates’ teenage son and she may not be returning for season 13 details the author’s experiences grow- of the popular reality series, “Real Your new movie, “Tenet” is set to come out this ing up in Baltimore’s inner city as well Housewives of Atlanta” after deleting September after being delayed due to the coronavirus as his growing fear of the growing vio- her Instagram account and posting sevpandemic. How are you dealing with the push back? lence perpetrated against the Black eral questionable tweets. I mean, I’m human. I put everything into this film. You “I hav(e) protected every1 for years community. It is currently set to air think it’s going to happen and they keep pushing it later this year…In the meantime, and covered up things i shouldn’t have! back. That can be disheartening. But it’s like your Winfrey is reteaming with director I took the beating so others didn’t have child. You want to send it to the best school, even if you Steven Spielberg on a musical reboot of too and no one has protected me or have to wait a semester. the on the Tony-winning Broadway stood up for me. Y’all have gone silent adaptation of Alice Walker’s 1982 and turned the other cheek. You are How has living at home with your parents, Denzel and novel, “The Color Purple” for the big NOT exempted from getting this same Pauletta Washington, been during the lockdown? screen. The script will be based on The treatment 1 day,” she tweeted. I’ve been loving it. My folks are good housemates. Color Purple’s Broadway version and Although the new season has already They’re fun. I actually feel like the parent sometimes. Quincy Jones, who scored The Color started filming, co-stars like Cynthia Purple film soundtrack will also be Bailey say that they have not seen Was it hard to stay out of your father’s shadow when Leakes and aren’t sure about her status involved. you began your acting career? on the show. Leakes reportedly still has I felt like there was no way people would take me seriSinger Jill Scott Will Play “Queen not signed her contract and claims that ously, even if I was good. They would always judge me. of Gospel” Mahalia Jackson in New it’s because of the network. So I hid who my father was. I guess I was protecting Biopic myself. I used to lie, saying he was a construction workGrammy-award winner Jill Scott is On the Home Front er or in jail, just to have some sense of normalcy. Adam Abdul-Jabbar, son of basketset to play gospel icon Mahalia Jackson, who was dubbed as “the ball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, has What do you want your legacy to be as an actor? Queen of Gospel music”, in a new biopic been charged with multiple felonies I was always taken by performance. I loved how it to be produced by Queen Latifah and after allegedly stabbing his neighbor made me feel. Hopefully, my work will speak for itself, Jamie Foxx. The film will document after an argument over trash cans. The like the early De Niros and Leonardo DiCaprios. Their her musical and activist life, and pro- 28-year-old is accused of stabbing his work speaks for itself. That's how I'd like to live. ducers have reportedly secured the 60-year-old neighbor repeatedly and rights to Jackson’s entire fracturing his skull during an arguAmidst the social and political upheaval our country is ment on June 9 in San Clemente. musical catalog. facing right now, what gives you hope? Abdul-Jabbar was charged with “This is such an incredibly As an African American, what gives me hope about important story to tell and three felony counts of assault with a where we are going is the amount of people that don’t we’re thrilled to work with deadly weapon, one felony count of carlook like me on the front lines. I think they do actually Jamie on the project,” rying a dagger and three enhancements have an understanding, a real understanding of what of inflicting great bodily injury. He Latifah said. the problems are, the systemic issues. And they’re payJackson was one of faces up to nine years and eight months ing attention. I’ve got friends who don’t look like me in the most instrumental in state prison…Actress Halle Berry New York who have marched and are risking their voices and greatest sup- has filed a petition to replace her forsafety. Not because it’s cool, not because they feel porters of Martin Luther mer attorney with herself in the final guilty. Because they are enraged. Because they feel like King Jr. The singer was stages of her divorce from ex Oliver they’ve got to do something if they want real change for also a major influence on Martinez. The two have been separated people who look like me. This is a war of attrition, but Aretha Franklin’s music for five years and their divorce was with these new optics, it feels like having an injection and was the first gospel finalized in December 2016, but in of electrolytes. That is extremely encouraging. I asked singer to perform in New 2018, Berry filed new paperwork to formy folks and people who lived through the 1970s, was York’s iconic Carnegie Hall. mally deal with remaining unresolved it ever like this? Was it this diverse? A lot of the issues. answers were no. And that makes me very hopeful.



Tenet September 3 Idris Elba to Mentor Youth at “Idris Elba’s Fight School” Actor Idris Elba will mentor underprivileged youth at an experimental boxing school in a four-part limited series called, “Idris Elba’s Fight School.” The BBC Two documentary series will focus on a group of students who will live and train together over six months in London and will battle it out amongst other amateurs before a grand showcase finale. Elba, who went through similar training for the miniseries, “Discovery’s Idris Elba: Fighter,” will be a guide throughout the process. “It’s a proven fact that in urban areas where fight schools open, violent crime drops dramatically — which is why I wanted to do this project, in hope that we can change people’s lives,” Elba said.

L.A. Focus/September 2020

HBO Special Event to include Angela Winfrey, Oprah Bassett and Yara Shahidi The TV adaptation of TaNehisi Coates’ book and stage show, “Between the World and Me” will be full of star power. The growing cast includes Winfrey, Oprah Bassett, Angela Rashad, Phylicia Courtney B. Vance, Kendrick Sampson, Shahidi, Yara Jerome Jharrel (“When They See Us”), and Pauletta Washington, among others. The plot is described as



John David Washington

RedCarpet Style



Zendaya is an inspiration to young girls everywhere with her dynamic acting skills, poise and beauty. The 23-year-old just was just nominated for an Emmy for her role in the critically acclaimed HBO series, “Euphoria.”. Here are some of our favorite red carpet looks.



EMMYS 2019

Eye On Gospel A Stellar Night Not even a global pandemic could diminish the powerful spirit of praise, worship and celebration during the historic virtual broadcast of the Stellar Gospel Music Awards Sunday night on BET and BET Her. Led by hosts Kirk Franklin, Jonathan McReynolds, and Koryn Hawthorne, the 35th Anniversary Stellar Gospel Music Awards awarded trophies in 28 categories for the year's best performances in the genre -- including six statues presented to the night’s big winner, host and Gospel icon Kirk Franklin. From the first moments featuring welcome remarks by Stellar Awards Founder and Executive Producer Don Jackson and powerful show open by Tye Tribbett of his uplifting anthem “We Gon’ Be Alright,” through the final credit roll, the “Greatest Night in Gospel Music” virtually brought together the nation’s gospel community to offer hope and inspiration in turbulent times. Among the evening’s highlights was a moving tribute to the late Congressman John Lewis by CeCe Winans, who performed “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Franklin’s work on Long Live Love earned him five Stellar Awards for Male Vocalist of the Year, Album of the Year, Producer of the Year, Contemporary Male Vocalist of the Year, and Contemporary Album of the Year. Franklin earned an additional Song of the Year trophy for his work on "Love Theory." “I first came to the Stellars in 1993…I won my first Stellar Award and had

to borrow money to get there,” said Franklin. “Even rode the bus from Texas to Chicago and to be part of this community is even more than I could ever deserve…more than I could ever earn. Thank you to everyone who has allowed me to just continue and try to be not an owner, but a manager of what God has entrusted me to have. To God be the glory.” Gospel great Donald Lawrence presents the Tri-City Singers received four Stellar Awards for work on the Goshen project including Choir of the Year and Contemporary Choir of the Year, as well as Song of the Year and Urban/Inspirational Single or Performance of the Year for "Deliver Me (This is My Exodus)." Gospel legend John P. Kee's I Made It Out delivered three Stellar Awards for Traditional Male Vocalist, Traditional Album of the Year and Traditional Choir of the Year. Dual winners included Le'Andria Johnson for her work on Donald Lawrence's project, Goshen in the categories Albertina Walker Female Vocalist of the Year Award and the Traditional Female Vocalist of the Year. The Walls Group received two statues for Duo Group of the Year and Contemporary Duo Group of the Year for their album Friend in Me, along with newcomer Pastor Mike Jr. who took home a pair of Stellar Awards for New Artist of the Year and Rap/Hip Hop Gospel Album of the Year for his work on Live Free. Kurt Carr also received two Stellar awards, one as an artist (Traditional Duo/Chorus Group of the Year) and another

for Recorded Music Packaging of the Year for the Bless Somebody Else project as did Tasha Cobbs Leonard who along with being honored with the Contemporary Female Vocalist award was named “Artist of the Year” for her project Heart, Passion, Pursuit. “This is absolutely amazing,” said Cobbs. “Again, it is the joy of my life to lead worship and worship God. To be honored for that and appreciated. Thank so much for your love down through the years.” Rounding out the night with one Stellar Award each were JJ Hairston (Praise and Worship Album of the Year), Ben Tankard (Instrumental Album of the Year), Gospel Kids (Youth Project of the Year), Keith Wonderboy Johnson (Quartet of the Year) and Greenleaf; Season 3 (Special Event Album of the Year). Performers included Tamela Mann, Anthony Brown, James Fortune, Koryn Hawthorne, J.J. Hairston & Youthful Praise, Jonathan McReynolds, Travis Greene, Kierra Sheard, Marvin Sapp, Tye Tribbett, Tauren Wells, Zacardi Cortez and Pastor Mike Jr. LeAndria Johnson Releases New Music GRAMMY® and Stellar Award-winning singer and songwriter, Le’Andria Johnson recently released a new single, “Hold On”. The song is the first new music from Johnson since her last album, Bigger Than Me (2017), and her 2018 hit, “Better Days,” which was featured on Greenleaf’s Season 2 Soundtrack. Since then, she has been showcased on other music including Donald Lawrence and the Tri-City Singers’ #1 smash, “Deliver Me,” from the Goshen album, PJ Morton’s “All In His Plan,” from The Gospel According to PJ, and earlier this year, Rodney Jerkins’ “Come Together,” a song which benefitted covid-19 relief efforts. On the beautiful ballad, Johnson who has been very open about some of her own personal challenges, wields her powerful contralto to inspire listeners to “hold onto God’s unchanging hand” throughout life’s trials. Last month, Johnson was finally able to settle her long divorce battle with now ex-husband, Gospel continued to page 24


Agape Church of Los Angeles Worship Center Consolidated Plaza: 3725 Don Felipe Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90008

Pastor Shep Crawford Helps Broker Peace Treaty Between Rival Gangs

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 Bethel Missionary Baptist Church of South L.A. 10905 S. Compton Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90059 (323) 566.5286 Pastor Reginald A. Pope Sunday School: 9:30am Morning Worship: 8am • 11am Children’s Church: 11am (2nd/4th Sundays) Evangelism Training/Bible Study/Independent Prayer: (Mon): 7:29pm Mobile Prayer/Bible Study: (Wed) 11am Book by Book Bible Study (Wed.): 6:30pm

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


ast month, Experience Christian Ministries Pastor Shep Crawford hosted a “Peace in the East” press conference at City Hall to announce the establishment of several peace treaties and continued talks between long-time rival gang members from the Crips and Bloods on L.A.’s east side. Crawford wase joined by members of United We Stand, Gang Interventionist Skipp Townsend, Alexander Sanchez of Homies Unidos, Minister Tony Muhammad of the Nation of Islam, along with members of different gang tribes and community leaders. “We (United We Stand) have been working on this for a few years,” said Crawford. “We knew that after the murder of George Floyd, we needed to move quickly because with all the anger and outrage, things could get worse specifically in the neighborhoods we had worked so hard to bring about change. So, under the leadership of many of these brothers specifically Paul 'Lil Doc Wallace' United We Stand have continued to bring down crime by lifting our brothers and sisters of our communities.” In May of 2018, Crawford hosted a symposium with rival gang members from the Crips & Bloods together on the same stage during a Sunday morning church service. Hundreds showed up and in many cases, offered heart wrenching accounts. Some of the gang members had been part of the 1992 gang truce and had held strong to that commitment of peace. Many had turned their lives around, were gainfully employed, providers of jobs, work training programs and other resources to help their communities. During these talks they expressed concern about being able to reach the younger gang members and through their experiences mentor them and help them to get on the right track. This became the primary focal point for the work ahead. Understanding that there was a direct correlation between poverty & crime Pastor Shep joined United We Stand which met weekly to discuss and to do outreach in these communities to identify the needs and how meeting those needs could help to reduce the number of violent crimes. “Many of these so called 'Gang-Bangers' are actively working in our streets to bring about peace. I didn't start this movement, but I joined it. And it is time for the rest of the community to join and support these peacemakers, who are definitely needed to bring about significant change” says Crawford.

L.A. Focus/September 2020

T.D. Jakes’ Woman Thou Art Loosed Goes Virtual Bishop T.D. Jakes’ has announced that his popular “Woman, Thou Art Loosed” conference will be virtual after this year’s in-person event was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. A platform is expected to be announced soon for the event that has become the largest black women’s inspirational conference in the U.S., attracting upwards of 80,000 attendees and becoming the inspiration for a 2004 film. This will be the conference’s first digital offering in its 20-plus year history. The 2020 in-person event was originally set to be the last conference, but the final event will now take place in-person next year in Atlanta. “We came to this conclusion with the highest concern for everyone’s health and security,” Jakes said in a press release about the rescheduling. “Even


though COVID-19 has brought unique challenges for being together this year, I am already looking forward to seeing women in person from around the world in 2021 as we convene in Atlanta.” The conference that offers workshops, keynote speakers and special guests to tackle various subjects and issues that women face daily began as a Sunday School class taught by Jakes that he said “really struck into a reservoir of human need, dealing with women being trapped by emotional, mental, physical pain, trauma, abuse, childhood scars. And it was just a message to say that you can get over it; that you can get beyond it; that you can still be somebody; that you don’t have to be ensnared by where you came from. It was very simplistic, but it was very needed.” “It’s been amazing. It’s been an incredible career,” Jakes reflected of the conference has played host to some of the biggest names in the national faith community including Paula White, Juanita Bynum and Joyce Meyers. “Over 30 years I’ve been doing ‘Woman Thou Art Loosed.’ 43 years I’ve been preaching the gospel. I’m not retiring from the ministry, but I do think it’s important to know when to bow out, to go after other things, not to do things just out of tradition, but to move on to other messages.” Tickets already purchased for the 2020 in-person event have been automatically transferred to the rescheduled 2021 Atlanta event and will also allow eventgoers to access the virtual experience this October. Pastor John Gray Is Back in The News A 48-year old Houston woman is accusing Pastor and former TV reality star John Gray of inappropriate behavior. The Houston woman alleges that she sent him partially nude photos at his request and video-chatted with her while revealing his underwear. She further claims that he met with the married father of two in Houston and invited her to visit his home. The Greenville-based law firm representing Rev. John Gray says the 47-year old pastor of the Greenville, South Carolina-based Relentless Church is being blackmailed and extorted. The allegations of a scandal first surfaced on social media and entertainment news websites when the woman was featured on a live video stream on YouTube. Attorneys Devon Puriefoy and Kimberly Thomason clarified to the Greenville News that the allegations were based solely on phone calls, not physical contact. "There are allegations that there were phone conversations between the two parties, and that’s essentially the extent of the allegations," Puriefoy said. "When you take her own words, she says there was no affair, no physical contact, they never met each other, they never saw each other."

Pastor Kyron S. Shorter Sunday Morning Prayer: 9:00am Sunday School: 9:30am Morning Worship: 11:00am Children’s Church: 11:00am Sunday Evening Service: 6:00pm

Bryant Temple AME Church 2525 W. Vernon Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90008 (323) 293-6201 • F: (323) 293-0082 Pastor Dwaine Jackson Sunday School: 8:15am Morning Worship: 9:15 am Bible Study (Tues): Noon Pastor’s Bible Study( Tues): 6:00pm

Calvary Baptist Church 4911 W. 59th Street,Los Angeles, CA,90056 (323)298-1605•F: (310) 568-8430 • calvarybaptistla.org Rev. Dr. Virgil V. Jones Sunday Prayer: 8:30am Sunday School: 9:30am Sunday Worship: 11:00am Wednesday Bible Study: 12:00pm & 7:00pm We are the Church on the Hill where the Light Shines Bright!

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 Sun. Early Worship: 8:00am Prayer Meeting: 10:30am Morning Worship: 11:00am Wed. Afternoon Bible Study: 1:00pm Wed. Prayer Meeting: 6:00pm Wed. Evening Bible Study: 7:00pm View Pastor McKnight’s Sermons on YouTube Crenshaw Christian Center 7901 South Vermont, Los Angeles, CA 90044 (323) 758-3777 • F: (323)565-4231 • www.faithdome.org Pastor Frederick K. Price, Jr. Sunday Service: 9:45am Bible Study (Tue): 11:00am & 7:30pm Tue. Night Children’s Ministry: 7:30pm Tue. Night Bible Study (Teens): 7:30pm Alcohol & Drug Abuse Program (Wed): 7:30pm

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 Ruby Cottle, Ph.D., Pastor & Teacher Prophetess June Morgan / Assistant Pastor

Services Every Friday: 7:00pm -9:30pm We meet at: St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church 3901 West Adams Blvd, LA, CA 90018 Watch Dr. Cottle on HBN TV on Wed’s 7:30am Channel 20 Dish & DirectTV,Channel 3 U-Verse

Grace Temple Baptist Church 7017 South Gramercy Place, Los Angeles, CA 90047 (323) 971-8192 Rev. Rodney Howard Sunday L.I.F.E Group: 8:30am Sunday Worship Service: 9:30am Wednesday Intercessory Prayer: 6:30pm Wednesday Night Bible Study: 7:00pm E-Mail: gtbcla@gmail.com

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

Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church 1300 E. 50th Street Los Angeles, CA 90011 (323) 235-2103 • F: (323) 235-3177 • www.mtzionla.org Dr. Edward V. Hill, II, Pastor Sunday Intercessory Prayer: 9:15am Morning Worship: 9:30am Children’s Church: 9:30am Sunday School: 11:30am Baptism: 2nd Sun. & Lord’s Supper: 1st Sunday Tues. Pastor’s Bible Study: 6:30pm Wed. Noon-day Prayer: Noon


Heather Bourne

Rev. Dr. J. Arthur Rumph, Senior Pastor Reappointed to Grant AME Church Los Angeles Rev. Dr. James A. Rumph

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

Greater Ebenezer Baptist Church 5300 S. Denker Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90062 (323) 759-4996 Rev. DeNon Porter Early Worship: 8am Sunday School: 9:30am Mid-Morning Worship: 11am Radio-KALI 900AM: Sun. 11-Noon, 7-8pm KTYM 1460AM Sundays: 5:30pm Bible Study (Tues, Wed & Thurs): 7pm

Holman United Methodist Church 3320 W. Adams Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90018 (323) 703-5868 • www.holmanumc.com Email: holman@holmanumc.com Rev. Dr. Ken Walden, Senior Pastor Sunday Morning Worship: 8:00am & 11:00am Sunday Radio: KJLH 102.3FM at 11:00am 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! Israel Missionary Baptist Church - A Holy Spirit Filled Church 4501 South Compton Ave, Los Angeles,CA 90011 Church/Fax: (323) 233-3295 or 3296 Website: www.Israelmbc.com • Email: israelmbc@yahoo.com Rev. Rodney J. Howard, Sr. Sunday School: 10:00am Morning Worship: 11:30am Sunset Service: 5:00pm Communion Every First Sunday First Sunday Men In Prayer: 8:30 am Pastor’s Bible Study Tuesdays: 7:30pm McCarty Memorial Christian Church 4103 W. Adams Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90018 (323) 731-4131 • www.mccartychurch.org Senior Pastor Edward Anderson

Second Baptist Church irst Lady Heather Bourne can do it all. She’s the author of the recently released, 31-day devotional book, “Look On The Bright Side,” producer and host of the show, “Eat, Move, Live,” a Second Baptist Church representative for their City of Hope partnership, a mother of two and works in real estate management full time. But despite all of the things on her plate, she says that her main priority as first lady is to be a support system for her husband and pastor Chris Bourne. “My first ministry is my husband because as long as he’s prayed up and doing well with everything at home, that helps him be free to do ministry for the church,” Bourne said. Bourne grew up in Detroit, Michigan and spent her teen and college years in Georgia. She met Chris through a very unlikely person - her ex-boyfriend. “My ex and I were friends and he knew I was a church girl,” she jokingly recalled. “He met my husband at a barbershop while they were waiting to get their hair cut.” Even though she’s been a first lady for 16 years, the couple took over Second Baptist Church in Monrovia right before the pandemic hit and now she’s looking forward to getting back in church and truly getting to know the congregation. “We want to continue to love on the people. Especially for me, the women. I’m very transparent, very real and very relatable,” she expressed. “I just want to encourage the women to follow God but at the same time, through their testimony, know their journey is going to bless someo n e



Pastor Roshad D. Hall, M.A. Sundays: Morning Worship: 8:00am & 11:00am Wednesday Bible Study & Mid Week Worship: Noon & 7:00pm Prayer Meeting: 6:30pm

St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church 5017 S. Compton Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90011 (323) 231-1040 • stmarkmbcofla.org Reverend Dr. Lovely Haynes, Pastor Sunday Morning Worship: 8:00am & 11:00am Sunday School: 9:30am Mon-Wed Corporate Prayer: 6:00 - 6:55 pm Monday Night Bible Study: 7:00pm Wednesday Noon Prayer: 12 Noon Wed. Exposition of Sunday School Lesson: 7:00pm

The Potter’s House at One LA 614 N. La Brea Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90036 (818) 763-4521 • www.tphla.org Sr. Pastor Toure’ Roberts Sunday Worship: 9:00am, 11:15am & 1:00pm Thursday Midweek Service: 8pm Watch Live: http://tphla.org/watch-live/

Trinity Baptist Church 2040 West Jefferson Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90018 (323) 735-0044 • F: (323) 735-0219 Rev. Alvin Tunstill, Jr Sunday Worship: 7:30 & 10:30am Sunday Church School: 9:00am Radio Broadcast KJLH FM: 9:00am Wed. Prayer & Bible Study: Noon-7:00pm www.trinitybaptistchurchofla.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 “We have not walked this way before” Joshua 3:1-6

West Angeles Church of God In Christ 3045 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90016 (323) 733-8300 Bishop Charles E. Blake Sunday School: 8:00am & 10:30am Early Worship: 8:00am Morning Worship: 11:00am Evening Worship (North Campus): 7:00pm Wed. Mid-Week Worship: 7:00pm Sun. Radio Broadcast KJLH 102.3FM: 10am www.westa.tv

Sunday Worship: 10:45am Sunday School: 9:30am Bible Study: Tues Noon

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

People’s Independent Church of Christ 5856 West Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90043 • (323) 296-5776

New Antioch Church of God in Christ 7826 So. Vermont Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90044 (323) 778-7965 Elder Jeffrey M. Lewis

Peace Apostolic Church 21224 Figueroa Street, Carson, CA 90745 (310) 212-5673 Suff. Bishop Howard A. Swancy

In Carson

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

Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church 3669 W. 54th St. Los Angeles, CA 90043 • (323) 291-1121 F: (323) 291-1133 • office@sinai.church • www.sinai.church George E. Hurtt, Pastor-Teacher Sunday Worship: 8:00am, 11:30am Discipleship Groups (Sun): 9:45am Noonday Bible Study(Tue): 12:00pm Tuesday Night in the Truth: 7:15pm Radio: KKLA 99.5 FM (Sat): 9:00pm Our Goal: To glorify God by winning more Christians and developing better Christians (Matt. 28:18-20)

Sunday Early Morning Worship: 8:00am Sunday School: 9:30 am Morning Worship: 11:00am Tuesday Prayer and Bible Band: 11:00am Wednesday Bible Study: 7:30pm Wednesday in the Word: 7:30pm Park Windsor Baptist Church 1842 W. 108th St. Los Angeles, CA 90047 (323) 756-3966 • RevTerrellTaylor@sbcglobal.net Rev. Terrell Taylor Morning Worship: 8:00am & 11:00am Bible Study Wednesday: Noon & 7:00pm Communion: 1st Sunday at 8:00am & 11:00am

Sunday School: 10:00am Morning Worship: 11:45am Evening Worship: 6:30pm Wed. Noon Day Bible Class: 12:30pm Wed. Bible Class: 7:30pm Citizens of Zion Missionary Baptist Church In Compton 12930 No. Lime Ave., Compton, CA 90221 (310) 638-0536 • F: (323) 636-2080 • www.citizensofzion.org Rev. Bobby Newman, Jr., Senior Pastor; Rev. B.T. Newman, Pastor (Pastor Emeritus) Sunday School: 9:00am Morning Service: 10:45am Wed. Mid-Week Bible Study: 7:00pm

Greater Zion Church Family 2408 North Wilmington Avenue, Compton, CA 90222 (310) 639-5535 • (Tues - Thurs 10am -4pm) Dr. Michael J. Fisher, Senior Pastor Sunday Worship: 8:00am|10:45am| 5:00pm Wednesday Bible Study: 12pm|7:00pm FB: GreaterZion IG: GZCFamily www.gzcf.us

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

In Gardena

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

In Hawthorne

Holy Chapel Missionary Baptist Church In Compton 1016 E. Rosecrans Avenue, Compton, CA 90220 (310) 537-3149 • F: (310) 537-3149 Rev. Dr. George L. Thomas Sunday School: 9:45am & 10:15am Early Morning Worship: 7:30am Mid-Morning Worship: 11:15am New Members’ Class: 9:45am Holy-Communion (1st Sunday): 7:30 & 11:15am Mid-Week Prayer & Bible Study (Wed)- 7:00pm Broadcast (KALI 900AM - Sunday): 2:00pm3:00pm

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

Love and Unity Christian Fellowship 1840 S. Wilmington Ave, (P.O. Box 5449), Compton 90224 (310) 604-5900, www.loveandunity.org • info@loveandunity.org

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

Apostle Ronald C. Hill, Sr. Founder and Pastor Live Stream Sunday Worship:10am & 6:30pm Live Stream Bible Studies:Wed.7:30pm&Sat 9am Live Stream Prayer w Apostle: Fri: 9am Food For Your Soul TV Ministry Impact Televison Network: Mon-Fri @6:30amPST KJLH 102.3 Sundays 9:00pm

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

Blessed Family Covenant Church 325 North Hillcrest Blvd, Inglewood, CA, 90301 (310)-674-0303 • F: (310)-674-0303 • blessedfamilycovenant.org Rev. Wendy Howlett Sunday School: 8:30am Morning Worship: 9:30am Wed. Prayer & Bible Study: 7:00pm

Church of God Center of Hope 9550 Crenshaw Blvd., Inglewood, CA 90305 (323) 757-1804 www.go2Hope.com Pastor Geremy L. Dixon Morning Worship: 8:00am & 11:00am Wed. Mid-Week Service: Noon Wed. Teaching Ministry: 7:00pm 1st Sunday Communion 5th Sunday Baptism

Faithful Central Bible Church 321 N. Eucalyptus Ave. Inglewood, CA 90301 (310) 330-8000 • F: (310) 330-8035 Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer, Ph.D. Senior Pastor/Teacher Services at The Tabernacle: Sunday Services: 7:00am, 9:30am & 11:45am Wed. Mid-Week Service: 7:00pm The Tabernacle is located at 321 N. Eucalyptus Ave., Inglewood www.faithfulcentral.com

Pastor Profile: Ken Walden Church: Holman United Methodist Church How Long at Church: One month Hometown: Brooklyn, New York Family: Wife Michelle of 19 years Education: Claremont School of Theology How challenging is it to take over a church in the middle of a pandemic? One of the many good things Holman has is the radio program. Every Sunday we’re on KJLH 102.3 at 11am which is a wonderful time and that gives us an opportunity to communicate not only with our congregation and official members, but also with the city. And Holman does have a solid Facebook and YouTube, so that’s been great. Rather than meeting many of the parishioners in traditional ways in person, I have definitely been in a lot of the meetings through Zoom and conference calls. When exactly did you take over? My first sermon was the first Sunday in August and rather than seeing people’s smiling faces and hearing their Amens in person, before or after the service, I can only read what they say on Facebook. And what has that been like? The people have been generous. They’ve communicated that they’ve loved the sermons, the worship…said it was an answered prayer. That’s been very affirming.

L.A. Focus/September 2020

What are your thoughts of L.A.? It’s nice. My wife and I first moved to California in 2005. I earned my PhD from Claremont School of Theology and when we lived here, I pastored at Wilshire United Methodist Church for a couple of years and then I pastored at the First United Methodist Church of Lakewood. In 2012, we moved back to the East Coast.


What did you think of Holman before coming? Holman historically h a s been–

and still is–a high steeple church within united methodism, but also Los Angeles is such a unique place when other states may have a larger number of African Americans, but they’ve not created a significant community in the ways in which Los Angeles has. When we look at Holman having a history of Rev. James Lawson as senior pastor for over 20 years, and then also a place that’s been really on the cutting edge of advocacy and social justice and that’s unique too because united methodism is a predominantly Caucasian denomination so for Holman to really blossom and grow within that faith tradition is significant. Why do you think you were chosen to lead the church? One would be my administrative skills. Holman has a lot of moving parts as it relates to not only the congregation, but it has a CDC, a few foundations, endowments, and nonprofits connected to the church. When you’re president of an educational institution, you have a lot of moving parts as well. Holman, in some ways, is set up like that. I think another reason is that I’m good at strategic planning and I probably get that piece from the military. In the military we tend to plan 5,10, 15 years out and then modifying steps as we go. You mentioned community–obviously Holman (with leaders like Rev. Lawson) has been very active in the community, do you plan to keep that tradition going? Absolutely, to build on a wonderful foundation and be active in the local, national and international community. Did you see it as a challenge to come into a competitive city like Los Angeles and take over a church like Holman? I wouldn’t say a challenge. I would say exciting. Los Angeles presents less challenges and more opportunities. Everything from the growing population and the diversity of the population. Then opportunities also exist with the intellectual capital Los Angeles has in the form of various colleges and universities around and then of course, with the entertainment industry right here. So, there’s many more opportunities than challenges and Holman is positioned strongly. Blacks are moving out of Los Angeles and particularly in your community where gentrification is an issue? Again, I think its more opportunities. My newest book… my third book that I wrote is entitled “Practical Theology for Church Diversity” so I do have experience in leading diverse churches. Holman’s membership has declined, what will you be doing to re-engage youth? Yes, Holman’s membership has declined over the years and that’s pretty much a reflection on most mainline denominations which are declining rapidly. We’ve got to strategize and engage the youth in a variety of ways including increasing our social media capability. Did you set up some objectives you wanted to be clear in

accomplishing? One goal is to make sure Holman is around for another 100 years. Is it in danger of not being around? Well, all across the country, churches are closing. That’s white, black, United Methodists, Baptists, Episcopalians, –no denomination is immune. No ethnicity is immune. No social or economic demographic is immune. I know congregations with a lot of money that are closing not because they didn’t have the money, but they didn’t have the people. And then sometimes you have the reverse. So, one of my top priorities is to make sure that Holman is around for another at least 100 years and that leads me to my second priority which is to make sure that we are healthy spiritually, financially and organizationally. What is the trait you have that will bring that to fruition? My optimism is one and also my ability to create strategic relationships. Did you know early on you were going to be a pastor? During my college years…when I was an undergrad, that’s when I knew. It was nothing spectacular, I just began to think about my life and the world and felt that I was going to pursue ministry, but I thought the form of ministry that I would be going into fulltime would be as a military chaplain. At that point I was in a military college and I still am–and have been–an Air Force chaplain in the reserves for about 18 years. What is most important for you to instill in people? Hope. What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome and what lesson did it teach you? When I was young, I would stutter a lot–it sounded like a combination of Daffy Duck and Porky Pig. So much so that a speech pathologist at the school convinced my parents that in addition to coming and getting me out of class pretty much every other day, it would be in my best interest if she saw me during the summertime and holidays. My speech impediments were that bad that she thought I needed that repetition. I did that from kindergarten through sixth grade. Initially, I could not see or hear the improvement because I was too close to the frame to see the larger picture. That taught me a few things. Number one, therapy is a good thing. Two, most things take time. Three, if we keep going, we’re often closer than we think and we’re definitely closer than we were before. Is it ironic to you that you would grow up to do public speaking? It is. God works in mysterious ways. continued to page 23

From the Pulpit of: New Antioch Church of God in Christ “God Will Supply The Need’ –Philippians 4:14-19 e find ourselves in the book of Philippians where the Apostle Paul is speaking warmly and kindly to the Philippian church. The reason Paul is going out of his way to show love and express appreciation is because during his time of distress it was the Philippian that church reached out to him to help. Paul is telling them, "Because you remembered me, God is going to remember you. Because you didn't abandon me in my time of trouble," Paul, is literally telling them, "your reward is coming." And the reward is that God is going to supply all of your needs. Let me say that again, the Apostle Paul, when he used the word, all, literally decrees over their life that whatever needs they may be dealing with or you may face in your life, God is going to meet it. He tells them that "because of your commitment, God is not just going to bless a portion of your life or a few of your critical situations." Instead, Paul is letting them know that in every area lacking–in single every area where you divine need intervention– to “get ready because your God is on His way." A few of us have


no issue confessing and admitting that we've got some needs. I want to preach to those of you who have a need that is urgent. I'm talking to saints that have some issues going on in their body and need God to move now. They have family members in crisis and need God to work a miracle now. I'm talking to those of you that know if God doesn't show up and fix some things in your life, you're going to be in trouble. What I've come to tell you, if you're that person, is to get your shouting shoes. Get ready to give God a praise, because God sent me here to tell you that despite what it is, he's getting ready to supply your need. And if I can minister to just a few folks, I know that Satan has been talking to you, telling you that you're going to have to live forever with your current affliction. I've got some mothers who are wondering why in the world Satan has attacked the minds of their children and grandchildren who were raised up in Sunday school, but now they're saying Jesus is a white man's God. Seems like your prayers are not being answered. Well, God sent me to tell you that He's going to do it. I know it's been a long time, but he's going to touch your body. He's going to heal your family. Because you stayed faithful, He said, ‘I'm going to supply the need.’ What should be our mindset while we're waiting on the manifestation of what God is going to do? Well, what you need to understand is that right now is you ought to be walking by faith and not by sight. Our God is going to grant the request, whatever it may be, but you need to understand the reason why Paul was able to say that with so much conviction is because he had confidence in his with relationship God. P a u l says, "The reason I speak

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 90801 (562) 591-8778 •www.antiochlb.com Senior Pastor Wayne Chaney, Jr.

In Long Beach

Online Services Stream live: Sunday 10:00 am at antiochlb.com Give: text antiochib to 77977 Social Media: facebook.com/antiochlb instagram.com/antiochlb youtube.com/antiochlongbeach

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

on God's behalf is because I know him in the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his suffering. I can talk like this because He's my God– because I belong to Him and He belongs to me." What Paul was letting the Philippian church know is that because He and God were in relationship, he had the authority to ask God for whatever he wants. Here's the good news, as a child of God, you, like Paul, can ask Him for whatever you want. When my children were small, they asked for whatever they needed. And here's the thing, they didn't worry about how I was going to do it or the strings I was going to have to pull to get it done. They knew was that I was Daddy, and in their mind, Daddy could do anything. You've got to have that same child-like faith when it comes to God– the mentality that your Daddy in heaven can do anything. I don't know how or when He's going to do it, but because He's Daddy, you ought to have no doubt He's going to do it. Starting today, we speak by faith and call those things that be not as though they were. I dare you to do it this week. Got pain in your body? I dare you to speak by faith, I am healed. I dare you to lay hands on yourself and declare, in the name of Jesus, right now, I'm whole. Family's still not safe? I dare you to speak on your own family and say, ‘My family is free and delivered.’ I dare you to speak blessings over your own finances by faith. Can I talk about the righteousness of God? He's just too compassionate to leave you on your own, after you've been so committed to Him. I have found out that in these last days, God is looking for folks that will go back to believing him for the impossible. We like to talk about the old school saints– about how they don't understand and how they mix things up. But they had one thing right: they knew how to believe God. They understood that cancer was no match for God. They understood that dia-

betes has got to command God's authority. You need to understand that in this hour, God is looking for some saints like the woman with the issue of blood, whose stance was, 'If I could just touch the hem of His garment, I will be made whole.’ Finally, Paul was able to say what he said to the Philippian church because of the confidence he had in the resume of God. Well, Pastor, how can I believe that with all the turmoil and all the issues? Because we stand on the Word of God that declares, now, onto Him that is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all we ask. The writer asked the question, "Is there anything too hard for our God?" No, because God can do anything. It's been a long journey, but God sent me to tell you that He's still for his church. He’s still got you back. That's why this is the wrong time to slow down. After all your praying and believing, you've finally reached the place where God is letting you know that he's going to do what he said in the midst of a pandemic. Can I prophesy to some believing saints in the midst of a crisis? I see miracles are yet coming to your house and blessings coming your way, because you didn't get weary in the midst of turmoil. A virus don't change God's word. And the word says, "You're blessed in the city, you're blessed in the field. You're blessed, when you go out. You're blessed when you come in. You're blessed in the midst of COVID-19, in the midst of mass unemployment, in the midst of job cuts, in the midst of layoffs," because God told us in Psalms 91, "1,000 shall fall at that side, and 10,000 at your right hand, but none of these, but none of these shall come near thee." The word says, "Yay, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I don't have to fear because God has got my back." I know it's been a long time, but God is not a man that he should lie. Rev. Whether it Reginald whatever God takes two days or two years, Pope says will come to pass.

Christian’s Community Center of Los Angeles 3960 E. Gilman Street, Long Beach, CA 90815 (562) 597-3252 Senior Pastor Thom Washington Live Stream Sunday Service: 11:00am Wednesday Night Prayer: 6:00pm Sunday Bible Class: 9:30am Sunday Afternoon Services: 4:00pm (2nd & 4th Sunday) Wednesday Prayer: 6:00pm Bible Study Wednesday 7pm

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

Family of Faith Christian Center 345 E. Carson Street, Long Beach, CA 90807 (562) 595-1222 • F: (562) 595-1444

First United Methodist ChurchCompton 1025 S. Long Beach Blvd •Compton, CA 90221 (310)639-0775•F: (310) 639-1161

Sun. Worship Experience: 10:45am 3rd Sun. Healing & Anointing: 10:45am Wed. Bible Study: Noon & 6pm Mothers of Murdered Youth & Children Where all receive a little attention, affection and love.

Bishop Sherman A. Gordon, E.D. Min

Dr. Arnetha E. Inge, Pastor

Sunday School: 8:00 am Morning Worship: 9:00 am

Sunday School: 8:30am - 9:30am Sunday Morning Worship: 10:00-11:45am TONGAN Worship:1:00pm(2nd&3rd Sundays) Wed. Prayer & Bible Study: 7:30am & 6:30pm

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

Greater Emmanuel Temple 3740 E. Imperial Highway, Lynwood, CA 90262 (424) 296-0400 •www.greateremmanuel.org

In Lynwood

Pastor Nissan Stewart Sunday Morning Worship: 11:00am Wednesday Prayer: 6:30pm Mid-Week Refuel/Bible Study: 7:00pm (Wednesday) Follow us: @GETFamilyNow The Greater Emmanuel Temple App Available in App Store

Walking In The Spirit Ministries Double Tree (Sonoma Grill) 13111 Sycamore Drive, Norwalk CA 90650 (213) 248-6343 P.O Box 1597 Norwalk CA,90651 Tim & Leshia Brooks

In Norwalk

Morning Worship: 11:00am Services Held Every 2nd & 4th Sunday and Free Breakfast Is Served Bible Study: 8:30am (Every 5th Friday)

Morning Star Christian Church In Pasadena 980 Rio Grande Street, Pasadena, CA 91104 *Mailing Address: 1416 N. Mentor Ave. Pasadena, 91104 (626) 794-4875 • F: (626) 794-7815 Pastor W. Harrison Trotter and First Lady Ranza Trotter Sunday School: 8:30am Sunday Worship: 10:00am Bible Study Wednesday: 7:00pm Intercessory Prayer (Fourth Wed.): 7:00pm Christians Uniting To Make A Difference -Eph. :13 Greater Morning Star Missionary Baptist 1973 Seventeenth St., Santa Monica, CA 90404 (310) 450-1168 • Pastor Study:(310) 450-4880 (City by the Sea) Pastor Michael Larry, Jr. Senior Pastor Sunday School: 9:00am New Member Class: 9:45 - 10:15am Children Church.: 11:15am Wed: Mid-week Bible Worship: 7:00pm 1st Sunday Communion Trusting God to Transform the Creature, the Church and the Community, Romans 12:2

Arise Christian Center In Westchester 6949 La Tijera Blvd. Suite C,Westchester, CA,90045 (310)568-8445•F: (310) 568-8430 • Arisechristiancenter.com Pastor Ron Taylor Morning Worship: 9:00am & 11:15am Bible Study Wednesday: 7:00pm Intercessory Prayer Tuesday : 7:00pm Intercessory Prayer Sunday: 8am - 8:45am Thursday:11:30am-12:30pm

CD10 Council Race continued from page 6 Yoo also sees her opponent as another example of a politician using his office to advance his career rather than focus on the needs of the people, referring to RidleyThomas’ refusal to rule out making a mayoral run in 2022 if he were to get elected to represent CD10. “I am going to be focused on this job,” says Yoo. “I’m coming in to fix the problems of CD10, not to sit in CD10 and run for Mayor.” “She is attempting to say that because that’s what she thinks voters care about,” Ridley-Thomas says in response. “What voters care about is having someone who will work on their behalf effectively, like now– their needs are current. They also want someone who is worthy of being their councilmember, who knows how to do the job but is attractive enough to appeal to other audiences.” And as far Ridley Thomas is concerned, Yoo is simply not prepared to take on the job. “She is largely uninitiated with respect to the work that is required to be a city councilmember. In my encounters with her, her lack of knowledge of what a councilmember actually does is really shocking.” “She is someone who knows how to push against projects, but I don’t know what her record is-- because there is no record-- of how she pushes for projects,” he adds. “A council person has to lean in to make things happen.” The voters of CD10 will have the last word on who that will be.

L.A. Focus/September 2020

Pastor continued from page 22 pandemic started, going from five million per day to closer to three million. “Postal workers and mail handlers were confident they could handle increased election mail, but they urged voters to return their ballots early to lessen mail volume spikes around Election Day,” Padilla reported. In the meantime, there are steps voters can take to make sure the process goes smoothly, starting with checking their voter status, according to Hector Sanchez, Deputy Political Director for the South L.A.based activist group, Community Coalition. “It’s important to check your voter registration status online, to make sure that you are still registered at your correct address and haven’t been purged from the voting rolls, and that your status is still active,” says Sanchez. Only those voters with an “active” registered status will be sent a ballot, so if you’ve missed an election or


People Files: NBA Superstar LeBron James Launches Effort to Recruit Poll Workers “Change,” tweeted LeBron James, “is not sitting on the sidelines.” And so NBA star LeBron James is launching a multimillion-dollar effort to recruit poll workers in Black electoral districts ahead of this year’s presidential election. His voting rights organization, More Than a Vote, will spearhead the campaign. Created to address the systemic racism that led to the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd at the hands of police, the organization is working to fight systemic, racist voter suppression. “We are driven by a shared understanding that our influence and prominence, particularly among young people, is a responsibility to continue the tradition of Black athletes working together to fight for justice and equality.” The group, which consists of James, other star athletes, state election officials and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF), is partnering to recruit young activists to work at polling locations for November's general election across southern and battleground states of Georgia, Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Texas, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Mississippi, Michigan, Alabama and South Carolina. “There are a lot of people who grew up in the inner city who are afraid to vote,” James stated. “We're giving everyone the tools, outlets.” Election officials around the country have reported a shortage of poll workers to staff in-person voting sites due to the coronavirus pandemic. James is among several athletes who participated in an NBA boycott after the shooting of Jacob Blake. As a result of the subsequent talks with team owners, the Staples Center will serve as a voting location in the November 3 election. James’ More Than a Vote is also working with sports


two, your registration may be changed to ‘inactive’ and election related mail will not be sent to you. The next step is to fill out your ballot when you receive it and send it in early. “Whether you are voting by mail, or voting in person, I encourage you to vote early,” says Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn. “You also have the option of dropping off your ballot at one of the 300 secure drop boxes that will be placed across the County or at a Vote Center.” The inclusion of secure voting drop boxes is a new edition to this years’ election cycle. With the boxes–made available 30 days before the election– voters can avoid using the post office all together if they so choose. Instead, they just place their completed ballot cards inside the Official Return Envelope, seal, sign and date the back. Look for locations of the drop boxes to be announced in the coming weeks. Ballots can still be turned in to any voting location or placed in the regular mail free of postage. Once you’ve turned in your vote-by-mail ballot, California counties are required to offer ballot tracking service via BallotTrax. Once you sign up for BallotTrax online you can track your ballot from getting picked up to being counted. For those who prefer to vote in person, voting stations will be open and available for 11 days prior to election day throughout the county. Voters are encouraged to look up their nearest polling location online and take advantage of the early voting period to avoid some of the long lines that plagued voters in March when L.A. County rolled out its new electronic voting system. While this election cycle may look different than ever before, one thing will remain the same, the voices of the those who decide to vote will be heard. Larry Elder continued from page 7 never shy about pointing out racism against Blacks, went social media silent on this issue. We would likely obtain a greater benefit with a vaccine against white guilt, a paternalism that leads to counterproductive policies. These policies include the welfare state that encourages the nonformation of a nuclear family; the minimum wage that reduces jobs and hours for unskilled American workers; race-based preferences that create college-student mismatches that increase the dropout rate of the supposed beneficiaries of the racial preference; and refusal of Democrats to support school choice, something that Black urban parents want but white Democrats do not.

teams to turn stadiums and arenas into polling locations. The initiative’s strategy for recruitment will involve a paid advertising campaign and a corporate partnership program that will encourage employees to volunteer as poll workers. “Bringing together the cultural influence of the (More Than a Vote) athletes and artists with LDF's resources and long-standing community engagement, the campaign will seek to connect the spirit of the Black Lives Matter protest to the responsibility of young people to step up and fight voter suppression across the United States,” said Byrd-Chichester, the director of LDF's Thurgood Marshall Institute. Those interested in partnering in this effort can volunteer to be poll workers on Election Day. For more information and or to sign up, visit www.powerthepolls.org. Larry Elder is a bestselling author and nationally syndicated radio talk show host. His latest book, "The New Trump Standard," is available in paperback. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com. Eye on Gospel continued from page 7 Michael Underwood. Briefly, Grammy® Award winning R&B singer, producer and keyboardist for Maroon 5–P.J. Morton — has come full-circle with his first-ever spiritually-themed album, "Gospel According to PJ" (Morton Inspiration/ Tyscot) — featuring a who’s who in the genre, including Kirk Franklin, the Clark Sisters, Yolanda Adams, Brian Courtney Wilson, Zacardi Cortez and Kim Burrell. Recorded this summer at the height of the national quarantine, the thirteen-track set released to all digital service platforms globally on August 28th….Finally, after opening up for the likes of John P. Kee and Dorinda Clark-Cole, last month Stephanie Summers found herself on center stage having been crowned the season ten winner of BET’s “Sunday Best”, the nation’s top gospel singing competition. Along with the title of “Sunday Best”, Summers will a recording contract with RCA Inspiration, a cash prize of $50,000, an opportunity to be a featured performer on the McDonald's Inspiration Gospel Tour. With the win, the Colorado Springs resident and mother of six–who was a short period homeless– proves that it’s never too late to follow your dreams.

Sunday’s Best Winner Stephanie Summers

InGoodTaste d Cornbread



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Dulan's Soul Food Kitchen 202 E. Manchester Blvd Inglewood, CA 90301 310-671-3345 WWW.DULANS-SFK.COM @DULANS-SFK

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to 325 degrees. Preheat oven e t butter. Remov iron pans. Mel st ca ilk e m rg er la tt 2 bu y Spra ombine stir in sugar. C from heat and eggs and beat d ad ly ck da. Qui butter with baking so ith w ded. Combine and , until well blen ur flo l, in cornmea and sugar. Stir w fe d an blended salt until well Pour batter n. ai m re lumps ed pans. into the prepar eated eh pr Bake in the min40 to 30 oven for utes.

Dulan's On Crenshaw 4859 Crenshaw Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90043 323-296-3034 DULANSONCRENSHAW.COM @DULANSCRENSHAW

Hotville Chicken 4070 Marlton Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90008 323-792-4835 www.Hotvillechicken.com @hotvillechicken

Through the Storm TANU HENRY

California Black Media


L.A. Focus/September2020

hrough all the the of chaos COVID-19 crisis, Raquel Wendy Robinson says she has managed to hold it all together. The actress, known for her roles in several films and television shows, says she has several reasons to be grateful, too. Among them is the return of “The Game.” On Aug. 15 Netflix began streaming the popular comedy-drama, which debuted in 2006 and aired on the CW until 2009. In 2011, BET began developing and airing the show until its series finale in 2015. Robinson played Tasha Mack in the series, the confident, funny and frank mother of the show’s star Malik Wright, who actor Hosea Chancez played. “I’m thankful for so much -- so much to appreciate even in the midst of this pandemic,” she told California Black Media. Robinson, who lives in Southern California, says she understands how unexpected events can upend your entire life. In 2007, she lost everything in a tragic fire that engulfed her Pasadena home and burned it down to ground. “I get home. I’m met by the Red Cross, fire trucks. It was a power outage. After the power came back, it sent an electric surge to my house and two other houses. That ignited the fire that burned our houses,” she remembers that painful experience. Even more distressing than the destruction, Robinson says is what she had to go through during the aftermath. A swarm of insensitive adjusters showed up at the scene of the disaster, scrambling to put in bids to help her with her claim. She called the police. The city of Pasadena also did not take responsibility for the fire and, although it took her three years to rebuild, she was only insured for one year. Also, Robinson says she only received an insurance payment that equaled one third of the value of the property she lost. “It destroyed so many things I cherished. It uprooted my entire life. I lost my dog and I lost her car. Photos. Archival items from my career. Some of those things you cannot replace,” she said. Robinson says that’s why having a plan for when disaster strikes is a good start. “We have to make sure all of us – and everyone we love – are prepared for emergencies,” she said. That’s why Robinson has lent her image, voice and likeness to a statewide emergency preparedness awareness campaign called Listos, which means ready in Spanish. “Emergency preparedness is not government’s responsibility alone. Solutions can’t be top-down — they have to come from the bottom up,” said Gov. Newsom Aug. 20 when he announced the state’s $5lion investment in the campaign. “We need more focus on building resiliency within California’s most vulnerable communities for the destructive and deadly wildfires ahead,” the governor continued. “We’re empowering non-profit organizations and emergency responders to work together to prepare for emergencies because California is at its best when we look out for each other.” An ad featuring Robinson has been published in African American-owned newspapers across the state and she has recorded public service announcements for radio stations


It destroyed so many things I cherished. It uprooted my entire life. I lost my dog and I lost her car. Photos. Archival items from my career. Some of those things you cannot replace...We have to make sure all of us — and everyone we love — are prepared for emergencies...I realize that taking steps to prepare for a disaster, natural or otherwise, that might happen to you - and, yes, it does traumatize you -is not only smart. It is necessary.

serving Black listeners in the Los Angeles area, where the largest number of Blacks in California live. Robinson’s voice and likeness will also appear in an animated video that will be published on internet and social media platforms targeting African Americans around the state. “It can be devastating,” said Robinson who has won NAACP Image Awards 11 times for her acting roles. Robinson, who was born Los in Angeles and her earned bachelor’s

degree at Howard University in Washington, D.C., has taken on several television and film roles, including One of her most well-known characters is Regina “Piggy” Brier, the principal of the fictional Booker T. Washington High School on the WB sitcom “The Steve Harvey Show.” Among her upwards of 70 credits are “Grand Hotel”, “Two Can Play That Game” opposite Morris Chestnut, Vivica A. Fox and Monique, “Miss Congeniality” starring Sandra Bullock, “A Thin Line Between Love and Hate”, “Ringmaster”, “The Walking Dead” and opposite Martin Lawrence in “Rebound”. But it is offscreen with her with her Amazing Grace Conservatory that her passion for acting is best showcased. It is through that nonprofit, a highly regarded theatrical training institute in South Los Angeles she founded in 1996, that her dedication to the craft is so aptly reflected in the self-esteem through self-expression she is equipping her students (aged 8-18) with to succeed not only on stage, but in life. The success of the school is perhaps best showcased in it most accomplished alumni of students that include Aldis Hodge, Lauren London, Elle Varner and Issa Rae. “It’s my passion piece. I feel like I’m definitely wanted in my purpose,” Robinson explained. “We teach singing, acting, and dancing, but beyond that we teach provide mentoring, role models, the life skills and the confidence to compete effectively.” “I’m so proud of the work we do,” said Robinson. “It’s just been something that I’ve always loved doing.” And the mentoring doesn’t stop at age 18. Robinson helps her students succeed beyond the high school years. Realizing the socioeconomic disadvantages that face African-American and Hispanic children, she sees the need to cultivate, nurture and bring the arts back to the community. “We give them the platform to freely express themselves. We’re always telling kids, ‘No, don’t do this. You can’t do this.’ But when do we give them the outlet and the resource to thrive, they excel? It’s something that’s so dear to my heart.” Along with creative skills are those common sense precepts that reflect basic life lessons not just for Robinson, but everyone. “I realize that taking steps to prepare for a disaster, natural or otherwise, that might happen to you -- and, yes, it does traumatize you -- is not only smart. It is necessary.” Listos provides 5 steps to help Californians prepare for emergencies. They are: make a plan; pack a go-bag with things you need; build a “stay box” for when you can’t leave; help friends and neighbors get ready.” Besides the media public awareness campaign, some community-based organizations will lead efforts to reach out to African Americans centered in three disaster-prone areas of the state where Californians with some of the lowest average household incomes live: Alameda, San Francisco and San Bernardino counties. The communitybased partner organizations are: Building Resilient Communities (San Bernardino County); Community Health Action Network (San Bernardino County); the French American Church for the New Covenant (Alameda County); Ivoire Alliance (Alameda County); and Mother Brown’s Kitchen (San Francisco). Last week, Gov. Newsom also announced the appointment of Karen Baker, 57, as his Senior Advisor for Disaster Volunteering and Preparedness at the Office of Emergency Services. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger first appointed her to become the country’s first Secretary of Service and Volunteering in 2008. “We know that people who are socially isolated or live in poverty, have language barriers, or other access or functional needs challenges, need to be the top priority for preparedness campaigns,” Baker said. “Taking care of each other, showing courage when it matters most, is what we do in California.”

Profile for LA Focus Newspaper

L.A. Focus Newspaper September 2020  

L.A. Focus Newspaper September 2020