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>> Family Survivor Recalls Tragic Algiers Motel Story Retold in Kathryn Bigelow’s “Detroit”

You’ve seen her on the screen in Tyler Perry movies, and on shows such as Empire and For Better or For Worse, but actress Tasha Smith, is now getting behind the camera. Smith will be making her directorial debut this August with the TV One original movie, When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story....






L.A. Focus Publication

Left: Bebe Winans, Mark Ridley Thomas and Marvin Winans as they attend the musical Born For This at The Eli and Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica. Middle: Christmas in July with Senator Holly J. Mitchell, where she presented 150 laptops and scooters to nominated children. Right: 10th Council District Women’s Steering Committee Membership Luncheon Sharlene Mosley, Pamela Swearingen, Emily Wang, Dr. Jeffery, Ana Guerrero, and Jackie Nunn

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Commentary Skin Color: An Unjust Determinant of Fate From The Editor Facts of Life Upfront

Court Blocks Sheriff from Sharing the Names Of Problematic Deputies • Justice Department Reportedly Going After Affirmative Action Programs Former Compton Mayor Could See More Jail Time



Money Matters The State of Black Businesses

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Daymond John Heads Tap the Future Tour Discovery pays $14.6B for Scripps “Female Friendly” Will Packer Signs Deal with OWN Network

On The Money It Pays To Be In Politics

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Idris Elba

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Pastor Wendy Howlett

Family Survivor Recalls Tragic Algiers Motel Story Retold in Kathryn Bigelow’s “Detroit”

Kasandra Kimberly

Dondre T.Whitfield

Verity is Born Again Jekalyn Carr’s Winning Season

Rev. Melvin V. Wade Set To Retire in September L.A. Church Community Mourns Passing Of Bishop Dr. Charles Queen

Kierra Sheard will in town later this month as City of Refuge teams with Gerald and Tammi Haddon for host it’s G.I.G. Music Conference, kicking off on August 31.

20 First Lady Files 21 Pastor Profile Pastor Nathan Haley Sr.

Miranda Lewis New Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church

advisory board Napoleon Brandford Pastor Beverly Crawford Marc T. Little

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honorary advisors West Angeles C.O.G.I.C. Bishop Charles Blake City of Refuge Bishop Noel Jones Paradise Baptist Church Dr. Aaron D. Iverson Southern Saint Paul Rev. Xavier L. Thompson F. A.M.E. Church Dr. Cecil Murray Faithful Central Bible Church Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer Mt. Moriah Baptist Church Rev. Melvin Wade Mt. Zion MBC Rev. E.V. Hill II Copyright, January 1995 by L.A. Focus: Unsolicited manuscripts/photographs are not accepted, nor shall any responsibility for them be assumed.


22 23Through The Storm In Good Taste 25 26 Saving Grace From The Pulpit Blessed Family Covenant Church

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Natasha Minsker

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Skin Color: An Unjust Determinant of Fate onsider this: over five million American children have had a parent incarcerated at some point during their childhood, including 503,000 children here in California. Overreliance on incarceration is tearing families apart and wreaking havoc on our communities, disproportionately affecting people of color. While California has begun to make significant strides to address this problem and alleviate the toll it has taken on families throughout the state, there is much more we must do to ensure that California’s justice system is fair and equitable. Nowhere is that more apparent than with California’s unjust money bail system and sentencing enhancement schemes. Every year, California’s money bail system keeps thousands of people in jail before they get their day in court – all because they cannot afford to post bail and buy their freedom. Basing people’s freedom on their wealth – not public safety – denies people equal access to justice and fails to protect communities. Unable to afford money bail, many people stay in jail for weeks, months, and sometimes years while their case moves forward, or plead guilty to a crime they may not have committed. Some people pool their limited resources to pay a for-profit bail bonds company a non-refundable 10% fee based on their total bail amount, a fee they do not get back even if their case is dismissed or they are found innocent. Meanwhile, wealthy people buy their freedom, even if they pose an actual safety risk to the community. Because Black and Latino people are more likely than white people to be stuck in jail while their case moves forward, money bail fuels already egregious racial disparities in the justice system. In fact, research shows that Black men are assigned bail amounts that are 35% higher than amounts for white men accused of similar offenses. Research also shows that when people are jailed while their case moves forward, they run a higher risk of being convicted, taking a plea deal, and receiving harsher sentences. With this in mind, it is easy to see how people of color are more likely to be ensnared in money bail’s mass incarceration trap. It is time to put an end to this. What we need are individualized assessments of each person’s case to make sure that no one is in jail simply because they cannot afford to post bail and buy their freedom. In other states, judges make individualized assessments in each case, ensuring


From the Editor

that people are detained only based on public safety concerns not the size of their bank account. SB 10 will make that happen in California and ensure that people have equal access to justice and freedom. Similarly, it is time for California to revise its excessive sentencing enhancements which stack decades of prison time on top of the sentence imposed for the underlying crime. We should start with our mandatory gun enhancement law which bar judges from taking into account someone’s individual case and circumstances during sentencing. For most other sentence enhancements, judges can decide whether to apply or not apply the enhancement when it’s fair and just to do so, based on the circumstances of the case before them. But with the 10-20life gun enhancement, California law expressly forbids judges from exercising any discretion to consider the facts of the case forcing them to impose the enhancement even when they think it’s not fair or right. These mandatory extreme enhancements do not make Californians safer and disparately affect people of color. Although originally created to deter gun crime, years later there is still no evidence to show that enhancements have done that. Instead, research has shown that enhancements like these have fueled prison overcrowding and our skyrocketing rates of incarceration — without reducing gun-related crimes. Research also shows that prosecutors are more likely to charge people of color with mandatory sentence enhancements than they are whites, even for the same crime. Like with money bail and pretrial detention, prosecutors leverage the threat of enhancements to extract guilty pleas from people who are eager to return to their families, jobs, and homes, including innocent people. Together, California’s money bail system and excessive sentencing enhancements have compromised the integrity of our justice system and perpetuated the state’s mass incarceration crisis. SB 10 and SB 620 can help right these wrongs. We ask Assemblymember Gipson to act in the name of fairness and equity, and vote YES on both bills. Natasha Minsker is the Director of the ACLU of California’s Center for Advocacy & Policy.


“Facts of Life ”


dining (being a lover of great food) and more upscale retail. More, that I have to drive to other areas in the city for a night out. On the other hand, while I’m honest enough to say that I’m happy to see the value of my home tripled (to the point where I could not even buy it today), I understand all too well the affordable housing crisis our city faces and what it means for young professionals who are priced out of the housing—and often rental—markets. Two years ago, I accompanied my niece to Playa Vista in search for an apartment and was floored that they were asking $2,700 for a one bedroom—perhaps even a studio. I grew up in Leimert Park and View Park—attending Audubon Middle School, Dorsey and eventually graduating from Crenshaw High—I love what the area represents and how it has become a cultural enclave for the black community. My mom still lives in Leimert Park. But truth be told when my parents moved into the neighborhood, it was Jewish. Fact is, shifting demographics have drastically altered the face and make up of Los Angeles over the past decades, and not just in the Crenshaw area where black culture is celebrated in the shops that line Crenshaw and Leimert’s Degnan Boulevard, but in urban areas across the nation as people who left the community for new developments in the suburbs tired of the commutes that rob them of their precious time, particularly time with their families. The question is what can be done? Is it realistic to believe that blacks can maintain a portion of the city all to themselves without fear of reprisal from those who’d claim discriminatory practices? Is it possible for black groups to ban together as some have in other areas of the country and buy out available real estate inventory to hold their ground? Check out our feature story starting on page ten. In the meantime, stay tuned to the new season of “The Apprentice” live from the White House where each week it seems, someone is fired. Keep the faith.

L.A. Focus/August 2017

hen last month, our movie reviewer, Neily Dickerson was invited to an advance screening of the film, Detroit, she was shaken. So much so that she had to walk out of the theater during one of the film’s more violent scenes. I didn’t understand why until I saw the film. It is, to be sure, a hard movie to watch, but necessary, particularly as a point of reference for those who haven’t known life before the digital cell phone takeover that forever altered the course of our lives. Sure, there are those who say not much has changed. But Detroit tells us different. It speaks to a police department out of control. One that in cities across the nation for generations, before the cell phone, black men—who were frequently tormented— had to deal with. That is the value of a Detroit—to sensitize viewers to the history of police abuse and blacks in the U.S. at the very root. Not to take anything away from the horrors suffered by the families of those like Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray and Walter Scott. But for forty long minutes this film painfully documented the helplessness of countless black men who’ve suffered at the hands of police without recourse and certainly without justice. It is hard to watch and not walk out angry, and while part of me feared the anger it might stir in others toward the police, I am hopeful that it will have a positive impact on police officers around the country who are being encouraged to see the movie. For as hard as it is to watch, it is even harder to believe that anyone could come out of that movie without a greater sensitivity to the plight of black men in America where police are concerned. And while “Girl’s Trip” was all that and a bag of chips, everyone should trip on out to the movies and support a film that soberly reflects the why behind the rise of movements like “black lives matter”. I had the chance to speak with the sister of one of those young black men who were killed on that fateful night. Thelma Pollard-Gardner remembers as if it were yesterday the day her brother set out for the Algier’s Motel. It was the last time she would see him alive. Check out her story on page 23. Turning to our lead story, on the looming battle over the Crenshaw Redevelopment, I am left with mixed feelings. For years, I have bemoaned the fact that there is a lack of services in the black community, particularly quality sit-down



News Briefs

Court Blocks Sheriff from Sharing Names Of Problem Deputies petition with more than 12,000 signatures was created by two L..A.-based community organizations and submitted to the Los Angeles Superior Court in support of allowing County Sheriff, Jim McDonnell to release the personnel records of 300 problematic deputies. In October 2016, the Sheriff’s department warned 300 deputies that their personnel files contained evidence of “moral turpitude”. The list included 11 types of misconduct such as bribes, immoral conduct, tampering with evidence, false statements, family violence, failure to make statements during internal investigations, unreasonable force, obstructing an investigation, discriminatory harassment and false information in records. McDonnell sent a letter to every deputy on the list stating he intended to give their names to the district attorney to fulfill his obligations under the Brady rule, a doctrine established in 1963, requiring prosecutors hand over any evidence that could raise doubts about a defendant’s guilt to a defense attorney. This includes any evidence a police officer or sheriff’s deputy may not be trustworthy, failure to disclose such evidence can result in wrongful convictions. McDonnell wanted to provide prosecutors with the list of the deputies, but the court blocked its release. On a quest for justice, Dignity and Power Now, an organization fighting for the dignity of incarcerated people, their families and communities, joined forces with The Coalition to End Sheriff Violence In L.A. Jails to submit a petition to the court urging them to allow McDonnell to release the records. Dignity and Power Now founder, Patrisse Cullors stated; “The systematic violence and misconduct committed by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department have deeply impacted marginalized communities, causing harm and trauma for many families and their loved


Justice Department Reportedly Going After Affirmative Action Programs

roponents of affirmative action may have another battle on their hands with the New York Times reporting the Trump administration will utilize the Justice Department to investigate—and possibly even litigate against—intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions against whites. The New York Times obtained the story from an internal DOJ job announcement seeking lawyers interested in a project on investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions. News of the investigation is fueling controversy and the ire of civil rights groups as well as former Obama education officials, all of whom have condemned the action. However in a daily press briefing White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied the report calling it an accusatory question, she responded, “The New York Times article is based entirely on uncorroborated inferences from a leaked internal personnel posting in violation of Department of Justice policy and while the White House does not confirm or deny the existence of potential investigations the Department L.A. Focus/August 2017



ones. There is a long legacy of police violence against vulnerable communities and officers who act irresponsibly are rarely held accountable or prosecuted for their misconduct. Sheriff Jim McDonnell has a constitutional right to provide relevant information about deputies to the prosecutors’ office.” The appeals court is siding with the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, the union representing 7,600 rdeputies. Mark-Anthony Johnson, director of health and wellness at Dignity and Power Now stated; “The police union believes in protecting their own. They believe releasing the list would be a violation of their privacy and it could stain the record of their deputies and question their credibility forever. They protect their deputies at any cost.” The union has even taken the Sheriff’s department to court, arguing the disclosure of the list would violate state laws protecting officer personnel files and draw unfair scrutiny on deputies whose mistakes may have happened long ago, and would violate California’s Peace Officer Bill of Rights. The appeals court agreed. “In order to access an officer’s information, the district attorney would have to file a Pitchess motion,” says Johnson. “In California, we have some of the strictest laws that protect law enforcement records. If you ever feel like your rights have been violated and you have concern about the history of an officer, the only way you can access that history is through a formal court proceeding during a case—in which you have to submit what is called a Pitchess motion. You then have to appeal to a judge, the judge has to approve it, and if approved you are allowed to see the officer’s records.” “These Sheriffs are willing to lie, cheat, steal, bribe, blackmail and force their way into doing what they want to do

of Justice will always review credible allegations of discrimination on the basis of any race.” According to the New York Times, the new effort could be used to sue universities over admissions that allegedly go too far and discriminate against white and Asian applicants. Civil rights activists believe the move is specifically intended to target college admission programs that give an edge to Blacks and Latinos over applicants with similar academic records during the admission process. Senator Kamala Harris called it “yet another attempt by this administration to roll back progress and divide us. Make no mistake, diversity in education makes everyone smarter. It’s a strength not a weakness.” In a statement issued by the Congressional Black Caucus, CBC Chair, Congressman Cedric L. Richmond, said, “Attorney General Sessions continues to show us again and again who he is and what he is about. “The New York Times report that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is planning to use taxpayer funds to expand its current assault on communities of color is more proof that our concerns were well founded. In fact, with each passing day of Justice continued to page 24

JAZMIN YOUNG Contributor

at the expense of our people. At the minimum we should be able to challenge their credibility in a legal proceeding,” said Johnson. If the court should allow McDonnell to submit the list to the district attorney’s office, what does that mean for the 300 deputies exactly? While the names of the officers aren’t intended to be released to the public, their presence on a list kept by prosecutors means they could have their disciplinary files scrutinized by a judge, and have their police work questioned during a court proceeding. In response to the court blocking the release of the list, Dignity and Power Now, launched, a website in which the public can report any violence they’ve seen or experienced from a member of the sheriff’s department. “We decided to make our own list with data collected from news sources, public records and the survivors of sheriff violence,” explained Black Lives Matter cofounder Patrisse Cullors. “This website is designed to give the public insight into who the deputies who are harming their communities are. Bottom line—somebody has to do it. The Civilian Oversight Commission isn’t doing it and the courts aren’t doing it.”

Increased Risk of Breast Cancer Tied To Hair Products Calculating the real cost of beauty just got a little harder with a new study finding an increased risk of breast cancer for those who dye and perm their hair. Over 4,000 black and white women—with and without breast cancer—aged 20 to 75, participated in the study conducted by researchers at Rutgers University, to explore the link between certain hair products and breast cancer. The study not only took into consideration such risk factors as family, lifestyle and personal health issues, but also the use of chemical relaxers, hair dyes and conditioners contained cholesterol and placenta.What they found was that dark and black hair dyes were linked to a 51 percent increased risk of breast cancer among black women and a 72 percent increased risk of estrogen receptor positive breast cancer. The current findings provide data to support the hypothesis that exposure to lye (and exposure to other potentially harmful compounds found in relaxers and other hair products) could be important environmental risk exposures associated with carcinogenesis of the mammary gland—an important risk factor, particularly among black women. Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death among women.

Derrick Johnson Named NAACP President Derrick Johnson, former vice chairman of the NAACP board of directors has been appointed interim president of NAACP. The decision came after the NAACP board relieved Cornell William Brooks of his duties. “I could not think of a better, more battletested or more qualified individual to guide the NAACP through this transition period,” said Leon Russell, chairman of NAACP board. Johnson’s seniority with the association will allow him to make executive decisions and deal with daily challenges as they arise. “He will also serve as the primary spokesman for the NAACP. I have every confidence in Derrick and will support him in this new endeavor every step of the way,” Russell added.

Los Angeles to Host 2028 Olympics Games After reaching an agreement with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Los Angeles officials announced that Los Angeles will be the host of the 2028 Summer Olympic games. The decision will bring hundreds of millions in savings and additional revenues to the city. According to L.A. bid chairman, Casey Wasserman, it was no easy task but IOC officials displayed great willingness to be thoughtful and creative. And while the cost of staging the games has been pegged at $5.3 billion, the L.A. bid committee predicted that all expenses would be covered through sponsorships and ticket sales. “I can look people in the eye and say this is a much stronger deal financially,” said L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti. IOC representatives are expected to make an official statement later this month with further details.

Former Compton Mayor Could See More Jail Time Omar Bradley, who lost his bid for Mayor in June to incumbent Mayor Aja Brown, was convicted of corruption charges late last month, and could face jail time. Bradley, who was found guilty of using $4000 - 7500 in taxpayer funds for his own personal expenses, had nothing to say after the jury returned guilty verdicts on two felony counts of misappropriating public funds. The jury deliberated for less than a day before delivering its verdict. Bradley was first convicted in 2004 and spent three years in state prison and subsequently a halfway house before an appeals court overturned his conviction in 2012. In what was his second trial in the case, the 59-year old former Compton Mayor was charged with misappropriating public funds when he used a city credit card and cash advances for travel. Bradley’s attorney had argued that Bradley believe the expenditures to be legal because they were for city business — for clothing, golf fees and hotel rooms, to “look the part”, while prosecutors countered that Bradley knew that they unrelated to city business. The Compton native, who admitted to having made mistakes in the past, served as mayor from 1993 until 2001. Sentencing has been set for Aug. 30. With the convitction comes a lifetime ban on Bradley from holding public office.

Democrats: Party Without A Message?


just had to laugh at this story, and Change” and “Forward” as it depicts the desperation of Here It Is Folks...The — the latter being a theme the progressive socialists of the Perfect New Slogan used by Marxists. Then For The Democrats there was the inane “I’m Democrat Party. As reported by Fox News, “Democrats, with her” theme of the Hillary Clinton camafter lengthy deliberations, reportedly have paign…nothing about America, nothing settled on a new slogan – and it’s not exact- about the common American. ly getting rave reviews. The modern-day Democrat Party is The winner, according to Vox, is: “A being reflected by the violence, coercion, Better Deal: Better Skills, Better Jobs, intimidation, and chicanery of these disconBetter Wages.” But considering the party certing street movements and protests — has been scrambling to regroup with an Black Lives Matter effective message and strategy since its and Antifa come to November thumping – all toward the goal mind. It’s also a party of retaking at least one chamber of defined by specific Congress next year – Obama-era communi- geographical regions, cations pros greeted the slogan with a col- mainly the coasts, lective face palm. major cities, and “If your slogan uses a colon or a comma, specifically states back to the drawing board,” tweeted Jon such as California and Favreau, former speechwriter for then- New York. Allen West President Barack Obama. “Fire every conAmerica went sultant involved,” added Jon Lovett, a for- through eight years of a “better deal” and mer speechwriter for Obama and Hillary saw it was a bad deal under the failing poliClinton.” cies of Barack Obama. For Senator And here’s what Senate Minority Schumer and the Democrats to believe they Leader, Senator Chuck Schumer, said in a can just come up with a new slogan is disNew York Times op-ed, entitled “A Better respectful to the American people, and Deal for American Workers,” on the indicative of a party with no message. rebranding of the Democrat Party:“ Right now, I think the perfect slogan for Americans believe they’re getting a raw the Democrats should be “We Lie Better.” deal from both the economic and political Ask yourself, in the aftermath of the systems in our country. And they are right. November election, what has the party of The wealthiest special interests can spend the jackass stood for? Two words: Russia an unlimited, undisclosed amount of money and resistance. Now, can Senator Schumer to influence elections and protect their spe- explain to me how any of that is supposed cial deals in Washington. As a result, our to help, and be a better deal for American system favors short-term gains for share- workers? Barack Obama was the perfect holders instead of long-term benefits for progressive socialist candidate, he was all workers. And for far too long, government smoke and mirrors, a brilliant cult of perhas gone along, tilting the economic play- sonality that was able to sell emptiness and ing field in favor of the wealthy and power- deliver socialist policies. And when you ful while putting new burdens on the backs consider Obama and Bill Clinton — both of hard-working Americans.” incredible personas and masterful and This guy is delusional and representa- articulate speakers, but morally deficient. tive of the moral bankruptcy affecting the They were both incredible manipulators Democrat Party. First of all, the biggest and aided by a complicit liberal progressive special interests in this country are aligned media, they were both unstoppable juggerwith the liberal progressive socialist agen- nauts. Bill Clinton was a skillful politician da, the media, entertainment and academ- who was able to shift his policies to work ic elites, unions, trial lawyers, and cultural with GOP majorities on Capitol Hill to his elites. These are the same folks who deride benefit. Barack Obama was an intransiand denigrate the everyday working gent ideologue bound by his socialist ideoAmericans. These are the folks who were logical agenda and now the left is suffering. called deplorable and demeaned for clingThe Democrat Party isn’t believable. It’s ing to their “guns and religion.” replete with hypocrites and liars — not Now, for the umpteenth time, we’re sup- hearing too much about Rep. Wassermanposed to fall for the lame bovine excrement Schultz’s busted up hard drive found in the that the Democrats actually care? Not home of the IT specialist under investigaagain, America fell for the empty rhetoric tion, are ya? Russian collusion, hmm, what and slogans of one Barack Obama, “Hope Allen West continued to page 22

Headlines From Africa Burundi: As tensions cast doubt on peace talks to end the country’s two-year political conflict between the government and opposition alliance, Beyonce partners with UNICEF to bring to bring safe, clean water to children in Burundi. The multi-year partnership will help build wells and improve water and sanitation facilities in schools. Central African Republic: As many as 100 people were feared dead and dozens more being treated for shotgun wounds after fighting erupted in Bria, a town northeast of the nation’s capital. The country, one of the poorest in the world, has been plagued by conflict since 2013 between the mainly Muslim Seleka rebels and the Christian Anti-Balaka militia that started after the overthrow of leader Francois Bozize. Eritrea: The African Union has urged Djibouti and Eritrea to show "restraint" as tensions over a disputed border territory intensified and threatened to revive a longstanding and at times violent dispute. Djibouti accused Eritrean soldiers of occupying territory in the contested Doumeira region following the departure of Qatari peacekeepers from the location last month.

Mali: Thousands of Malians protested a planned referendum on constitutional changes that would give extra powers to President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, create new regions and recognize the Tuareg's ethnic homeland. The government of Mali has since delayed the vote that would enable the president to nominate a quarter of the Senate and remove the prime minister at will, but intends to follow through with it later this year. Nigeria: To allay fears centering on the health of President Muhammadu Buhari, who has seeking medical care in London since


A look at current news from the continent of Africa May and growing rumors of his death, the government released a photo of the president having lunch with senior member of his ruling party in London. Rwanda: Two of the three presidential aspirants, incumbent President Paul Kagame and opposition candidate Frank Habineza have pulled out of Rwanda’s first presidential debate. Elections are slated for the first week of August. At stake is leadership of a nation believed by many to be one of Africa’s rising economic powerhouses. Senegal: Tens of thousands of children in the country continue to suffer from forced begging and abuse, despite a year-long government program intended to crack down on it, according to Human Rights Watch. The 40-page report, "'I Still See the Talibés Begging:' Government Program to Protect Talibé Children in Senegal Falls Short," examines the successes and failings of the first year of the new government program to remove children forced to beg from the streets. South Africa: Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has denied claims that she approved the publication of a controversial book describing former president Nelson Mandela's final years. Madela's ex-wife said she'd merely signed the first copy of Mandela's Last Years as a courtesy to its author, Lieutenant General Vejay Ramlakan. Random House has since withdrawn the title from publication out of respect for Mandela's family. Uganda: A representative for President Yoweri Museveni says he has had no instructions from his boss to start a campaign to support the removal of the age limit and that his involvement in a meeting that resolved to change the constitution was strictly personal. The constitution limits the age of the president to 75, and Museveni will hit the limit before 2021, the year of the next presidential election. Zambia: Zambian Catholic Church bishops are reportedly facilitating peace talks between President Edgar Lungu and his arch rival opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development. The meeting was reported to be sparked by reports that Zambia was sliding into a dictatorship with the arrest of Hichilema for treason.

L.A. Focus/August 2017

Gambia: The country is aiming to achieve the milestone of having no new malaria cases by 2020, but donor fatigue is a concern with a funding gap of over U.S.$25 million. The minister of Health stated that Gambia was poised to become the fourth country to eliminate malaria, while adding that more resources and collaboration is required to reach these monumental achievements.

-While the country the worse president since watches on in angst The Republican Party Andrew Johnson, and he over investigations Dems Need A Message and his team are steadily And Plan, Not Just into possible colludismantling the government Oppose Trump sion between Russian spies and America’s beloved and President Donald Trump and his asso- democracy. ciates, Democrats in Congress must realBut Democrats have to do more than ize they must do more than simply oppose decide what to wear at the Trump Trump. impeachment party, if and when the presPoliticians on the left need a message ident leaves office, and the Republican and they need a plan—a plan to beat the Party possibly implodes with him. Republicans, relieve Democrats should be ready to pick up the Trump and the GOP pieces and rebuild the country. of their death grip on Ohio political activist Nina Turner the U.S. government, spoke some truths when she said the and come up with Democrats lost “because they lost touch their own agenda to with the people, not because they were run the country. moving left.” Meanwhile, a recent discusOtherwise, the sion on NBC’s Meet The Press between Dems will plan to fail. RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel and DNC The party is Chair Tom Perez highlighted the David Love presently engaged in a Democrats’ failure to go for the jugular, rebranding process, with an economic fight hard and seize on some fresh, new agenda called a “Better Deal,” a jobs pack- talking points. Fighting nice, being polite age centered around infrastructure, mini- and not wanting to offend anybody has mum wage and trade. Democrats could cost the Democratic Party the presidency, also throw in a “Medicare for all” or single- both houses of Congress, the U.S. Supreme payer slogan to counter the train wreck Court and a majority of state houses and known as Trumpcare– the “repeal and governorships, even when they win more replace” legislation that would eliminate votes. Obamacare in favor of a dystopian This quixotic quest by the Democrats Republican nightmare, a vision of whole- for conservative, white so-called blue-colsale human rights abuses, suffering and lar Trump voters is foolish and pointless. death. And let’s not forget issues such as After all, they love the man because he crippling student loan debt, which Bernie beats up on Latinos, Muslims and Black Sanders championed in the 2016 cam- folks, and grabs women by the crotch. So, paign as part of an effort to address the how does the party that stands up for peoneeds of young people. ple of color and women’s rights plan to run With the walls closing in on the Trump as the “racist light” or “misogyny light” administration in light of growing revela- party? What Dems need to do is run real tions that point to the Trump campaign people who don’t need spinning and conpossibly colluding with Russia to rig the sulting, and real ideas that don’t need to 2016 presidential election in favor of be passed through focus groups. Trump, the Democrats must be ready. The They must find more candidates like talk has been shifting to treason, with the Randy Bryce, the progressive Army vet real possibility that people from the and steelworker who wants to unseat Trump campaign and White House staff Speaker Paul Ryan in Congress. They could face prison bars before this is all need young candidates and they need to over. This White House is looking more compete everywhere, including in the new and more like an organized crime ring South, that one day will not be so red, and (think Goodfellas rather than House of is growing with Blacks, Latinos and proCards). gressive whites. Everybody, it seems, has talked with What’s more, women must seize the Russian agents about something or anoth- reins of leadership in the Democratic er, and they’re already lawyered up and Party, particularly women of color. Black ready to take the Fifth. This, as Special women are the backbone of the party, the Counsel Robert Mueller stacks his team most enthusiastic voters and the most full of prosecutors, and New York Attorney devoted party loyalists, yet their votes are General Eric Schneiderman appears taken for granted, and they are ignored. poised to take down Trump, and go after Listen to Congresswoman Maxine Waters his money and his people. Trump may be David Love continued to page 24


MoneyMatters The State of Black Businesses


ccording to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners, black-owned businesses have increased rapidly as compared to the national firms. Black-owned firms increased by 60.5% (or 1.9 million) from 2002-2007, whereas U.S. firms only grew by 18 percent. The Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs statistics revealed that approximately 949,318 minority-owned businesses had employees comprising 17.5% of all employer firms. Among minority-owned employer firms, 12.9 percent had been in business less than two years, while only 1.4% had been in business 16 or more years. “As African Americans we have prevailed through some of the most difficult times throughout American history,” said Earl “Skip” Cooper II President and CEO of the Black Business Association. “While there is no question that our country is very much divided today, it is time for accountability to one another, and for maximizing our resources to create better opportunities to sustain ourselves for future generations.” Concerned about the about the state of the black business market, Cooper believes we need to educate the millennial generation and young entrepreneurs with the mindset of “creating our own economic opportunities,” by leveraging the groundwork established by Dr. King, President Barack Obama and others. “It’s hard work and commitment, and not entitlement, which can empower our community,” he added. “Failure to do so has dramatically impacted the ability to generate long-term economic empowerment and job creation for the urban communities and its citizens.” Based on the figures, nearly 40% of black-owned businesses operate in Janice Bryant health care and social assistance,

On the Money JINOYE HENRY Staff Writer

repair, maintenance, personal services and laundry services. The retail trade, health care and social assistance sectors accounted for 27.4% of black-owned business revenue. “This latest wave of entrepreneurship in the Black community has roots in our community due to our desire to have an increased role in determining our economic future.” said Brian Spencer, owner of Urban Essentials Beauty Supply and Salon in Inglewood. According to Spencer, entrepreneurship is a never-ending pivot to meet the needs of consumers while keeping abreast with the latest trends. Listed below are the top 10 Black-owned businesses by revenue based on a ranking of the Black Enterprise Magazine. With revenues exceeding $6 billion, the number one black-owned corporation in the nation is World Wide Technology Inc., a Maryland Heights technology product and consulting services firm headed by David L. Steward with approximately 3,000 employees. Second is ACT-1 Group Inc. This is a global firm that assists other business in managing and controlling their workforce employment and needs. The company was founded by North Carolina native, Janice Bryant Howroyd and operates in 19 different countries. Ranked at number three is Bridgewater Interiors LLC, a tier-one supplier of motor-vehicle parts and accessories. With accumulated revenue of $1.5. billion, their popularity for high quality work proves CEO Ronald E. Hall Sr. is doing something right. Fourth on the list is Modular Assembly Innovations LLC, owned by Billy Vickers in Dublin, Ohio. MAI


It Pays To Be In Politics Being in politics can pay a pretty penny. A salary raise that will take effect in December will make California state Governor Jerry Brown the highest paid governor in the United States. With a recent vote in the state legislature resulting in a 3% raise, Brown’s salary will climb from $190,193 to $195,803. Brown’s not the only one getting a 3% raise. So too, did other California lawmakers. The increase will raise the average salary from $104,115 to $107,238. Brown’s may be the highest paid governor but his salary pales in comparison to that of President Donald Trump, who rakes in $400,000, which he says he will not keep, but instead give to charity. As to the salaries of his controversial staff…the White House recently released their annual list of office personnel salaries. Surprisingly, Trump’s assistants such as Kellyanne Conway, Omarosa Manigault, Sean Spicer and Steve Bannon are all making the same amount of money at $179,000. Vice President Mike Pence, fares a little better, however with an annual salary of $234,000.

continued to page 24

Biz NewsBriefs Daymond John Heads Tap the Future Tour

Shark Tank Star Daymond John was in Los Angeles last month to help kick off Miller Lite Tap the Future Live Pitch Tour. Five semi-finalists in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Houston were selected from nearly 7,000 applicants to pitch in front of Daymond John, co-star of ABC’s Shark Tank and a panel of judges for $20,000 and an opportunity to advance to the finals. The winning business from each event will pitch again before an executive panel of judges this fall

where the winning business will be awarded the grand prize of $100,000. “Miller Lite Tap the Future is an outstanding program for up-and-coming entrepreneurs and I’m proud to have been a partner the past five years,” said John. “The judging gets more challenging every year, since the finalists get better as the program continues to grow. This year, I’m looking forward to seeing original ideas that stand out.” “The Miller Lite Tap the Future program is about finding people who hold true to their vision of success despite the obstacles they face,” said Steve Canal, manager of national community affairs with MillerCoors. “For five years, the Tap the Future program has helped to cultivate and empower dozens of entrepreneurs from around the country and we’re excited to continue the tradition this year with a new wave of businesses that will be presenting during our Live Pitch Tour.” Jeremy Wall, CEO of Lumenus walked away as the Los Angeles winner who was awarded $20,000 after a very impressive pitch. Wall will go on to compete in the finals for the grand prize of $100,000.

L.A. Focus/August 2017

L.A. BusinessSource Center-South Los Angeles can help you start or expand your business with quality services including business trainings, counseling, loan assistance and affordable office space.


Will Packer Signs Deal with OWN Network Tyler Perry may be on the way out but Will Packer is on his way in according to media sources, the “Girls Trip” director recently signed a deal with Universal Pictures and Discovery Communications to form his new company Will Packer Media. The company will be digital and TV-based with scripted and unscripted series. In addition, Packer revealed that his company will provide branded content and short form entertainment that is geared to a younger audience. In an interview with a media house, Packer mentioned that he and his team are creating a new model for content production that sees TV and digital as equals combining both the best of storytelling and brands for an underserved audience. Packer who has built a successful career producing movies with African-American talent has been eyeing the deal since 2013. He will take the place of Tyler Perry’s programs on OWN as “The Haves and Have Nots” creator’s contract with OWN Network ends in 2019.


L.A. Focus






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L.A. Focus/August 2017


his month, Crenshaw community activists are uniting with members of the faith community and residents to put together a strategy to combat what they are characterizing as the greatest threat to the stability of the historically black Crenshaw community: gentrification in the form of the Crenshaw Mall Redevelopment. More plainly stated, they believe “Black L.A. is under attack.” “Gentrification is the greatest threat to the stability of the Crenshaw community,” says Damien Goodmon, Founder and Executive Director of the nonprofit Crenshaw Subway Coalition. “If this project is built as currently proposed it would rise up a gentrification tsunami that will push out Crenshaw’s tenants, lowincome residents, and vulnerable homeowners. This is bigger than the rail line. This is about whether there is going to be a black Los Angeles. At 2.1 million square feet of new construction, the Crenshaw Mall is one of the largest proposed development projects currently being considered by the City of Los Angeles. At the crux of the issue is the market rate housing being proposed. Activists charge that the majority of the proposed new construction will not be directed toward renovating the mall, but instead 60% of the new construction (1.2 million square feet) is to add 961 market-rate apartments and condos priced at a level that existing community members cannot afford. “In general, most people believe renovating the mall is good, but we’ve got issues with the impact. When you bring in that much market-rate housing in an area that can’t really afford it, it does lead to indirect displacement,” Goodman said. “It leads to drastic increases in local property values, which can encourage landlords to try to evict long-term tenants and banks to be more aggressive in enforcing their requirements and foreclosure. It leads to more speculative real estate and housing prices that make it unaffordable for long term residents or historic residents who seek to return and for young professionals like me who want to buy or rent in the community.” “If it had a significant amount of affordable housing, had a project labor agreement that had specific goals of reaching a specific number of black people to


address the black worker crisis, if this project had a community benefits agreement that addressed the infrastructure impacts around it and provided an adequate return of one befitting the largest construction projects in L.A., we would have a different stance, but it has none of those things.” Not true, says Councilman Marqueece HarrisDawson, a proponent of the mail, which is being built in his district. “They should read the agreement.” In fact, under the proposed agreement with the city, 10% of the apartments and condos—about 95 units— will be designated as affordable housing. Half would go to households making 50% of the area median which would amount to a family of four making under $43,000. The remaining half would go to households making less than 150%, or around $130,000 or less for a family of four. “While the concern is that the presence of so many market-rate units can drive up rents around it, I don’t agree that’s going to happen partly because of in the 8th District, we’ve done more affordable housing units than anybody,” the Councilman pointed out. “We will have over 1,000 throughout the district by the time this project comes online. That’s far more affordable units than we have market-rate units and I think it will more than balance out the impact.” Activists and Harris-Dawson may not see eye-to-eye on this project but both sides are concerned. “People are already complaining about the growing diversity in the community, and that the prices are going up, and that’s not exclusive to the mall. It’s just the area in general,” Harris-Dawson points out. “Of the five neighborhoods with the greatest price increases year over year, four of them are in South L.A.—Hyde Park, Southeast L.A., Leimert Park and Baldwin Hills. “The question is what do you do about it? So, say the developer walks in my office tomorrow and says the deal is up I can’t do it. Guess what’s going to happen home prices in Lemiert Park and Baldwin Hills, they’re still going to continue to climb and they’re probably going to climb faster because there will be less housing stock.” A recent study from the UCLA Anderson School of Management ranked Los Angeles at number one in the nation as the single most unaffordable city for both

homebuyers and renters. A 2015 City of Los Angeles study found that families must earn $81,240 to afford the average rent and $104,360 to afford a newly-built apartment. That, points out Goodmon, is twice the median household income in Leimert Park, and four times the median household income in Baldwin Village, where no census tract has a median income for a family of four that is above $26,000. “The reality where you could go to sleep five years ago and rents in Baldwin Village could average $850 and then you wake up ten years later and rents are $2200,” Goodmon reports. “That should be something that concerns people.” Activists contend that a failure to maintain the affordability of the Crenshaw community, which made apartment renting and homeownership possible for the majority of long-term residents, may drastically change Crenshaw’s ethnic makeup. Residents like Olla Bartlett say that is a factor, but point out that the community has already changed, adding that she believes the influx of whites is attracting far too many real estate developments. “I worry what the neighborhood will look like in the next five years. Plus, the traffic and congestion is horrendous. And now they’re proposing 88 units of apartments on Overhill and Slauson. It’s just out of control.” To that end, activists and some residents see the project as “an attack on the security of Black families, homes and small businesses, the preservation and cultivation of Black art and culture, the sanctity of Black space and the potential of Black political power.” Goodman’s coalition, consisting of ACCE-LA, Black Community Clergy & Labor Alliance, L.A. Black Worker Center, Crenshaw Subway Coalition, Eviction Defense Network, Hyde Park Organizational Partnership for Empowerment, hopes to identify policies and programs that can be put in place so that the redevelopment can be a real benefit to the community and not harm existing residents. Over 80 organizational leaders signed on to a letter requesting a help impact assessment to see how the mall would affect the surrounding area. “All we are asking at this juncture is that the city not move forward until we complete that process.”

The reality where you could go to sleep five years ago and rents in Baldwin Village could average $850 and then you wake up ten years later and rents are $2200. That should be something that concerns people.

better than you can get in the stock market. And the people who are harmed the most are blacks, Latinos and the low-income communities that currently occupy these spaces.” Officials like Harris-Dawson contend that it’s difficult to cite anywhere in the city where one development has transformed the entire neighborhood. “Part of what’s happening,” Harris-Dawson observes, “is that people are responding to the energy crisis. It used to be that middle class white people organize themselves in the suburbs because getting in your car and coming into town for work was cheap. That’s going to be less and less true going forward, and it’s happening all around. These neighborhoods that are close to downtown and the center city are becoming more and more in demand than they’ve been in our lifetime.” But housing advocates have been at odds wiyth black elected officials for some time, characterizing them as active participants in the “urban cleansing” of South L.A. while charging that they are not asking for enough from developers. Another major point of contention being local hire requirements. In the case of the Crenshaw Mall, a 25% local hire agreement is in place.

“We’d like to see more,” adds Harris-Dawson, “but the truth is 25% is a very aggressive number for a project of this size. Most projects this size have a 10 or 15 percent goal.” What’s more, Harris-Dawson is working to see that people don’t fall victim to gentrification. “People are in serious financial pressure and I worry about that. We are trying to do everything we can to give people a place to go before the sell their house and give them assistance, particularly as more and more retirees have smaller pensions and it’s going to become more difficult for people to maintain their homes. We’re going to have an assistance program to help them do that.” He also points out that in May, ¬the City Council voted to approve the Unapproved Dwelling Unit (UDU) ordinance to safely permit previously unapproved housing in multi-family units while requiring, in exchange that property owners put an equal amount of affordable units at the same location on the market, which will help boost the City’s affordable housing stock. “Too many Angelenos are already struggling to stay ahead of rising rents—and we must take action to protect our communities, and keep families in their homes,” said Mayor Garcetti. “This ordinance will improve the health and safety of our housing stock, add more units to the market, and bring us closer to meeting our affordable housing goals.” “The ordinance will allow seniors and residents to rent that additional space and have another stream of income without going through a very rigorous permitting process and costly fees,” Harris Dawson explains. “We’re also working with financial institutions and some city housing programs so that people can actually access funds to get the construction done and a program where the city will loan you say $75,000 as long as you commit to making those units affordable for X number of years. We’re working on a similar program with Airbnb.” Yet, for all Harris-Dawson is doing, differences remain and Goodman says his coalition is not interested in negotiating “terms of surrender”. “We’re going to fight and we’ll go as far as we need to make sure this project becomes what it needs to be; that other projects on their way recognize that this is a black community and you will serve black community interests; and that our public sector thinks about development without displacement. “It’s not about being against development. It’s about being for development that’s for existing residents. We’ve made clear we will sue if we feel that’s necessary to protect the culture.” While sensitive to the concern on all sides, HarrisDawson believes the issues can be mediated, noting that delaying the project will “not do anything to forward their cause”. No date has been set for the start of construction, which is expected to take six or seven years.

L.A. Focus/August 2017

Harris-Dawson, who received the request, says the project has already undergone a full environmental impact review. “Everything from traffic to pollution, to walkability, to the waiter, air, noise…all of it has been analyzed,” Harris-Dawson notes. “Will there be more diversity than we see now? Probably, will this project dramatically change the ethnic makeup of my district or councilmen west’s district, I don’t think so. “The good part is that we finally get a first-rate development in South LA. “When I encounter young African-American professionals who are beginning their families, they can’t look in South L.A. because either the houses are too expensive or they’re just not neighborhoods where they want to raise children. So, [now] we will have a housing stock that will be attractive to that population. We also think it gives us a much-needed upgrade in the quality of the retail services available in South L.A. and again $750 million, we just don’t get that kind of investment in South L.A. on a regular basis. All of which excites residents like Briana Smith, who have longed for the day when she didn’t have to drive to other neighborhoods for fine dining or upscale retail. “It will be nice to have more quality services right here in the community. Besides there’s not a damn thing you can do about whites and Latinos moving in. It’s life.” In addition to the 961 market rate units, the new complex would include a 400-room hotel, a 10-story office building, and more than 300,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space. A nearby Kaiser Permanente medical center is set to open next month. While the existing mall would stay intact, some of those retail sites on the outer rim like—Post & Beam and the Debbie Allen Dance Academy—would be demolished. Interestingly, Harris-Dawson adds, “I have a lot of neighborhoods east of Western that are historically black that are changing, and nobody cares. Nobody says a word.” Activists instead point to the controversial billion dollar The Reef development in South Central near USC, which with 1,440 proposed market-rate housing units is now mired in a lawsuit filed by housing advocates out of displacement concerns; and the Hollywood Boulevard luxury development they say resulted in a push out of the poor and working-class Latino communities in favor of more affluent whites and fueled drastic increases in housing prices. “It’s a wave that’s taking place not just in South L.A. and East L.A,” says Goodmon, but “in every major urban city. We now have this concept of new urbanism where it’s cool to be in the inner city. “The two largest private equity firms in the world are now buying single family homes and renting. Houses that were going for $325,000 in Leimert Park in 1999 are now valued at $600,000. That’s a helluva return—much



L.A. Focus/August 2017

INSIDE HO L LY W OOD with Neily Dickerson Detroit is not my favorite city, but my great grandfather lived there, Motown Record’s great musical legacy was birthed there, and there's a sense of pride for the city. So, when I was invited to preview the movie, “Detroit” I was interested, but had no idea what to expect . While I was expecting a truthful retelling of the 1967 Detroit riots, director Kathryn Bigelow's vantage point put me smack dab on the streets of The D. "Detroit" is based on true events that culminate in the Algiers Motel after the police descend on the property to investigate what is thought to be a sniper's gun shot. With an amazing ensemble cast, "Detroit" is one of the most poignant films I've experienced this year. From the innocent party goer, looming looter, purposeful guardsman, to the crooked

cop, you come face to face with varying and honest points of view portrayed by each character, and it ain't nothing nice. Posted up in the Algiers are a group of friends that include Carl played by Jason Mitchell, with so much swag, "Straight Out Of Compton" Lee played by Peyton 'Alex' Smith (The Quad), an aspiring singer Larry portrayed by Algee Smith, (The New Edition Story) and his best-friend and manager, Fred played by Jacob Lattimore (Collateral Beauty) Two young ladies, Julie (Hannah Murray of "Game Of


Detroit August 4

The Dark Tower August 4

Actress Tasha Smith Takes on A New Project As Movie Director


You’ve seen her on the screen in Tyler Perry movies, and on shows such as Empire and For Better or For Worse, but actress Tasha Smith, is now getting behind the camera. Smith will be making her directorial debut this August with the TV One original movie, When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story. The movie tells the story of Falicia Blakely, a 17-year-old mom who is at odds with her mother and begins to work as an exotic dancer. Falicia begins to live life in the fast lane and gets caught up in the wrong crowd that introduces her into the wrong man-Dino. Dino is a pimp who turns Falicia into a pawn in his dangerous games. who leads her down a path of drugs, alcohol, guns and more. Some of the stars in the movie include; Lil Mama, Lance Gross and Tami Roman. When Love Kills premieres August 28 on TV One.

Big Things Ahead For Comedian Kevin Hart

Comedian Kevin Hart’s multi-platform brand and network, Laugh Out Loud in partnership with Lionsgate, will be launching a streaming video service on August 3. The stream will include a variety of original scripted and unscripted comedy series, stand-up specials, live broadcasts and licensed programming. Hart himself selected some of the biggest and boldest names in comedy to create, produce and star in the content that will be exclusively on

Thrones") and Karen (Kaitlyn Dever) are at the hotel as well. This diverse group’s common goal was shelter from the riots, but one shot brought the activities of the street directly to them and when the police arrive the confusion of the night spirals out of control. "Detroit" is a must-see. It brings past events to the present and shows that the past may have never ended and the foundation of America's justice system is cracked and requires some re-cementing. "Detroit" is a necessary, but difficult movie to watch. I actually walked out of the screening for a break. The depiction brought me face to face with what Eric Garner, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and several others may have encountered and pissed me off. Then I went back in because there's more to do than be mad, there's a responsibility to uplift Black men, my Idrissa “Idris” Akuna Elba Hometown: Hackney, London, England community and country. Big Break: The Wire Current Projects: Dark Tower, Luther, Molly's Game, Thor: Ragnarok, The Mountain Between Us, Yardie


Idris Elba

Kidnap August 4

The Hitman’s Bodyguard August 18

the video stream. Some of the stars you can expect to see include, DC Young Fly, GloZell, King Bach, Emmanuel Hudson, reality star Draya Michelle, Anjelah Johnson (MADtv’s viral sensation Bon Qui Qui), and many more. The Laugh Out Loud streaming service will also feature up and coming comedians. Hart stated; “Funny has no color or gender. With our friends at Lionsgate, we are creating a global network that gives a platform to the next generation of diverse comedians from all over the world, of all ethnicities, to tell their stories. Most importantly, we exist to make the world laugh.” “Kevin Hart: Lyft Legend” is a hidden camera series sponsored by Lyft, that will feature Trey Songz and Joel McHale. The first episode debuts on Laugh Out L o u d ’ s Facebook, with future episodes streaming weekly through the video service. In addition to the video service, Kevin Hart a n d HartBeat

Weekend. Hart’s fourth annual HartBeat Weekend will be headlined by Dave Chappelle, Usher and Kevin Hart himself. HartBeat Weekend will kick off September 1-3 at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.

Productions will be returning to Vegas for HartBeat

Stevie Wonder Puts A Ring On It At the age of 67, music legend Stevie Wonder wed his longtime girlfriend, Tomeeka Robyn Bracy at Hotel Bel-Air. The two had a beautiful reception and ceremony, which included a releasing of hundreds of butterflies during the nuptials. Those who were lucky enough to attend the wedding had to sign a confidentiality agreement that threatened a $1 million dollar fine if they disclosed any information to the media.

Forest Whitaker To Guest Star On Empire When Fox’s Empire returns to television for season 4, a new character will be joining the show. Actor Forest Whitaker, will be guest starring on multiple episodes as the role of Uncle Eddie; a music industry icon who gave Lucious (Terrence Howard) his first big break. Uncle Eddie gave Lucious his first radio airplay and has returned to help him as he recovers from the car explosion that was seen in the season 3 finale. Eddie steps up during a critical time in Lucious’ life, and to show her gratitude, Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) asks him to produce a song for Empire’s 20th Anniversary. Whitaker has worked with Empire creator, Lee Daniels in the past, and he is also an expert at melodramatic roles, so it is anticipated that he will execute his part. Empire season 4 premieres September 27th on Fox.

With four films in the pipeline for release this year— including Molly's Game, Thor: Ragnarok, The Mountain Between Us, the hit series Luther, and rumors of being the first black James Bond, Idris Elba, may well become the highest paid actor in the world. As an only child, Elba developed a knack for music and was set on becoming a radio presenter. But things didn’t go as planned. The British native became a DJ and soon after migrated to America to become an actor. Elba first won critical acclaim for his role in “The Wire” that led to starring roles in Tyler Perry’s “Daddy’s Little Girl”, “This Christmas”, “American Gangsters,” “Thor”, “Obsessed”, “No Good Deed”, “Beast of No Nation” and most recently, “The Dark Tower”. Tell us about the movie “The Dark Tower” and your role as Roland Deschain. It’s a story about a young boy who discovers parallel universes and discovers that his purpose is much bigger in these other universes. He partners with the Gunslinger and they journey towards this boy's destiny to save the Dark Tower. My character Roland Deschain [The Gunslinger] comes from a legacy of gunslingers who were put in place to protect “The Dark Tower” from the men in black. What was it like playing this role and how did you prepare for it? I haven’t done many actions films. I like to bring a little depth and bring a real character. And what’s been fun is, Nik’s [producer] really up for that. So we do takes that are a little bit more commercial, if you like, and we do takes that are very deep, like we’re making an independent film. It’s an iconic character. I want to get it right. How do you avoid being typecast to play the same roles? I just enjoy being an actor and changing myself into different characters. That’s my sweet spot in life that basically I can pretend to be other people very well. It’s called acting, but it’s actually something that’s a natural gift. I would prefer to be the guy who can do various different things than to be categorized as the guy who only does one thing really well. What’s the point in playing one character over and over again? Challenge yourself. Some of the best actors I know have always been different and unrecognizable each time and that’s a blessing to be able to do it. How do you find the energy to balance it all? It gets easier as you get older. I’ve been working for a long time and what you put out there is what you end up getting back so I’ve been very fortunate. What are you currently working on? I do these documentaries with Discovery Channel to basically put me through the worst scenarios you could ever think of. The first season was about cars and I broke a speed record. I used to kickbox when I was younger and so this season I challenged myself. For the last nine months, I have been training for a fight. I train for 3 weeks in Thailand.

Calendar of events


Exhibition: The Museum of African American Art Presents: Bernard Stanley Hoyes (Through September 24) 3rd Floor of Macy’s at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza 4005 Crenshaw Blvd Info: (323) 294-7071 On Stage: Hamilton (Through December 30, 2017) Check for Showtimes: $514 $2,815 Hollywood Pantages Theatre 6233 Hollywood Blvd Contact: (323) 468-1770 Exhibit: Center Stage: African American Women in Silent Race Films (Through October 15) Tues – Sat: 10:00am-5:00pm; Sun: 11:00am-5:00pm Free • Parking = $12 California African American Museum 600 State Drive • Exposition Park RSVP preferred (213) 744-2024 Yoga(Saturdays) Free 8am-9:15am Zumba(Tuesdays) Free 6pm7:30pm (Adults only) On Macy’s Bridge at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza 3650 W Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd (323) 290-6636

Saturday, August 5 “Summertime In The LBC” featuring 50 Cent, YG, Wu-Tang Clan, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Warren G, Slick Rick, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Tha Dogg Pound, Zapp Gates open at Noon • $75 – 500 1126 Queens Highway Long Beach Info (877) 342-0738 Worship In Pink 9:00 AM – 2:30 PM• Free Good Samaritan Hospital Moseley Salvatore Conference Center 637 Lucas Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90017 Registration:

Sunday, August 6 In Concert: Kendrick Lamar with Travis Scott (Through Wednesday, August 9) 7PM • $49.50 - $129.50 Staples Center 1111 S. Figueroa Contact: (213) 742-7340 In Concert: Bone Thugs-NHarmony, Tha Dogg Pound 8PM • $25 - $35 The Novo 800 W Olympic Blvd Info: (213) 765-7000

L.A. Focus/August 2017

Holly Robinson Peete at the Design Care 2017 presented by the HollyRod Foundation


ir rates the re” Celeb party in u c e s n “I Cast of a block son with glewood. 2nd Sea I n n Downtow

Jerk Food Fest 2017 The summer weather fused with authentic Jerk everything, Live Bands and Djs from the islands!!! 11:00am -10:00pm $0 -$130 Cucamonga-Guasti Regional Park 800 North Archibald Ave Ontario, CA 91764

Tuesday, August 8 In Concert: KRS-One & Slick Rick 8PM • $10 - $20 The Novo 800 W Olympic Blvd Info: (213) 765-7000 Workshop: Help With Clearing Criminal Records Free • 5:30pm – 8pm L.A. Law

Thursday, August 10 In Concert: Ed Sheeran (Through Sat, August 12) 7:30PM • $39.50 - $99.50 Staples Center 1111 S. Figueroa Contact: (213) 742-7340

Friday, August 11 29th Annual Long Beach Jazz Festival Line up includes Will Downing, Rachelle Farrell, Boney James, Najee, Bob James, Spyro Gyra, Ronnie Laws, Ray

EVENT SpOTLIgHT Thursday, August 31 The G.I.G. Music Conference: Presented by Gerald and Tammi Haddon with City of Refuge Featuring Sessions, Vocal Bootcamp, Singer’s Master Class (Through Sat, September 2) $79-$99 • contact for times City of Refuge 14527 S. San Pedro St Gardena Contact: (310) 516-1433

Sanna La than at th e Los Ang movie pre eles miere for “Girls Tri p”.

rrott Wife Tomasina Pa Larenz Tate and for e ier movie prem at the Los Angeles ”. ip Tr irls his latest film “G

Library 301 West 1st Street Contact: (213) 785.2516 (call (800) 399-4529 to be prescreened. Appointment only).

Loretta Devine at the Los Angeles movie premiere for “Girls Trip”.

Magic Johnson & wife Cookie Johnson alongside Holly Robinson Peete & husband Rodney Peete at the Design Care 2017 presented by the HollyRod Foundation

Rihanna attends the premiere of “Valerian and The City of a Thousand Planets” held at TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California.

Parker Jr and more (Through Sunday Aug 13th) Tickets: $55-$200 Friday: 6:30-10:30pm Sat & Sun: Noon-10:30pm. Rainbow Lagoon Park E Shoreline Drive Long Beach (562) 424-0013 In Concert: Pharoah Sanders Quartet (Through Sun, August 13) 8:30PM • $35+ Catalina Bar & Grill Rsvp: (323) 466-2210 Harold & Carole Pump Foundation17th Annual Celebrity Golf Tournament & Dinner Honoring LL Cool J., Johnny Bench, Emmtt Smith, Phil Oates 9:00am: Golf Tournament 5:30pm: Gala Red Carpet 7:30pm: Dinner Angeles National Golf Course The Beverly Hilton Hotel Pricing: (310) 445-2588

Trinity Baptist Church’s Annual Fellowship In The Park 9am – 5pm • Free Kenneth Hahn Park Info: (323) 735-0044 Bryant Temple AME BBQ Fundraiser 11AM – 5PM • Plates from $7 -15 2525 Vernon Avenue Info: (323) 293-6201

Monday, August 14 In Concert: Bryson Tiller 7:30pm • $39.50 - $59.50 The Greek Theater 2700 North Vermont Ave

Wednesday, August 16

Benefits, Immigration) Face to face meeting with legal experts on DPSS, Disability, SSI/SDI, MediCal & immigration By appointment only Register: (323) 299-9496 X154

Saturday, August 19 20th Annual Venice Beach Gospel Crusade Rally Food, city-wide choirs, dynamic speakers, healing, praise dance and more Venice Beach Boardwalk Corner of Pacific & Windward Street 11:00am - 6:00pm Info: (213) 359-3185

Friday, August 18

11th Anniversary Leimert Park Book Fair Interactive activities, panel discussions, film screenings, readings, meet & greets, spoken word, and live music 10am – 6pm • Free Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza

Free Legal Clinic (Specific Area: Public

The 2017 Platform Workshop for Christian

“Bring It! Live”:Lifetime’s hit series stars Miss D and her Dancing Dolls 7:30PM • $52.75 - 90 Microsoft Theater 777 Chick Hearn Court Contact: (213) 763-6020

Songwriters Featuring: William Brown Jr, Bobbie Mason and Dr. Gail Riley 8:00 AM-5:00 PM $75-$99 Faithful Central Bible Church 333 West Florence Avenue Inglewood, CA 90301

Sunday, August 20 “Smooth Summer Jazz” featuring Dave Koz, Larry Graham, Kenny Lattimore, Ashford and Simpson's Valerie Simpson and the Ohio Players 6PM • $14 - $156 Hollywood Bowl 2301 No. Highland Avenue Contact: (323) 850-2000

Wednesday, August 23 In Concert: Herbie Hancock 8PM • $1 - $157 Hollywood Bowl 2301 No. Highland Avenue Contact: (323) 850-2000

Luncheon 25th 7:00pm to 27th 2:30 PM $50 – $315 The Sofitel Luxury Hotel Beverly Hills 8555 Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90048

Saturday, August 26 Life Without Limits Boat Cruise Luncheon With Lady Togetta Ulmer: Faithful Central Bible Church and Life Without Limits series DJ, Fashion Show, Games, Live Band $125 • 11:30am – 3PM Space is limited. "Endless Dream Yacht" 2451 West Coast Highway Newport Beach Contact: (310) 330-8000

Michael Strahan and twin daughters Isebella & Sophia Strahan at Kids Choice Sports Awards.

The 2017 Dream Girl

Thursday, August 31

Sunday, August 27 In Concert: Thelma Houston: My Motown Memories & More 8PM • $44 - 129 John Anson Ford Amph. 2580 Cahuenga Blvd East Tickets: (323) 461-3673

In Concert: Bobby Caldwell (Through Saturday, September 2) 8:30PM • $35+ Catalina Bar & Grill Reservations: (323) 4662210

do Scandrick and Dallas Cowboy, Orlan chele hit the red his fiancée, Draya Mi ards. carpet of The ESPY Aw

Russell Westbrook & wife Nina Earl attend The ESPY Aw ards where he took home the award for Be st Male Athlete.

L.A. Focus/August 2017

and stepson Host Russell Wilson e Sports Future at Kids Choic . Awards

Friday, August 25

Workshop: Family Law/Divorce Orientation Free • 9:00 am - 11:30 am Torrance Self Help Center Room 160, 1st floor Torrance Courthouse 825 Maple Avenue Torrance Contact: (213) 785.2516

The G.I.G. Music Conference: Presented by Gerald and Tammi Haddon with City of Refuge Featuring Sessions, Vocal Bootcamp, Singer’s Master Class (Through Sat, September 2) $79-$99 • contact for times City of Refuge 14527 S. San Pedro St Gardena Contact: (310) 516-1433

around los angeles

Saturday, August 12

Wednesday, August 30


Re d Carpet Style

LAILA ALI looking classy in a rose pink muilti-strapped dress.

AYESHA CURRY sparkling in her black flared cut jumpsuit.

Celebrities and athletes hit the red carpet for the 25th annual ESPY Awards, held at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California on June 12, 2017.

GABBY DOUGLAS spotted in a pretty white and blue accented gown.

ISSA RAE in a fancy black off the shouder bubble dress.

SIMONE BILES in a pleasent royal blue with extended tail dress.

Eye On Gospel Verity is Born Again

Jekalyn Carr’s Winning Season

Last month, gospel’s best-selling label, RCA Inspiration and Provident Music Group celebrated the relaunch of Verity Records, reviving the iconic label that has been a modern standard-bearer in Gospel for almost two decades with artists such as Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond, Marvin Sapp, Richard Smallwood, Hezekiah Walker and Donnie McClurkin. “The Verity Label represents a rich history of cherished albums encompassing contemporary and classic hits that can be enjoyed again and again,” said Provident Music Group CEO Terry Hemmings. “There is so much incredible music to experience, and amazing new Gospel and inspirational music to come from Verity,” Phil Thornton (Verity and RCA Inspiration SVP & General Manager) adds. “Every record has a story to tell. These records weave distinctive tales serving as a continual source of hope and love, to discover strength and hold faith through tough times, celebrate joyful times, and be a constant companion for all the complexities of our daily lives.” The reintroduction of Verity kicked off with the release of the newly-launched single, “Close” from Gospel icon Marvin Sapp. Verity Records will be operated under Provident Music Group. Already, “Close” has made headway on the charts, ranking in the Top 5 among Gospel Indicator charts of Most Added and Most Increased Plays for the song. “Close” is the lead single from Sapp’s highly-anticipated upcoming 11th solo album CLOSE, to be released on September 29th. Sapp kicked off the eleventh season of TV One’s longest-running and award-winning series, Unsung, sharing his toughest moments, including the promise he made to his dying wife, MaLinda to go on. “When people die, those people that are left here feel like the way to honor their legacy is to stop living,” Sapp said of the wife he lost to colon cancer. “They want you to live. That’s what I tried to do through my children first. Now that they are college students and my main goal is to take care of college tuition, it’s time for me to find Marvin again. I’m looking forward to it.”

With a new song, a new album and a recently announced upcoming appearance on the OWN TV series, Greenleaf” and the show’s soundtrack, it’s clear that gospel recording artist Jekalyn Carr is having a winning season in gospel. The lead single, “You Will Win”, from her forthcoming album, One Nation Under God, sets the stage for another dynamic season of ministry and evangelism from the artist who skyrocketed unto the gospel scene at the age

of 14. “You Will Win” was written by Carr’s father, Allen Carr, the songwriter behind her biggest records to date, including “Greater Is Coming” and the Grammy nominated “You’re Bigger.” Carr feels led to declare a winning season over the saints of God with the song. Its refrain, “It’s my winning season. Everything attached to me wins!” is sure to resonate within the hearts and souls of all who hear it. The Bible declares that death and life are in the power of the tongue, and Carr firmly believes that releasing this collective proclamation of faith into the atmosphere will command a mighty move of God on the behalf of all His people. “Many have toiled and suffered tribulation in their bodies, in their finances, and in their homes and families, but God wants us to know that it is time to reap the fruit of our tears, our prayers, and our worship,” she states. Winning is also the theme of Carr’s soon-to-bereleased book, You Will Win: Inspirational Strategies to Help You Overcome, a collection of Carr's most poignant and powerful exhortations, inspirational messages, pointers, and strategies designed to promote a victorious life in Christ.

Briefly: Shanachie Entertainment has partnered with gospel artist Ted Winn's Teddy's Jamz label to release Ted's inspiring new single, "Stand In Awe," from his forthcoming CD of the same title set for release on September 1, 2017…Talented singer, actress and comedian, Lexi—whose YouTube channel has become a go-to site for comedy videos— has signed a deal that will bring her talents to Motown Gospel for her first album in five years… It was a fond farewell from the gospel industry at last month’s celebration of life for Kenneth “Kenny” Maurice Taylor “Mr. Gospel” as hundreds turned out to show their love and appreciation for a man who contributed so much to the gospel music industry. Those in attendance included Stephen Hurd, Dottie Peoples, Maurette Brown-Clark, Charles Butler, Jawn Murray, Pastor David Wright and Bubby Fann.

L.A. Focus/August 2017


ChurchNews Rev. Melvin V. Wade Set To Retire in September


enowned L.A. pastor, mentor and community leader, Rev. Melvin V. Wade recently announced his retirement as pastor of the Mt. Moriah Baptist Church where he served for 42 years. “I’ve had the privilege and the God-given opportunity to pastor some families five generations and to say that now we will be handing it over to someone else,” Wade said. “It’s bittersweet that I’ll be saying goodbye and yet I’ll still be here. According to Wade, it’s his intent to remain an active member of the church, however, he will do so from the congregation and allow the new pastor to do his job. “This is a generation that’s in dying need of a younger head and a younger mind,” Wade added. “There’s a language that they speak and by me being 72 years old, I don’t know it. If I try to know it all then I will be some hiphop daddy and I am not trying to do that.” The church is set to vote on a new leader next month. Wade will continue to fulfill his pastoral duties until his term ends in September. “I’ve been a pastor all this time and I am going to stay in my lane,” Wade said. “I might still do speaking engagements and some traveling. But, I don’t plan to be idle and I will be playing a little golf.”

L.A. Church Community Mourns Passing Of Bishop Dr. Charles Queen Bishop Charles Queen, who served for more than three decades as the pastor of Strait Way Church in Inglewood and founder of The Total Word Concept Institute, has died. He was 87. Queen passed away on Saturday, July 22, no official cause of death has been given. “He was a Hebrew and a Greek scholar who I think was ahead of his time in terms of academic community,” Dr. Beverly “Bam” Crawford. “People may have thought that they are a little too legalistic because they had so much academic information but Dr. Queen opened our eyes to everything. He was very supportive of me when I left the staff of Crenshaw Christian Center and you’d be surprised how many people studied under Dr. Queen; he contributed to the church community at large.” The philosophy of moderation Queen embraced and preached (irrespective of long-held traditional church practices) in a move toward mainstream ideology—and once drawing criticism from old guard Pentecostals—has come to be more widely accepted over the last decade. "Years ago, the emphasis was primarily on holiness— the long dresses, long sleeves, no high-heeled or open toe shoes, no makeup and so forth," Queen stated in 2001 interview with L.A. Focus. "Those were the basis of things we yelled at people which some of them needed and it was okay because I grew up in that era. I got saved in 1955 when we were not allowed to look at television. We have move freedom now, but we still have people in that whole old school syndrome. What we have to do is to see if we can mesh the old and the new for greater commonality so that we aren't at one extreme over on one end and another extreme over here. We have to use moderation and I believe that's the key to success in our churches.” "So I have always been one who would find that mainstream ideology,” Queen added. “Sometimes it had been difficult. “In the old times they'd say 'he's too liberal' or that I'd gone to extremes." However, what drove Queen was the desire to reach a changing generation. The Vicksburg, Mississippi native was drafted in 1950 and spent a year in Korea during the Korean War. He moved to California in 1953 upon the urging of his family after an incident during which he defied three white men by refusing to step aside as they passed on the street. In 1958, Queen went into ministry, following through on a promise he had made to God years earlier during the war. “I prayed and told God if He'd get me out of this [alive] I would serve Him for the rest of my life."

Bethel AME Church of Los Angeles 7900 South Western Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90047 (323) 750-3240 • Rev. Kelvin T. Calloway Early Worship: 7:45 am Morning Worship: 10:45am Mid-week “Hour of Power” (Wed): noon

Bethel Missionary Baptist Church of South L.A. 10905 S. Compton Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90059 (323) 566.5286 Pastor Reginald A. Pope Sunday Worship: 8:00 & 11:00am Sunday School & C.B.T.: 9:40am Monday Evangelism Training: 7:00pm Wednesday Prayer: 11:15am Sunday Radio KALI 900am @ 7:30am

Bethlehem Temple Church, INC. 958 East 52nd Street Los Angeles, CA 90011 (323) 232-8429 Pastor Elder Gentry Richardson, Jr. Sunday: Christian Education: 9:00am Morning Worship: 11:00am PYPU (youth services): 4:30pm Evening Worship: 6:00pm (5pm 5th Sun.) Monday Prayer Revival: 7pm Wednesday Ministerial/Teacher’s Prep. Class: Noon; Bible Class: 7:45pm

Bryant Temple AME Church 2525 W. Vernon Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90008 (323) 293-6201 • F: (323) 293-0082 Rev. Dwaine A. Jackson Sunday School: 10am Early Worship: 8am Morning Worship: 10:30 am Bible Study (Tues): Noontime Pastor’s Bible Study( Tues): 7pm

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

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

Grant AME Church 10435 S. Central Avenue • Los Angeles, CA 90002 (323) 564-1151 • F: (323) 564-5027 Rev. Dr. J. Arthur Rumph, Senior Pastor Sunday School: 8am Worship: 9:30am Wed. Bible Study: 11:30am •6pm

Grace Temple Baptist Church 7017 South Gramercy Place, Los Angeles, CA 90047 (323) 971-8192 Bishop Miquail M. Broadous Sr., Senior Pastor Sunday School: 9am Morning Worship: 10:00am Wednesday Worship: 6:45pm E-Mail:

Grace United Methodist Church 4112 West Slauson Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90043 (323) 294-6653 • F: (323) 294-8753 • Rev. Pastor Paul A. Hill • Early Morning Worship: 7:45am Sunday School: 9:45am Morning Worship: 10:45am Wed. Bible Study: Noon & 7:00pm Fri. Alcoholic Anonymous: 7:00pm Tues. Prayer Fellowship: 6:30pm Super Seniors (Thurs/Bi-Monthly): 10:30am Follow us on Facebook Greater Ebenezer Baptist Church 5300 S. Denker Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90062 (323) 759-4996 Rev. DeNon Porter Early Worship: 8am Sunday School: 9:30am Mid-Morning Worship: 11am Radio-KALI 900AM: Sun. 11-Noon, 7-8pm KTYM 1460AM Sundays: 5:30pm Bible Study (Tues, Wed & Thurs): 7pm Holman United Methodist Church 3320 W. Adams Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90018 (323) 731-7285 • F: (323) 731-2609 • Rev. Kelvin Sauls Sunday School: 8:00, 9:45 & 11:00am Jazz for Soul 2nd & 4th Thur: 6:30pm Early Worship: 8:00am Morning Worship: 11:00am Bible Study (Thurs.): Noon Sun. Radio: KJLH 102.3FM: 11:00am E: Liberty Baptist Church 1500 West 51st Place, Los Angeles, CA 90062 (323) 295-3866 • F: (323) 295-0366 • E: Rev. Terry Lovell Brown Sr. Sunday Church School: 9:00am Morning Worship: 10:30am & 12:30pm Wed. Bible Study: noon & 6:30pm Prayer Meeting: 6:00pm Follow us on Twitter @dacrossculture Mt. Moriah Baptist Church of LA, Inc. 4269 S. Figueroa St. Los Angeles, CA 90037 (323) 846-1950 Rev. Melvin V. Wade, Sr. Sunday School: 8:15am Morning Worship: 9:45am Evening Worship: 6:30pm Mid-Week Worship (Wed): 7:00pm Bible Study (Wed.): 8:00pm

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

F: (323) 291-1133 • • Pastor George E. Hurtt, Pastor-Teacher Sunday Worship: 8:00am, 11:00am Discipleship Hour (Sun): 9:37am Noonday Prayer (Mon): Noon Noonday Bible Study (Tue): 12:00pm Tuesday Night in the Truth: Email: • Our Goal: To win more Christians & develop better Christians to the glory of God. (Matt. 28:18-20)

Mt. Tabor Missionary Baptist Church 6614 S. Western Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90047 (323) 753-3189 • F: (323) 753-1018 • Dr. Ticey M. Brown, D. Min. Pastor/Teacher Early Morning Worship: 8:00am Sunday School: 9:30am Mid Morning Worship: 11:00am Tues. Bible Study: 10:00am & 7:00pm Meeting/Bible Study: 6:30pm–8pm First Sun. Communion: 8:00am & 11:00am Baptism First Sunday

One Church International 614 N. La Brea Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90036 (818) 763-4521 • Sr. Pastor Toure’ Roberts Sunday Worship: 9:00am, 11:00am & 1:00pm Wednesday Midweek Service: 8pm—View live streaming

Praises of Zion Baptist Church (“Praise City” 8222 So. San Pedro Street, Los Angeles, CA 90003 (323) 750-1033 • F: (323) 750-5458 • Dr. J. Benjamin Hardwick, Sr. Pastor Early Morning Worship: 6:45am Educational Hour: 9:15am Mid-Morning Worship: 10:45am Wed. Bible Study: Noon & 7:00pm Sunday Broadcast: 7:00pm

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

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

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


PASTORAL VACANCY St. Mark Baptist Church of Long Beach is prayerfully seeking pastoral candidates for the full-time position of Senior Pastor. We seek a pastor with a heart for the people who shall serve as the spiritual leader of the church and lead with sound biblical doctrine in accordance with I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. The Pastor must possess the ability to effectively preach and teach


SPECIAL INTRODUCTORY OFFER of just $199 Specs: 3.4” X 5”

the Word of God to a multi-generational and multicultural congregation.

Or $99 1.5” X 4.8”

Those interested should send an email, along with a copy of their resume

For information, call 310.677.6011

You are invited to share with Dr. Lovely Haynes in his 37th Appreciation at the St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church. Friday, August 11 ~ 7:00 P.M. Guest Churches: Israel MBC, .Pastor, Rodney Howard, Sr. Mt. Horeb MBC, Pastor, A. B. Simon New Hope MBC, .Pastor, Larry Hooks Greater Emmanuel MBC, Pastor, Harold L. Mitchell Sunday, August 13 ~ 3:30 P.M. Greater Metropolitan Church, Pastor, D. K. Labat, Sr. United Christians MBC, Pastor, Nathaniel Haley Welcome MBC, Pastor, J. W. Brown Bethany Missionary Baptist Church of WLA, Pastor, L. A. Kessee Sunday, August 20 ~ 3:30 P.M. Sermon on the Mount MBC Reverend, Kwame Crosby Mt. Carmel Holy Assembly MBC Pastor, Darryl Beard

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

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

Second Location Golden West Baptist Church 4856 Golden West Ave, Temple City, CA 91780 Sunday Worship: 9:00am

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

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

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

St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church 5017 S. Compton Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90011 (323) 231-1040 • Rev. Dr. Lovely Haynes Sunday Morning Worship: 8:00am & 11:00am Sunday School: 9:30am Mon-Wed: Prayer Bible Study: 6:00 - 6:55 pm Mon. Night Bible Study: 7:00pm Tue Choir Rehersal Wednesday Prayer: Noon Wed. Exposition of Sunday School Lesson: 7pm Wed. Prayer Meeting: 7:00pm Thurs. Evangelism: 7:00pm (enrollment required) St. Matthew Tabernacle of Praise “The S.T.O.P.” 3770 Santa Rosalia Dr. Baldwin Hills, CA 90008 (323) 291-1115 • F: (323) 293-0471 Rev. C.Barry Greene, Pastor Morning Worship: 8:00am Church School Hour: 10:15am Tuesday Hour of Power: 7:00pm E: Southern Saint Paul Church 4678 West Adams Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90016 (323) 731-2703 • Rev. Xavier L. Thompson, Senior Pastor/Teacher L.I.F.E. Groups Sundays: 9:30am Morning Worship Service: 11:00am Baptism & Communion (First Sunday): 4:00pm Weekly Bible Enrichment Tuesdays: 7:00pm North Campus: 9:00am Wednesday Bible Enrichment: 7:00pm 11137 Herrick Av•Pacoima 91331 (818) 899-8031•“Loving People Making Disciples”•

L.A. Focus/August 2017

New Pilgrim Baptist Church 8225 So. Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90003 (626)215-5175 • Office: (323) 789-6218 Bishop R. A. McKinley, Senior Pastor Sunday Worship: 11am

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


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 UpLift Christian Fellowship 4745 W. Slauson Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90056 (310) 927-3476 Pastor Anthony Thompson Sunday Worship: 10:00am Bible Study Wednesday: 7:00pm

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

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

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

In Altadena

Lifeline Fellowship Christian Center 2556 N. Lake Ave., Altadena, CA 91001 (626) 797-3585 • F: (626) 797-3233 • Pastor Charles D. Dorsey Sunday School: 9:00am Early Worship (Glory Prayer): 8:00am Morning Worship: 10:30am Evening Worship (1st & 2nd Sun.): 5:00pm Wed. Bible Study: 7:00pm Judson Baptist Church In Carson 451 E. 223rd St, Carson, CA 90745 (310) 834-2630 • F: (310) 513-0943 • Dr. Johnny V. Baylor, Pastor/Teacher Sunday Worship Service: 9:30am Children’s Church (Except 5th Sun): 9:30am 2nd & 4th Sun. Speak Life Youth Ministry: 12:30pm Wed. Bible Study: Noon Streaming live at

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

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

Greater Zion Church Family 2408 North Wilmington Avenue, Compton, CA 90222 (310) 639-5535 • E: Reverend Michael J. Fisher & Dr. W. Jerome Fisher, Pastor Emeritus Sunday Morning Worship: 9:00am, 11:00am & 5:00pm Wed. Bible Studies: Noon-7:00pm

Pastor Profile: Nathaniel Haley Sr. Church: United Christians Missionary Baptist Church How Long: 10 years Education: University of Utah Family: Wife Crystal, eight children How did you get into ministry? My father was a pastor (United Christians Missionary Baptist Church) so I had an idea from a young age that someday I would be involved in ministry. I’ll never forget when I was about 15, we would have the young deacons in our church pray and I prayed this one particular Sunday and the whole church went crazy. I knew then that God had a calling on my life. You’ve been in one church your whole life? No, I pastored another church, Antioch Baptist Church, which is directly around the corner. I was there 13 years before my father started getting ill and I was led to go back home. I still had to pray about it, but the Lord led me to resign and I made my way back to United and I’ve been there for the last 10 years. So you were groomed to be a pastor? That was my father’s intentions, but in the early years of my life, as most pastor’s kids do, I kind of strayed. I went to University of Utah, but when I got back in 1989, nothing I tried to do worked, because of the calling on my life. I was a sheet metal mechanic. I worked for a tire distribution company. I did a lot of different things and I was associating with a group of people who had nothing to do with church or ministry. I was having a good time…I thought. But none of it was ever working out until I finally accepted my call to the ministry. How old were you when you gave in? 21-22 years old. Did your father want you at his church or were you trying to prove that you could do it on your own? My father said, “You cannot play with ministry, and if this is something you’re not going to be committed and dedicated to, don’t do it.’ He gave me a month to think and pray about it, and told me to then tell him what the Lord told me. So I took about a month and went into prayer and disassociated myself from a lot of people I was around and God confirmed it in my spirit that this is my path. So I went back to my father and I told him it was confirmed and we went full speed ahead. I ended up preaching my first sermon where I am now —at United Christian — almost 30 years ago.

Was your progression in ministry seamless after that point? No, it’s never been effortless. Ministry is challenging. It’s work and anybody who really knows me, knows that I’m a perfectionist when it comes to ministry. I was an associate minister with my father for five years before I started pastoring and even as an associate minister I had great responsibility. What lesson did he teach you that you most value? His faithfulness to God, his love for God (and the people?) God blessed him and everything he asked God for, in his life in ministry, God granted that. But I believe it was because not only his dedication, but his commitment. That’s what I adopted. Was there ever a clash generationally? When I came back to United Christian, we were copastoring, I fondly remember one time, before I left to go to the other church when the choir was singing a song… Praise the lord Shabach. He stopped them in the middle of the song and said we don’t sing that kind of stuff here, we sing traditional music. It took him a long time to really understand that we have to pursue more contemporary ways of ministry, because we have a diverse congregation, and we have to minister to every generation. How did you get to Antioch Baptist Church? The pastor, L.C. Carter, was a friend of my father’s and when it came time for him to retire, he said the Lord placed on his heart that I was to be his successor. How was the experience of getting out on your own? I had been under my dad, so I was afraid to leave the nest in a sense, but I knew I had a calling to become a pastor, so I stepped out on faith and went to Antioch. Ironically, I stepped into a church where there were primarily senior citizens. We had about 30 senior deacons, 25 mothers, a few middle aged members, but nobody there my age. I had some good people around meincluding my father, but good deacons and good leaders who helped me to step up to the plate and be the pastor that I needed to be at the time. When you returned to United Christian as senior pastor, were there comparisons to your father? You always have people there who were saying, “you’re not your father and you can’t pastor me’, but today some of those same people are now my biggest supporters. How did your personal life evolve and was that a

challenge? It hasn’t been without challenges because what wife wants to share her husband with 150 people, but she’s gracious, loving and supportive, and that makes it a whole lot easier. Most of our children are grown now, but we still have two in our home, and a grandson, that require some time and attention. How did you get together? I was up to preach at a particular pastors anniversary, and she was directing the choir. I wasn’t necessarily looking at her in the pulpit, I wouldn’t say that, but I did notice her. Neither one of us was married at the time, but for whatever reason, that just wasn’t the time for us. We never lost touch and remained friends so when the time was right —in Gods time—He brought us back together 10 years ago and we’ve been together since.. What are you doing to engage the community and youth? Meeting the needs of the community from the perspective of food, clothing and believe it or not, some of our youth in our communities have gone through so much in the area of gang banging and dodging bullets, that some of them have PTSD and need counseling …and suicide prevention. We just want to let our community know our church is there and this is the perfect season for us to do that. There has been a decline in membership in many of our churches, but in this season- our membership is growing because we’re going beyond the four walls. I believe in holistic ministry, so you’re talking about mentally, spiritually, physically, finically, socially, vocationally, I j u s t want to provide a n atmosp h e r e where people can come and get what they need.

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

In Gardena

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

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

The Liberty Church 14725 S. Gramercy Place, Gardena, CA 90249 (310) 715-8400 Pastor David W. Cross Early Worship: 8:30am Morning Worship: 9am & 11am Children’s Church: Both Services Word Power Wed.: 7-8pm

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

In Hawthorne

Sunday Morning Worship: 8:00am & 11:00 am Sunday Bible Enrichment Class: 9:45am Mon.-Thurs. Bible Study: 7:00pm Wednesday Bible Study: 12:30pm & 7:00pm Victory Institutional Baptist Church 4712 West El Segundo Blvd., Hawthorne, CA 90250 (310) 263-7073 • Pastor Richard Williams, III Sunday Morning Worship: 9:00am Sunday Evening Worship: 6:00pm Wed. Mid-Week Worship: 7:00pm Bible Study Tuesday: Noon & 7:00pm

First Lady Files Miranda Lewis New Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church Miranda Lewis and her husband of 36 years, Pastor Phillip Lewis, were members of New Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church in the 1980s until they relocated back to their hometown in the Bay area in the 90s to raise their three children closer to family. In 2013, when her husband was named pastor of the Inglewood-based church, Lewis acquired a new role, that of first lady. As first lady, she is committed to raising health awareness in her church community. “I’m really involved with the First Ladies Health Initiative. It’s one of the first things I brought to our church.” Not only is she first lady, but she is also a member of New Mt. Pleasant’s church choir. “One of my other passions is just praising the Lord in song. I’m a choir member and a soloist.” In addition to the church choir and the First Ladies Health initiative, Miranda is also heavily involved in organizing New Mt. Pleasant’s Annual Women’s Retreat, which is being held at the end of the month. “It’s always been an event that women come back from refreshed, renewed and inspired.” When she’s not busy serving as First Lady, she is serving stylish looks. “I’ll be 68 this year and I’m still wearing my skinny jeans. So, I think I’m making a statement that age is only a number, and you’re only as old as you feel, and I feel great! I’ve had young women tell me when they grow up they want to be just like me.” 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 First Church of God Center of Hope 9550 Crenshaw Blvd., Inglewood, CA 90305 (323) 757-1804 Pastor Geremy L. Dixon Morning Worship: 8:00am & 11:00am Wed. Mid-Week Service: Noon Wed. Teaching Ministry: 7:00pm 1st Sunday Communion 5th Sunday Baptism

Antioch Church of Long Beach 1535 Gundry Ave. Long Beach, CA 90813 (562) 591-8778 • F: (562) 599-6048 Pastor Wayne Chaney Jr. Worship Services: 8am, 9:30am, 11:30am Tuesday Youth BibleStudy: 8:00am, 9:30am, 11:30am WednesdayBible Study: Noon

In Long Beach

Christ Second Baptist Church 1471 Martin Luther King, Jr., Ave. Long Beach, CA 90813 (562) 599-3421 • Fax: (562) 599-6175 • Rev. Welton Pleasant II, Senior Pastor

Sunday School: 8:30am Sunday Worship Service: 9:40am Wed. Bible Study: 7:00pm Wed Youth & Young Adult Ministry: 7:00pm

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

Grant AME Church of Long Beach 1129 Alamitos Ave. Long Beach, CA 90813 • (562) 437-1567 • Rev. Michael W. Eagle, Sr. Sun. Worship Experience: 10:45am 3rd Sun. Healing & Annointing: 10:45am Wed. Bible Study: Noon & 6pm Mothers of Murdered Youth & Children Were all receive a little attention, affection and love. New Philadelphia A.M.E. Church 6380 S. Orange Avenue, Long Beach, Ca 90805 (562)422-9300•F: (562) 422-9400 Pastor Darryl E. Walker, Senior Pastor Worship: 9:00am —1st & 5th Sunday Sunday School/New Member Classes: 8:00am Live Streaming on NuPhilly AppNuPhilly website: 9:00am 2nd thru 4th Sunday Worship:7:30 am &10:00am•Sunday School New Member Classes: 9:00am Live Streaming on the NuPhilly App/website: 7:30am Pastor’s Bible Study: Wednesday Eve 7:00pm Mid-Week Bible Study: Thursday 12:00 noon

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

Jacob’s Ladder Community Fellowship, inc. 1152 E. Hyde Park Blvd., Inglewood, CA 90303 (866) 330-1702 • F: (310) 674-0760 Watchman/Shepherd Dr. Robert T. Douglas Sr. Sunday School: 10:00am Morning Services: 11:45am Evening Service: 7:00pm Wed. Lock & Load Prayer: 7:00pm Wed. Bible Study: 7:30pm 3rd Friday Youth Night: 7:30pm KYTYM 1460AM (Sunday): 11:30am

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

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

New Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church 434 S. Grevillea, Inglewood CA 90301 (310) 673-6250 Office • (310) 673-2153 Rev. Dr. Phillip A. Lewis, D. D., D. Th., Senior Pastor

Second Baptist Church In Monrovia 925 S. Shamrock Avenue • P.O. Box 479, Monrovia, CA 91017 •(626) 358-2136 • F: (626) 303-2477

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

Wed. Mid-Week Service: 7:00pm Sunday School: 9:00am Sunday Worship: 10:30am

Christ Our Redeemer AME Church In Irvine 45 Tesla, Irvine, CA 92618 (949) 955-0014 • F:(949) 955-0021 • Pastor Mark E. Whitlock, II Sunday Worship: 8:00am, 10:30am New Generation Praise Service: 10:30am Sun. Bible Univ.: 9:30am Tues. Interactive Bible Study: 7:00pm Wed. Pastor's Bible Study: Noon, 7:00pm Thurs. Bible Study: 7:00pm Fri. Singles Bible Study (1st Fri): 7:00pm

Bishop W.M. Larue Dillard, Phd. Sunday Worship: 7:45am, 10:45am, 4:45pm Ministry Worship to Children/Youth Sunday: 9:45am - 10:45am Prayer/Academy of Biblical Studies (Wed): 10:45am - 6:45pm First AME Santa Monica In Santa Monica 1823 Michigan Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90404 (310) 450-0331 F: (310) 450-4680 Facebook: First AME Church Santa Monica Rev. Reuben W. Ford, Pastor Sunday School: 9:30am Sunday Worship: 11:00am Bible Study/Prayer Meditation: Thurs 6pm “The Church In The Heart Of The Community with The Community at Heart”

L.A. Focus/August 2017

Crusade Christian Faith Center 801 S. La Brea Avenue, Inglewood, CA 90301 (310) 330-8535 Bishop Virgil D. Patterson Sr.

Sunday School: 9:30am Early Worship: 8:00am Morning Worship: 11:00am First Sunday Evening Worship: 5:00pm Mid-Week Bible Study Wed.: 7:00pm Radio: KTYM 1460 AM Saturdays at 8:00pm & Mondays at 7:00pm


From the Pulpit:

Blessed Family Covenant Church “ Give Us This Day” Matthew 6:9-11 y oldest niece was recently murdered by an exboyfriend. When I received the news early in the morning, I found myself weeping. My heart felt wounded. As a preacher, pastor and leader, I feel I have an understanding and grasp of death, its reality, its origin and its place in our living. In fact, I am seldom overwhelmed by death, but this time I wept for about 30 minutes, calling out the name of Jesus. My niece, about fifteen months earlier, was on our prayer list because she had lost her husband and youngest adult daughter in a horrific automobile accident, and now she was gone. I felt for my oldest sister, her mother, and my niece’s oldest daughter who was now alone. The day was sprinkled with moments of weeping and when night came I was grateful my family had survived the day. The following morning, I awoke with an overwhelming sense of hope and I was grateful for the day— this day of hope. The Lord Jesus, responding to a request from His disciples, outlined a model of prayer in Matthew 6. He began the prayer with praise and worship: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it in heaven. The first petition that followed this opening was, “Give us this day . . .” What a daily battle cry for every believer and for the Church –Give us this day! Since You, O Lord, are the creator of every day for the Scriptures tell us in Psalms 118:24 “This is the day which the Lord hath made.” O Father, give us this day, lest we think and believe that our enemy, the devil, holds the day. Regardless of the devil’s mischief for the day, The Lord made the day and all that is in the day is under His hand. The twist and turns, the victories and the defeats will work out for our good. Those of us who do love Him and for those of us who are the called, this is our hope in living, because God gave us this day. Morning by morning, new mercies we see in the day. We must seize each day to the glory of God. Why? With a political climate of hide, lie and blame and a social climate that disregards life and living, we need the Father to give us the day. Unlike Joshua, we don’t need the sun to stand still. We don’t need a longer day. We need an effective day. We need to be able to work while it is day, and I mean work the will of God, before the night comes and darkness becomes the norm. We need to walk wisely, while we can still spiritually discern the times because truly the days are evil and each day has a sufficient evil. Give us this day, O Lord, to hear and fulfill Your Word—to comprehend Your will. Just as you delivered David’s enemies into his hands, deliver this day into our hands. Give us the victories that will surely be won in this day. We will put on the whole armor of God and prepare to battle all the Goliaths. The Word declares ‘that as your days are, so shall your strength be’. So, there is strength in every day given to us by God. Strength to succeed, strength to make it— strength to carry our daily cross. Strength to obey. Strength to forgive. Strength to love the brethren. I pray to be like Caleb, so that as I age, I can say with boldness, “I am still as strong today as I was on the day Moses sent me. I believe this is the way it is when God gives us the day. If you are weak, say you are strong. The song poet says, ‘You are Pastor Wendy Howlett strong enough if you count it so.’ God gives us the day and the strength needed for the day. The Hebrew writer declares in the third chapter, “Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.”

L.A. Focus/August 2017



MILESTONES Queen is survived by his wife of 38 years, Phyllis, 10 children, 26 grand children, and 28 great grand children. The funeral service for Queen will be o n Saturday August 14, 2017.

Black Alliance for Just Immigration Convenes the FirstEver Black-led Border Delegation in the U.S. San Diego, CA - This weekend the Black Alliance for Just Immigration convened the first-ever Black-led delegation and strategy meeting at the U.S.-Mexico border. The 40-person delegation, which included clergy, organizers, attor-

neys, and researchers from across the country, gathered to address the acute needs of Black immigrants detained or impacted by border enforcement. “Given the shifting political landscape, there is an urgent for us to amplify our efforts and develop an analysis and strategy for long-term engagement of Black migrants throughout the U.S. Mexico Border region,” said Opal Tometi, Executive Director of BAJI and co-founder #BlackLivesMatter. As the crisis of global displacement reaches its peak, displacing over 65 million people worldwide, oppressed peoples from various countries have begun to arrive in the U.S. Over the last year there has been an increase in the number of African and Caribbean migrants entering the U.S. at the southern border. In fact, migrants seeking refuge from climate disasters, social and political unrest and persecution

In Westchester Arise Christian Center 6949 La Tijera Blvd. Suite C, Westchester, CA 90045 (310)568-8445•F: (310) 568-8430 • 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 Intercessory Prayer Thursday: 11:30pm - 12:30pm Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church 980 Rio Grande Street, Pasadena, CA 91104 *Mailing Address: 1416 N. Mentor Ave. Pasadena, 91104 (626) 794-4875 • F: (626) 794-7815 Pastor W. Harrison Trotter Sunday School: 8:30am Sunday Worship: 10:00am Bible Study Wednesday: 7:00pm Intercessory Prayer (Fourth Wed.): 7:00pm Christians Uniting To Make A Difference -Eph. 4:13

Someone will hear the Lord’s voice today. Therefore, let us ask the Father for this day and for the souls that will exit darkness and move into the marvelous light of God. My niece had opened her life up to the Lord. Some of us have family or loved ones who reside outside the arc of safety. Friends or neighbors who are lost. We need the Father to give us this day so that we can snatch some out of the fire. Give us this day to move your angels, our ministering spirits into position to oversee their lives until they repent. We need this day given to us for the souls that as of yet don’t know the Lord. Father, give us this day to reach the lost for your kingdom. God created us to be like Him—to rule over His creation. Let us be cleansed of our sins. We no longer want to live below the line of despair. Father, give us this day to rise to the position you have called us to; to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Give us this day the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Himself. May the eyes of our understanding be so enlightened that we know the hope of His calling, the riches of His glory in us and the exceeding greatness of His power to us who sit here this day and believe. Give us this day to become the people of God, the body of Christ, a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. Give us this day. The Scriptures says, ‘From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, your name is worthy to be praised.’ It doesn’t matter what is in the day, the Lord gives us the day and He is worthy of praise in the day. His provision is daily available for us as it was with Israel in the wilderness. Whether it’s mercy, grace, love, joy, comfort or peace, the Lord provides. Since the Lord inhabits praise, He lives where there is praise. We will pull God into our day with our daily praise. I need this day so that my praise will shake heaven. I know I can make it and I know I will be better, if He gives me this day. May this become your daily petition – Father, give us this day.

are arriving daily. BAJI and allies have organized, raised awareness and provided direct response and advocacy assistance to groups on the ground. The delegation beared witness to the crisis first hand hearing emotional testimony about the harrowing journey from Haiti to the US, which included experiences of gender-based violence, illness, and anti-black racism. The delegation developed knowledge of the root causes driving the crisis, and discussed strategies for policy changes and practices to support Black migrant communities on the border. Tometi continues: “Ultimately, we hope that this convening will raise awareness about the challenges facing Black migrants at the border and lay the groundwork for an investment in resources and infrastructure by the social justice movement for Black border communities.”

Spirit of Zion Fellowship Church In Van Nuys 10853 Victory Blvd. North Hollywood, CA 91601 (805) 517-1907 • Pastor E.V. Hill II Sunday Worship: 1:00pm Children's Church: 1:11pm

St. Stephen Missionary Baptist Church 1720 N. Walnut Avenue, La Puente, CA 91744 (626) 918-3225 • F: (626) 918-3265 Pastor Tony Dockery

In La Puente

Sunday School: 9:30 AM Early Worship: 8:00 AM Morning Worship: 11:00 AM Spanish Service: 9:30AM Bible Study: Every Wednesday 7:00 PM

In Bethlehem Church 1550 North Fair Oaks Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91103 (626) 794-5211 • F: (626) 794-6592 Pastor Christopher A. Bourne


Sunday School: 9:00am Sunday Worship: 10:00am Tuesday Bible Study: 7:00pm Mid-day Worship Thursday: Noon

Pastor continued from page 20 What value has your church brought to the LA community at large? Our church is a historical landmark in the community. Our motto is; ”United Christians all the way up.” What the means is we’re lifting up Jesus and we’re giving Him all we have to do whatever we need to do, to change lives, to encourage, uplift, edify, to build, to be a source of strength and empowerment to the people who come to our church and the community. So our church being there matters. Allen West continued from page 7 about the uranium deal of Hillary Clinton, or the increased flexibility after the reelection of Barack Obama towards Russia? The Democrats can come up with all the new brand names they want. I’m reminded of two songs by The Who: “Who are You?” and “We Won’t be Fooled Again.” Ok, y’all go back to the drawing board and try again. This brand theme reflects the real motto of the progressive socialists of the Democrat Party: “Y’all Suck.” Allen West is a political commentator, retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel, and former member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Learn more about Allen West’s vision for this nation in his book Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Faith, Family and Freedom or visit

Through the Storm Family Survivor Recalls Tragic Story Behind The New Film, Detroit


he’s known for the last two years that the moment she’d have to face a tragic past was coming. Being consulted in the process didn’t make it any easier. But Thelma Pollard-Gardner felt strongly that it was time for her brother’s story to be heard. On August 4, when filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow’s “Detroit” makes its debut at the box office, everyone will finally be able to see what happened in the Motor City on Tuesday, July 25, 1967 during four days of civil unrest when three black teens were murdered by Detroit police officers in the Algiers Motel. Her brother—Aubrey Pollard—was one of them. Last month, during the 50th anniversary of the Detroit riots, Pollard-Gardner joined some of the living survivors of the Algiers Motel incident and other surviving family members along with a star-studded cast that included Anthony Mackie, John Boyega, Jacob Lattimore, Algee Smith and John Krazsinki for the film’s world premiere held at Detroit’s Fox Theatre. The retired science teacher had been told by the filmmakers that it was violent, so she prepared for the worst. “I thought oh, my Lord, I don’t know if I can look at this again.” Pollard-Gardner said. “However, when I saw the movie, it wasn’t as bad as having seen those [real life] survivors from that hotel— my brother’s friends and associates…their faces and battered bodies. It was gruesome”. Still, seeing the last hours of her brother’s life played out on the silver screen in the nearly two and a half hour movie was difficult and unsettling. The hardest part was reliving the painful memories of not only how her brother died, but the devastating impact it had on her family. She remembers it all as if it were yesterday. “I was 16. The riots had gone on for several days and the police were out of control. From the front porch, I could see the National Guard and the army ride up and down the street in tanks and the smoke from the fires. There was a curfew, so I didn’t go out. Racial tensions had always been high in Detroit. My oldest brother used to say the police used to pull him over and tell him, “Run nigger”. “The riots had started on a Saturday night at 12th and Clairmount when the police raided a Blind Pig. It was a gambling place and from my understanding— people were in there celebrating some soldiers who were home from Vietnam.” The nation had been in the midst of what was dubbed “America’s long hot summer” with uprisings around the county. With that raid on a hot summer night, the spark was lit for one of the deadliest and most destructive riots in U.S. history. Ironically, for all of the destruction of the riots—43 dead, including a four year old girl; over 1100 injured; 7,000 arrests; 2,509 stores looted or burned; 388 families displaced; 412 buildings burned and property damage of $40-45 million—it was the incident at the Algiers Motel —an establishment associated with gambling and prostitution, that would come to represent the worst of what happened. “I never knew anything about the Algiers Motel before that,” Pollard-Gardner recalls. “It was a place for my brother and his friends to go…a hangout. Proximity wise, they could walk there. There was gambling and drinking. My brother did not drink and did not have

My Dad went to the morgue with his mother to identify the body and couldn’t believe what he saw. It was much worse than in the movie and he was in total shock that they’d beat his son up –Thelma Pollard-Gardner like that.

weed. That part of the movie was embellished, but he did gamble and for me, he was a protector, but if you said something he didn’t like, he might hit you.” Looking back, she says her brother shouldn’t even have been there. He’d been there the night before and reported to family members that police had come to the hotel and pushed them around. “My Mom said, ‘Don’t go back there tonight, Aubrey, because if they came there and roughed you up the night before, they’ll come back and kill you. But at 19, you’re not going to follow your Mom. His attitude was I’ll be okay, don’t worry about it.” Sadly, that would be the last time she ever saw her brother alive. About a dozen mostly youth—Carl Cooper and Auburey Pollard; friends Michael Clark, Lee Forsythe, and James Sortor; two white women, Juli Hysell and Karen Malloy; Vietnam vet Robert Greene, Charles Moore, and members of "The Dramatics" singing group— Fred Temple, Roderick Davis and Cleveland Larry Reed— had taken refuge from the rioting in the motel’s annex. Police rushed the hotel later that night. In the hours that followed, they were beaten, tortured and three lay dead. “About six o clock that Wednesday morning. His friend—James Sortor— called and asked to speak with my mother,” Pollard-Gardner continued. “They’d been at the Algiers together. I’m thinking it’s six o’clock in the morning, but he said it’s an emergency. All I remember is my Mom started screaming. Because the officers had never made a police report, her mother was left to call around to police stations and ask where was her son, and at first, no one had any information on Pollard or the other two teens shot at the motel. In an effort to cover up the incident, the police left the scene and the bodies to be discovered by others. With the eyes of the nation on Detroit, the FBI was called in to investigate the Detroit Police Department. Two to three days later, officers Ronald August, Robert Paille and David Senak, were taken into custody and eventually charged in three different cases, including murder, conspiracy and federal civil rights violations. “My Dad went to the morgue with his mother to identify the body and couldn’t believe what he saw. It was much worse than in the movie and he was in total shock that they’d beat his son up like that. He was shot in the arm with a rifle you’d shoot a moose with and was beat so bad that a lot of make up was

used just to make the body suitable for burial”. In that moment, everything changed for the Pollard family. “The one who really was impacted was my older brother. He was in Vietnam and he and my brother were real close. He always said, if I would have never gone to the service, my brother wouldn’t be dead. Her Dad never spoke about it, though she found out later that he’d gone to the motel crime scene and collected pellet fragments. A brother suffered three nervous breakdowns. Her Mom just wanted justice. “To lose your child in such a brutal way, my mom attended the trial every day. They didn’t drive back then so all three ladies—my mom, Fred Temple’s mother and Carl Cooper’s mother had someone to drive them 70 miles away to be in court everyday.” Sadly, justice was something they would never get, even with a confession from two of the three police officers involved, including the one who shot her brother. The trial had been moved 70 miles away to Flint, Michigan with the defense arguing that the officers wouldn’t get a fair trial in Detroit. Witnesses were reluctant to testify for fear of reprisals from the police. Pollard-Gardner recalls that, “the witnesses they did have, they tried to discredit. [Survivor] Michael Clark was ultimately sent to prison for something else and never spoke again about it. Another survivor, Lee Forsythe, also went to prison. They caught him on something else, but their whole lives had changed.” An all-white jury was subsequently seated in that trial and the two that would follow. In each of the trials and appeals lasting over the next five years, the officers— who were released from the Detroit Police Department— would eventually be acquitted. Despite her own anger, PollardGardner— who went through her “rebellious stage” of wanting to be a political activist—had inner strength and faith enough to excel. “It had such a horrible impact on my family,” she reflects. “We’d been real close and I always felt so loved by my parents and brothers. I was the baby of these four boys, but somehow I was able to avoid the obstacles my brothers had being black men. They didn’t necessarily make it like I did. I eventually went on to college and got my degree.” Each of the families Storm continued to page 25

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MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Dr. Darrell Ezell, Dean, Interfaith Action Program, at Claremont Lincoln University When it comes to fighting for human rights and equality, Dr. Darrell Ezell has had a front row seat to it through his family. In fact, it safe to say that social justice is part of his DNA. His mother was a civil rights activist and teacher who worked to integrate the school system in Choctaw County in Alabama. His father was an academic professor and civil rights activist who helped establish the Alabama Democratic Conference, which ensured that the rights, responsibilities and concerns of African-American people would be heard in Montgomery Alabama. So, it’s only natural that Ezell now serves as the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Claremont Lincoln University in Claremont, California and has worked as an activist fighting for civil rights. “Being involved in social justice activities from a very young age, social justice work has always been something meaningful for me,” he points out. “But we have to move beyond the march and sit at the

Money Matters continued from page 8 LLC has an employee base of about 250 and is worth at least $1.2 billion. Ranked number five is fast food franchise Manna Inc. Stationed in Louisville the company is owned and operated by Ulyesses Bridgeman Jr. The establishment is the second largest Wendy’s franchise owner in the nation with revenues of $630 million and 14,000 employees. Known for their perpetual success in the food industry, The Anderson- Dubose Company is ranked number six. Based in Lordstown Ohio while supplying McDonald’s and Chipotle restaurants with paper supplies. CEO Warren E. Anderson has team of 400 people and generates at least $545 million in revenue. Global Automotive Alliance, LLC is ranked number seven. Located in Detroit, this is an automotive part supplier founded in 1999 as a partnership of companies with automobile manufactures. William F. Pickard is the founder and the company has a staff of 1400 and revenue of $520 million. Number eight is Thompson Hospitality, a food services provider in Reston, VA. Under the leadership of CEO Warren Thompson, the company started in 1992 with 31 restaurants and has since employed 4000 people employees with revenue of $485 million. With a market capitalization of $90 million, Radio One, Inc. (number nine) is a publicly traded company listed on the NASDAQ exchange. Known for its strong presence in radio broadcasting, CEO Alfred Liggins III and his team of 1,000 people holds revenues of $450 million. Coming in at number ten, SET Enterprises, Inc. provides metal processing services from Warren Michigan where CEO Sid E. Taylor and 400 employees generate and maintain revenue of $400 million. The U.S. Census' Survey of Business Owners, which provides detailed information every five years for Blackowned businesses, including the number of firms, gross sales and receipts, employee and annual payroll information—only considers firms whose owners control 51 percent or more of the equity. David A. Love continued from page 7 often, and follow the lead of Senator Kamala Harris, a rising star who made Attorney General Jeff Sessions nervous, and may very well make Donald Trump Jr. cry in an upcoming Senate hearing.

table. You have to gain a level of preparation and skills to sit at the negotiations table.” Much of Ezell’s inspiration for the work that he now does is the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, which is he says was driven by religion as much as it was survival. So as the college graduate headed to grad school, Ezell says he decided to switch from the safe and cozy career choice of experimental psychologist to finding a career that would support his humanitarianism spirit. In his current role at Claremont Lincoln University, he coordinates academic programs, curriculum, accreditation, the strategic academic plan for the institution, and ensures that the University demonstrates excellence as it pursues its missions of delivering an engaging graduate education. The Alabama Native is currently preparing to spearhead a new center at Claremont Lincoln University. The center will be coming out of their social impact program, and will focus on local grass-root issues and concerns in the Southern California area. But the impact of what he is doing is just as global as reflected in their upcoming 2017 digital conference— “Navigating A World In Transition”—on September 12. “With this conference, there will be five virtual hubs around the world. There will be a hub here in Claremont, and everything will take place online. It’s free and open to the public. The conversation this go around is to focus on navigating the world in transition. We will be providing information for individuals to promote positive and social change and also understand more about our international landscape, and the intersectionality between religion and culture and its impact today on foreign affairs.” While training radical social leaders is now his aim, Ezell knows what it takes to navigate the world of human and civil rights on the ground level. He participated with the Union Theological Seminary and the Interfaith Center of New York in conjunction with the United Nations prayer breakfast in a role that was a mix between interfaith work, human rights and labor union work. It was there that he put his mind and body into action. Although he began his work solely as an intern, his vision was much bigger. The Alabama native decided to

make the move to California and work to advocate for Latino immigrants working in wineries. “Picking up where Dr. King left off,” he states. In the summer of 2004, Ezell had the opportunity of a lifetime to turn his vision into reality. He got the chance to work on the front line and engage in cross cultural lines with the Latino community, in particular. The mission was to campus a trailer park, housing both documented and undocumented Latinos, and encourage them to join a union. It was there that the young seminary student experienced up close non-worker rights issues taking place. There was no amount of training, workshops, or seminars that could prepare them for what he saw. “It was no longer about signing folks up, but instead about reporting these crimes and malicious issues that were taking place,” he says. He noticed similarities between the immigrants and his own community with regard to lack of health care, lack of sufficient housing, all the things necessary for substantial living. He realized that exploitation and suffering has no color. “While we can work literally at the grass roots level and on the frontline, I needed to gain some training.” This experience, in fact led him to pursue a PhD at the University of Birmingham in Birmingham, England focusing on religion and diplomacy. His vision had grown from wanting to help immigrant workers to wanting to formulate a dissertation to provide key recommendations for policy makers, foreign policy officials, diplomats, and most importantly to the next administration that was coming into office (the Obama administration at the time). The marriage of education and activism is one that Ezell hopes to instill in the students who come to Claremont. “Our program centers around students identifying some type of social problem that’s taking place within their community or professional context that they’d like to work on in conjunction with the degree classes and the general education section which we call the Claremont core. “We’re training leaders but most importantly, we’re training radical, social leaders to promote positive social change around the world,” states Ezell.

Say what you will about the GOP, but they stayed focused on undermining the Obama presidency and attempting to decimate his signature accomplishment, Obamacare. Similarly, Democrats would be well served to continuously bang the drum of a Trump impeachment, and his removal via the 25th Amendment on the grounds he is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” If the Democrats want any chance of rebuilding, they must fight and eradicate all Republican measures to disrupt and destroy democracy. This includes eliminating gerrymandering of electoral districts, fighting voter suppression efforts on the state and federal level that are meant to target Black and brown voters, and stem the rising tide of GOP-controlled states. Once they control two-thirds of the states, conservatives awash with Koch brothers money will realize their dream of a constitutional convention to push a balanced budget amendment, eliminate federal taxes, limit the role of government, and threaten our freedoms under the Bill of Rights. Finally, the Democratic Party would be well served to align with the resistance and social justice movements that are working on the ground to bring about change in the lives of everyday people. Much is at stake, and the Democrats must ask if they are up to the task. If not, they need new blood and better ideas to get the job done. What they are facing is a gunfight, and butter knives won’t do. David A. Love is a journalist and commentator who has appeared on CNN, MSNBC and BBC. He is a writer for theGrio, Atlanta Black Star, and and his work has appeared in the HuffPost, The Nation and The Guardian. Follow David A. Love on Twitter at @davidalove.

rant, undeserving, and unqualified. “In Fisher v. University of Texas, the Supreme Court held that colleges and universities had a ‘lawful’ and ‘compelling interest’ in including racial diversity as a part of their mission because of the ‘educational benefits that flow from student body diversity.’ The court also held that race could be considered along with merit-based criteria in admissions decisions. Now, Attorney General Sessions wants to turn back the clock to darker days in our history when minority students couldn’t get into their schools of choice because of racist admissions practices.”

Justice continued from page 6 the Trump Administration, the CBC’s worst fears about Attorney General Sessions are quickly becoming reality. “Instead of standing up for himself to a president who called him ‘very weak’ and ‘beleaguered,’ Attorney General Sessions has chosen to pick on minority students who are in pursuit of a college education, opportunity, and the American Dream. In doing so, he’s appealing to the lowest common denominator in our country, people who wrongly believe that minority students who benefit from efforts to promote diversity and equality are igno-

Storm continued from page 23 received $62,500 to settle after filing lawsuits against the city of Detroit and the site on which the Algiers Motel once stood is now Virginia Park. Pollard Gardner has kept up with news surrounding the Algiers Motel incident reporting, “The officer that shot my brother is dead. I believe the other one is dead as well, but the snake of all the police officers— David Senak— is now a deacon at a church.” While justice eluded her brother, she hopes the film can make a difference and that it leads to a greater sensitivity on the part of police and citizens. “The way the tension is right now in the United States, I hope that it doesn’t spark any additional uprising, just because the climate right now in America is real volatile. But there are a lot of people who are in denial of racism. I don’t know that it will impact those who believe racism doesn’t exist and that the police are justified in what they do, but this stuff has been going on forever and this movie is validation of that. I want people to be aware of what’s going on, the history behind it and why black people feel the way they do.”

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L.A. Focus/August 2017




L.A. Focus/August 2017

rowing up, Dondré Whitfield wasn’t the least bit interested in acting. In fact, it was something he avoided because he says he didn’t want to get beat up. “In my neighborhood, being in a school play was like being in the glee club,” says the Brooklyn, New York native. But there was a teacher who saw talent in Whitfield and urged him to direct his energy towards acting. “I ended up getting in some trouble and she finally said, ‘you either come be in my play or you are going to serve your detention.’ Well, I ain’t no dummy,” Whitfield continues. “Being on stage was a strength as opposed to being a weakness. I was that student who finished my work before everybody else. Having too much energy and time on my hands was already a recipe for disaster as a kid. “My report card said ‘Dondré is an outstanding student, however….” So, when I got on stage I’d finally found a home for all of my energy, wit, and outspokenness. I was blessed that I found this outlet at such a young age.” His first professional acting gig came in 1984 with a recurring role on the popular series “The Cosby Show.” Since that time, the 48-year-old has built up an impressive resume including a two yearrun on The NBC daytime soap opera, Another World, the UPN sitcom Girlfriends and film appearances in Two Can Play That Game and Pastor Brown along with his wife Salli Richardson. In 2015, Whitfield joined the cast of the BET reality comedy series Real Husbands of Hollywood. His latest role is as Remy on the Oprah Winfrey Network drama series, “Queen Sugar.” It’s a role he immediately felt drawn to. “As soon as I read the script, I said this is going to be fire with Oprah being the launch pad for it. I knew the character of Remy was going to be somebody I was going to do great justice to. In fact, after I did the audition, I actually sent [creator] Ava [Duvernay] a text message. My wife did Ava’s first film, I Will Follow. Then I did her second film, Middle of Nowhere, so we knew each other. “I said to her, ‘Look, I know you have to make a great decision here, but I just want you to know that there’s nobody else who’s going to be able to do Remy justice like me. I just have to let you know that because I feel this deep down in my spirit.’ And it was true. Apparently, she felt the same way because not long after that she called me and asked if I would come join the party and that was it.” So well-liked is the series, that it has been picked up for a third season and regularly averages 2.4 million viewers per episode in delayed viewing. Interestingly, Whitfield’s wife actress Salli Richardson directed two episodes of the drama in the first season. “One of the assistant directors came to my trailer just before she was about to begin directing the first episode of the show. She said ‘wow man your wife is going to be directing this episode, what do you think that’s going to be like? I told her, ‘we’ve been together for 20 years.


Dondre T.Whitfield

She directs me every day, it’s going to be fine.’” Whitfield and Richardson married in 2002 and were named by Ebony Magazine one of the "10 Hottest Couples.” They have two children together, a daughter named Parker and son named Dondré Jr. The Emmy-nominated actor who was trained at Performing Arts High in New York City admits that while he’s achieved a level of success, managing that success with his Christian walk is a struggle. “When you are a person who lives by boundaries and you are in an industry that actually encourages you to forget about your boundaries, that can be very challenging—particularly as a married man. When I’m on a set and people are trying to tell me how awesome I am, before I walk into my home I have to literalize all of that messaging because my wife is not going to be telling me how awesome I am. She’s going to be asking me to take out the garbage,” he notes. “So, if I walk in with the expectation that my wife is going to fulfil the same things that people on a set or people in the street are going to fulfill, then I’m not managing my expectations properly, and that’s going to get me in trouble. I’m having to constantly keep those things in perspective and to constantly cling to my faith.” While maintaining integrity in a field that often lacks it, Whitfield points out that it’s his job that provides a platform for what really fuels him and that’s working as a life coach to help others live out the purpose that God has ordained for them. “My purpose is to train young males how to become men and how to heal and restore women out of the hands of males who don’t know how to be men,” he explains. “When I speak on those subjects, I’m speaking out of a great understanding, and my great understanding comes from suffering in those areas and watching other people suffer and struggle in those areas.” He admits that the early days of his marriage provided an opportunity to better understand the dynamic between men and women and how to identify issues that triggers a breakdown in relationships. “When I engaged with my wife, there was difficulty and I didn’t’ understand what that is, so I began to scrutinize and examine it. And I finally came up with the answer. Because all day long, someone is telling you one thing, and then you go to another space, and they aren’t telling you that same thing, you’re going to get your feelings hurt. So, when people in relationships get their feelings hurt, what they do is run to fill those voids in different ways. Some people do it with drugs, dangerous behavior like driving fast, alcohol, outside relationships, throwing themselves into their work. And all of those behaviors are dangerous to yourself because they do great damage. “When you damage yourself, you’re not the person that you need to be for your partner and for your relationship. So subsequently, your partner

I walk through life knowing that I am a servant who’s here to help others and that

sometimes in my flesh I make mistakes. But God grants me with grace that’s necessary to have another opportunity the next day.

and your relationship will suffer as a result of it. And it did for some time. Until I began to get handle on it, so now I have a greater understanding of exactly what that is, and it’s so much easier to manage and to navigate.” Whitfield also attributes his success in his marriage and life in general to God. Though, he grew up in church and got baptized as a child, he says after better understand God’s Word, he got baptized again as an adult and strives to live out his faith in every area of his life. “I walk through life knowing that I am a servant who’s here to help others and that sometimes in my flesh I make mistakes. But God grants me with grace that’s necessary to have another opportunity the next day.”

L.A. Focus On The Word August 2017 Issue  
L.A. Focus On The Word August 2017 Issue