L.A. Focus Newspaper December 2022 Issue

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VOLUME XXVII • ISSUE 10 •December 2022 >> WWW.LAFOCUSNEWSPAPER.COM L.A. FOCUS @LAFOCUSNEWS << CHURCH NEWS Is Carson the site of the next home for City of Refuge? Hlollywood Buzz Viola Davis Goes for an EGOT with Grammy Nomination SAVING GRACE Kevin Hart >> SEE PAGE 6 Michelle Obama Sparks Viral Frenzy with Recent Remarks Concerning Her Marriage Up Front SEE PAGE 10

Mayor-Elect Karen Bass Victory by The Numbers; Hundreds of Black and Mexican Families File Racial Reparations Claim against City of Palm Springs; How Organ ized Hate Groups are Thriving Right Here in Southern California

Viola Davis Goes For EGOT Status; Will Smith Hopes Angered Fans Won’t Take Out Their Wrath by Not Supporting His New Film


Octavia Spencer

Red Carpet Style

Eye On Gospel


From The Pulpit of

Greater Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church- “The Sorrowful End of the Unsaved Christian”

In Good Taste

Chef Nyesha Arrington

Kevin Hart

Game Changer

“Afro Unicorn: First Black Women Owned Brand Licensed In Major Retail Stores”


In Mexico Why The Murder of Shanquella Robinson Has Captivated So Many

Fans and entertain ment industry in siders are remembering Oscar and Grammy win ning singer and ac tress, Irene Cara. Best known for the theme songs of “Fame” and “Flashdance”,and her performance as the original “Sparkle”, Cara passed away last month.

October 2022 advisory board #LAFOCUS @L.A.Focus @Lafocusnews Address all correspondence to: L.A. Focus, 333 W. Florence Ave., Suite C333 Inglewood, CA 90301 • (310) 677-6011 Subscription rates $25.00 per year. www.lafocusnewspaper.com Publisher/Editor-In-Chief Staff Writers Photographer Advertising Lisa Collins Gerald Bell,,Keith Delawder, Chez’Ney Hadley Ian Foxx Kisha Smith staff
Crawford Lem Daniels Bob Blake Siebert,
West Angeles C.O.G.I.C. Bishop
City of Refuge Bishop
Greater Zion Church Family
Southern Saint Paul
Faithful Central Bible
Mt. Moriah Baptist Church Pastor
Baptist Minister’s Conference Pastor
Design: UpScale Media Group L.A. Focus/ December 2022 3 con
Napoleon Brandford
Brandford, Shank & Co.
Enrichment Fellowship Int’l
Stanley Bob Blake
Charles Blake
Noel Jones
Pastor Michael J.T. Fisher
Church Rev. Xavier L. Thompson
Church Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer
Emeritus Melvin Wade
K.W. Tulloss
Minister’s Assoc. Bishop Robert T.
Sr. honorary advisors Cover
tents L.A. Focus Publications
A Time To Give “Crypto
6 17 18
(Left): Mayor-Elect Karen Bass posing with LA Pastors who prayed with her on election day; Congresswoman-Elect Sydney Kamlager takes a moment to pose with Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries; Legendary entertainers Patti LaBelle(L) ,Gladys Knight(C) and AHF President Michael Weinstein, together at The Kennedy Center during a free con cert hosted by AHF to commemorate World AIDS Day; Actress Kerry Washington shares a merry moment with Daisy Duck at Disneyland Park in Anaheim.
Fit or Unfit: The Herschel Walker Debate
Chaos” Tim Coston
Michelle Clease
Cover Story Diddy Gets in on The Weed Game with $185 Million Deal; Jay-Z, Byron Allen Bid to Acquire Washington Commanders Biz News Briefs On the Money First Lady Files
4 From The Editor “Life
12 Hollywood Buzz Commentary “There Is Good in This Divided Country”
Money Matters
Headlines From
Doug Williams Launches New Label; Pas tor Mike’s Season; Lecrae Releases Church Clothes 4; The 2023 Class of Gospel’s Grammy Nominees 8 Head 2 Head 16 9
Church News
Is Carson the Next Home for the City of Refuge?; LA Baptist Community Mourns Pastor Kelly Taylor
Favorite Looks 22
Saving Grace

“There Is Good in This Divided Country”

Politics is a polarizing sport that pits one side against the other, and there is a lot of mudsling ing going on, which is tragically amplified by the mainstream media. The current state of the United States is accompanied by a series of neg ative feelings, including anger, distrust and resentment; yet, as the holiday season draws closer, I can't help but think of the positive elements of our country. Is there any thing good left? Are we not looking hard enough for it?

The Democratic and Republican parties have both competed to the best of their abilities, debating ideas, pol icies and the current state of the U.S. Each side did its best, and although neither the left nor the right will ac cept the other, I'm calling on all Americans to set aside our political and ideological differences and search for the positive qualities that exist in one another. This is a step toward bringing our nation together and putting an end to the tribalism that has kept us apart in ways that this country has not seen in over a century.

Taking the initiative to seek the kindness in folks, no matter their ideological views, can serve as a reminder that humanity can be found even in those who are differ ent from us. It enables all of us to take a moment to reflect and acknowledge that the other person is not an adver sary or an enemy, but rather a fellow citizen. It's possible that we won't agree on a lot of things; in fact, it's possible that we won't agree on anything. Yet, there is one thing on which we must never disagree: the idea of America. The principles of independence, liberty and individualism that have helped to establish the U.S. as a great example of opportunity and hope for people the world over.

Politicians, celebrities and the wealthy incur much criticism for their remarks and acts. Undoubtedly, some of it is justified, but the hatred that arises from their ad versaries is unjustified. Even among those we perceive to

be evil, we must search for the positive.

When the husband of Nancy Pelosi was viciously as saulted, we should have prayed for him and for her, not propagated falsehoods and acted as if the crime was jus tifiable. When Donald Trump and Joe Biden contracted COVID, we should have prayed for their recovery rather than longed for their demise. And when a politician sends us a message of optimism wishing us health and happi ness, we should embrace it and carry it forward.

Freedom, that which is safeguarded and guaranteed by the Constitution, is the greatest gift that anyone could ever hope to receive, and we have all inherited it. We must do all in our power to preserve the protections that enable us to publicly disagree with one another to such an extreme degree and to publicly question one another. These experiences instill in us the significance of seeing beyond ourselves and recognizing that, despite our differ ences, we are all Americans who want the best for our own lives, the lives of our families and the communities in which we live.

During heated political elections, accomplishing that goal can feel like an uphill battle at times. When both po

From the Editor

“Life Lessons"

n L.A. Focus’ more than 27 years, I can’t think of a single time we’ve had a true crime mystery on the cover, but the death of 25-year old Shanquella Robinson at the hands of so-called friends in a lux ury vacation rental in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico on Oc tober 29 has so captivated and consumed many Americans–Black and white alike, while sparking na tional headlines, that we couldn’t help but examine why the details of her death have consumed so many.

For some, it says a great deal about where we are as a society and what’s wrong with our youth as well as our justice system. Some are angered about the way in which her death is being handled and the harm to Rob inson’s mother while others are enthralled by the mys tery surrounding her death and questions that remain unanswered despite the release of a viral video trend ing online that shows the fatal beating in graphic de tail.

Six people know the real story of what led up to the tragic assault of Robinson in that hotel room, with at least three to four of them watching a girl they called a friend get beaten to death. One of them telling her to at least fight back.

More than a month later, not one of them has been arrested. (I hate to always say it, but would that have been the case had the girl been white?) I think not.

There are certainly a lot of lessons to be learned from the tragic incident. Not the least of which is that the people we choose as friends can not only sometimes be toxic, but dangerous. Instead of hav ing her back, the six so-called friends she travelled with–and in conflicting reports, may have even hosted– appeared to be more interested in fighting for sport even as she refused to fight back.

I can’t stress enough to young people how

much better life is with friends who genuinely care, who encourage you, who inspire you (and you are inspired by), who lift you up when you are down and who gen uine wish the best for you.

In this month’s Saving Grace on page 22, Kevin Hart keys in on a very valuable point. Rather than being jealous of others’ success, he uses their examples as fuel to work harder, stating “I’m not doing as much as I could, because these people are proof that the things I want to do can be done.”

When I look at all of the hate speech and negativity circulating in our world today–and God knows there’s enough of it, I immediately think that the people who spout hate, negativity and want to get physical with others (without provocation) tend to be people who are not doing enough with their own lives.

Success and purpose tend to refocus people. It sharpens the vision to what can be accomplished and more importantly to the value of time. Successful people put a high value on their time, understanding that time is their most valuable asset, so they do every thing they can to maximize results.

Like billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates, I am a fan of “timeboxing” where I will give myself a list of goals or just one thing to accomplish in a finite amount of time. Focusing in on that goal keeps me not only from outside distractions, but also from wasting too much time on one task.

Never on my schedule would there be any time to watch two friends of mine fight in a hotel room. I’ll save that for the Real Housewives of the Potomac and they’re getting paid. And you best believe that in the time it takes for me to watch that–and I must confess I do– I’m getting something else done.

It reminds of a time when I was seven or eight and –with four brothers–somewhat of a tomboy. At any

litical parties view each other as adversaries, and when we're persuaded to believe that we're so far apart from one another that we can't share this country together, that is when we need to realize that we have a problem.

The fact that every one of us values our own families so highly is indicative of a set of admirable attributes that we are all able to acknowledge as being inherently good.

Could it also be the case that, despite the fact that we are all so unique, we each have the best of intentions? Could we join in that idea and even come together to fight to preserve the individual liberties of each person?

The vast majority of us simply want to safeguard our way of being, which is, at its core, what each and every one of us wants and desires; therefore, it is possible for us to do so. It's possible that we're all looking for the same thing, including a high quality of life, success, independ ence and happiness, as well as the opportunity to age in serenity within communities that are at peace with one another. Both Democrats and Republicans, in my opinion, would provide an unequivocal affirmative response to those desires. I'm ready to bet on that.

Take some time as the holidays approach to not just have a casual conversation with a family member, neigh bor or friend who may have a different point of view, but rather to learn about their inner desires because that is a moment of truth that reveals the good that is in each of us. Take a step back and watch how a person interacts with other people, both in how they speak to them and how they treat them. In any event, you should take a step back and give yourself the opportunity to separate the po litical from what very well may be a large number of good people who, at their core, may desire the same things that you do. The difference may come down to the vehicle you seek to choose in order to arrive at that final destination, and that should no longer be something that divides us.

rate, I got into an alter cation with another kid down the block and when I came back into the house and was recounting to my grandmother–a highly educated and accomplished woman–what happened.

She shook her head and said, ‘You spent all that time and did n’t make a cent for the energy you expended”. Then she left her room, still shaking her head. As you can see, her words stayed with me and I am very careful about how I spend–and waste–my time.

Well, enough about that. The holidays are a season for gratitude and there are plenty of people I need to thank, beginning with those of you who support the paper and have become my friends unknown. There is no L.A. Focus without you. So, for all the love and sup port you’ve shown, thank you.

Now, more than ever, at a time when hearts and spirits the world over stop to celebrate the birth of one who died on a cross some 2,000 years ago–we would do well to remember the difference we can make in the lives of others. An annual tradition for L.A. Focus is to provide a listing of agencies that provide help over the holiday season in hopes that you will reach out to those in need. It is included on page 9. With that, the staff of L.A. Focus wishes you a safe and blessed holi day.

Keep the faith.

I 4 L.A. Focus/ December 2022 Commentary ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS Guest Columnist

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Mayor-Elect Karen Bass’ Victory by The Numbers

“At the end of the day her years of com mitment, service and track record of de livering for the community, allowed her to overcome the $100 million spent by her opponent to mislead voters about her record.”

Caruso characterized his campaign as one of the most rewarding experiences of his life.

Yvonne Wheeler was elected the new President of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, (LA Fed) Nov. 21. The historic unanimous vote by her peers makes Wheeler the first Black woman to hold the title and makes her one of the most influential people in L.A. politics.

but it was a most decisive win with Bass holding a new ten point margin over Caruso and almost 55% of the vote. What that means in terms of numbers at last count on No vember 30 (the election won’t be certified until December 5), Bass had 509,621 votes to Caruso’s 419,765, a difference of nearly 90,000 votes.

What makes the victory so much sweeter for Bass is that it came despite the fact that Caruso outspent her more than ten to one. What has been a fierce battle also turned out to be the most ex pensive race in L.A. history and certainly one of the most expensive mayoral cam paigns on record with Caruso shelling out

a reported $104,848 million to Bass’ $7 million.

According to the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission, Caruso spent $160.42 for each vote he received in his bid to become mayor. By contrast, Bass spent just $10.15.

With the win, Bass makes history as the first Black woman–and the first woman– to lead the nation’s second largest city as Mayor.

“You can buy television, radio, news paper and social media advertising but you can't buy trust and credibility and that's the connection Karen Bass has with the majority of voters in Los Angeles,” said Kerman Maddox, who served as Chair of the Bass 4 Mayor Campaign Fi nance Committee,

“While we came up short,” he said in a statement, “we made an indelible impact on this city and its people that will last far beyond the campaign trail or Election Day. There will be more to come from the movement we built, but for now, as a city we need to unite around Mayor-elect Bass and give her the support she needs to tackle the many issues we face. Congrat ulations, Karen, and God-speed."

Caruso has also urged his followers to give her the support she needs as she tackles some the the city’s many issues.

“No matter who you voted for, no matter where you live, I will be a mayor for you,” Karen Bass said in her first press conference as Mayor-Elect. “Mark my words,” Bass declared. “We will get big things done together.”

"This is my home, and with my whole heart, I'm ready to serve, and my pledge to you is that we will hit the ground run ning on Day One.” Bass will be officially sworn in on Sunday, December 11 and will assume the office on December 12.

The LA Fed, the second largest central labor body in the nation, is a federation of over 300 affiliated union and labor or ganizations, representing over 800,000 members and known for fighting for better wage; establishing respect in the workplace; and for the vast political in fluence their endorsements hold.

Wheeler’s election comes in the wake of a political scandal involving former LA Fed President Ron Herrera and three City Council Members — former President Nury Martinez, Kevin de León, and Gil Cedillo.

Herrera stepped down from his posi tion as president the day after the LA Times released their initial report on the racist recording. The LA Fed’s decision to elect Wheeler shifts attention from the scandal and directs focus on its mis sion of representation and inclusivity for the diverse workers they represent.

“I am honored to be elected to lead during such a critical time for workers,” said Wheeler. “In a post-COVID reality, we have to rebound, restabilize and re imagine from the perspective of workers to ensure we are on the right path, and that has to be our priority.”

Hundreds of Black and Mexican Families File Racial Reparations Claim Against City of Palms Springs

Palm Springs has a problem.

A square mile east of downtown Palm Springs is an area known as Section 14. While it is presently owned by the Agua Caliente Band of Ca huilla Indians and its members, it was for decades the only place Black and Mexican Americans could build homes due to ra cially restrictive covenants prohibiting people of color from living in white neigh borhoods.

But over a 10-year span from the late 1950s through 1967 as the city of Palm Springs sought to secure the prime down town real estate, officials hatched a plan to demolish Section 14 for the purposes of developing it into more lucrative commer cial enterprises.

In carrying out the plan, evictions were issued, and the city hired contrac tors to bulldoze the privately-owned houses, often with personal property and belongings inside, and then the city sent the Palm Springs Fire Department to burn the destruction. Black and Mexican residents were often forced to flee Sec tion 14 with only what they could carry.

This week in Los Angeles, hundreds of Black and Mexican families forcibly and illegally evicted by the City of Palm Springs from their privatelyowned houses in the Section 14 neigh borhood in the 1950s and 1960s, announced the filing of an amended claim that asserts Palm Springs caused up to $2 billion in harm to the


The action comes 14 months after the city formally apologized to the survivors for its horrific behavior — apologized but remained silent and largely disengaged.

“This was an atrocity,” said attorney Areva Martin, who represents the Section 14 families. “Until now it has largely been a shameful secret confined to the city limits of Palm Springs, but “Section 14” should be mentioned alongside Tulsa, Rosewood, and Bruce’s Beach. Palm Springs literally bulldozed and burned out its Black and Latino residents be cause it wanted the land where they lived.

Palm Springs Mayor Lisa Middleton has publicly stated that the city had an obligation to those who were displaced, “but” she added, “also to its residents, businesses and taxpayers, to thoroughly investigate the history as it develops remedial programs that are fair to every


The Section 14 families retained re nown reparations expert, Dr. Julianne Malveaux, noted economist, Cal State LA Dean of Ethnic Studies, author, and pres ident emeritus of Bennett College, to con duct a preliminary harm assessment on their behalf. Her calculations estimate the damages caused by the city of Palm Springs to survivors and their descen dants to fall between $400 million to $2 billion dollars. To reach this figure, Dr. Malveaux utilized a model widely em ployed by economists when calculating destruction to communities caused by natural disasters such as wildfires, neigh borhoods and tornados, or other calam ities that have obliterated entire neighborhoods.

Just last week the city posted a request for proposals to research the his torical context of the displaced residents and assist the city in developing a repa rations program to address those affected. That process alone was estimated to take a year.

“To be clear: there has been no resti tution, no assistance, no help — only fear, intimidation and fire,” Martin said. “These facts are not in dispute. So, it is unconscionable that Palm Springs is not engaging with all its energy on making these families whole. How much longer should they wait? Many of the survivors of these events are in their 70s, 80s and even 90s. They can’t wait.”

Michelle Obama Sparks Viral Frenzy with Remarks Concerning Marriage

Was she selling books or just being hon est and candid?

Over the weekend former First Lady Mi chelle Obama–who is in the midst of promot ing her second book, “The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times”– opened up about the challenges of marriage and the discord and discom fort that come with it on social media.

“As an adult, I’ve lived in a number of places, but...I’ve only ever had one real home,” Obama wrote. “My home is my family. My home is Barack. But here’s the thing–our marriage has never been perfectly 50-50. One of us is always need ing more or giving more. We have to be willing to listen to each other, honestly and without defensiveness. Only then, can we evolve together.

“Over the years a lot of young people have asked me about marriage and my response usually goes something like this: You have to prepare yourself for long stretches of discord and discomfort. You have to learn how to make real com promises in the way you’ve lived as an in dividual. Glamorizing a relationship while you’re dating will lead you straight to difficulty once you’re married. You can’t paper over problems when you’re living with someone day in and day out.”

“You’ve got to ask yourself: What are you trying to get out of this relationship? Have you truly thought it through? Do you want a wedding or a lifelong partner ship? Those are two very different things.

News Briefs
Yvonne Wheeler Elected President of L.A County Federation of Labor Mayor-Elect Karen Bass not only beat billionaire real developer Rick Caruso,
UpFront 6 L.A. Focus/ December 2022
Attorney Areva Martin with Section 14 survivors

How Organized Hate Groups are Thriving Right Here in Southern California

hen the husband of House Speaker and California’s own Nancy Pelosi was recently at tacked and severely beaten with a hammer, it was reported the assailant David DePape had a reputation for post ing racist remarks online, including content that questioned the results of the 2020 election, he defends former Pres ident Donald Trump, and echoes of the conspiracies of extremist group QAnon.

This attack—along with others like the 2020 murder of George Floyd and the January 6 Capitol attack—are what or ganized hate groups use as a basis to fuel their blaze of threats, violence, terror, vandalism, and even murder hoping to fulfill their agenda for power and dom inance.

As of 2021, a reported 65 organized hate groups were tracked in California by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Groups like the Proud Boys, AC Skins, Great Millstone, Folk Front, American Freedom Party, and Califor nians for Population Stabilization are among the more prominent across the state being monitored by the SPLC.

“Enough is enough is enough,” in sisted President Joe Biden regarding the attack on House Speaker’s husband Paul Pelosi. “There’s too much violence, polit ical violence. Too much hatred. Too much vitriol. What makes us think it’s not going to corrode the political climate?”

Biden went on to argue, “these groups have no place in America.”

Bearing controversial labels such as Neo-Nazi, Anti-black, Anti-Muslim, Antiimmigrant, Anti-LGBT, White Suprem ist, Skinhead, and more, hate groups espouse a variety of unique extreme doc trines and beliefs with their main conclu sion being that white people are superior to other races and thus, should dominate them. They also believe in maintaining and defending any power and privilege held by white people — which is embed ded in a political ideology that imposes cultural, social, political, historical, and institutional domination by the white race.

According to the Cal State San Ber nardino Center for Study of Hate and Ex tremism (CSHE), in 2021 anti-Black hate crime remained the most common in major U.S. cities. CSHE also reported that in the same year, African Americans were derisively stereotyped as being re sponsible for a “stolen election,” increases in the crime rate, and the imposition of critical race theory in grade schools.

“These false notions against the black race have increasingly infiltrated the mainstream of American political and cultural discussion with poisonous re sults,” says CSHE director Brian Levin. “One must look no further than former President Trump for stirring up very toxic and dangerous dialogues.”

“The belief that one “out group” of people is inherently harmful to your own is foundational to extremism,” the SPLC maintained in their 2021 publication,

The Year in Hate and Extremism. “Hos tile actions against an outgroup can take the forms of violence like terrorist at tacks, but it can also include conduct like abusive language or discriminatory and dehumanizing legislation.”

The SPLC is the premier U.S. organi zation monitoring and exposing the activ ities of domestic hate groups and other extremists — including the Ku Klux Klan, white nationalists, antigovernment mili tias, and others. Last year, they reported that with the uptick in hate rhetoric and division,“44% of Americans believe the U.S. seems headed toward a civil war in the near future. 53% of Republicans and 39% of Democrats hold that belief due to the partisan divide exacerbated by Don ald Trump and the influence of hate groups in America.

“At a time when hate pervades the public discourse and violent extremism threatens our communities, it’s critical that we take a clear, strong stand against bigotry in all its forms,” said Governor Gavin Newsom when signing AB2282 into law that increases restrictions and penalties for use of hate symbols. “Cali fornia will continue to lead the fight to stamp out hate and defend those under attack for who they are, how they iden tify, or what they believe in.”

One hate group California will have to contend with is the Rise Above Move ment (RAM). This Southern Californiabased racist of violent neo-Nazis and fascists rose to prominence in 2017 and

often show up (and are photographed in bloody confrontations) at protests where Blacks and or Asians are seeking to make their voices heard after their community has been wronged.

“In our view, RAM is essentially serial rioters,” said U.S. Attorney Thomas Cullen, who has brought charges against four leaders of the group that he calls “vi olent”.

More disturbing is the fact that there are people in public positions such as po lice officers, school board members, and even members of city council with have deep allegiances to hate groups. They have thrived when allowed to function and influence decisions that strengthen their oppressive agendas.

With 44% of the nation’s hate groups having either 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) tax status in the US, the looming question many have is where do these groups get their money from?

The Chronical Review reported last year that at least 351 donor organiza tions have given millions of dollars in grants over the past seven years to non profits designated by the SPLC as hate groups. Most of the money came from a small number of larger funds managed by community foundations or commer cially affiliated organizations such as banking institutions.

In addition, most organized white su premist groups raise funds through membership dues, crowdfunding, the

Hate ontinued to page 20


Fit or Unfit For Office: The Herschel Walker Debate

No, New York Times writer

Ian Prasad Philbrick did not call Georgia U.S. Sen ate candidate Herschel Walker, as I was called by a Los Angeles Times writer, "the black face of white supremacy" – but Philbrick came close.

Philbrick wrote: "For a lot of African Americans, Walker puts on display a lot of the worst stereotypes that white con servatives in the South harbor toward them: that his talents are only in ath letics, and that he is, in his own telling, 'not that smart.' If a candidate as contro versial as Walker wins, the takeaway will be that if you have enough star power, speak the language of the party's base and have Trump's backing, you too can be in the Senate.

"I was with Walker about three weeks ago in a heavily conservative, heavily white northern Georgia county. When I follow Walker to those kinds of events, we're really the only two African Ameri cans there. A white man walked up to me and was like, 'Where are all the black people?' He seemed to understand that Walker was a black candidate who was not garnering much black support in a state where you actually need at least a little bit to win. I've even talked to black conservatives who are shaking their heads in disappointment. Though not on the record, of course."

Let's start with "we're really the only two African Americans there." I know nothing about Mr. Philbrick's racial background, but from his photo he looks about as "African American" as Mitt Romney. Philbrick attended Greeley High School in Cumberland, Maine, not exactly the 'hood. The student body is 92% white, 2% black. But Philbrick's keeping it real at The New York Times.

Walker, you see, brings nothing to the table, other than "star power" and sup porting former President Donald Trump. Things like likeability and relatability

are completely irrelevant. Any old celebrity will do, right? Why isn't Philbrick depressed that blacks are denying them selves the opportunity to hear Walker's central message: that children need fathers in the home? Maybe the white man who walked up to Philbrick "seemed to un derstand" that 70% of black kids are born to unmarried women and con siders it tragic blacks weren't there to hear Walker's message.

How many blacks are supposed to be at a Walker rally?

Should Walker kid nap them and force them to hear him speak? Is there some barrier preventing blacks from attending his rallies – a secret password, a frater nity handshake or an initiation fee? Ap parently, blacks, who remain overwhelmingly Democrat, are not buying what Walker's selling. Should he renounce the Republican Party and become a Demo crat to attract more black faces?

Philbrick sniffs that Walker advances the "worst stereotypes that white conser vatives in the South harbor." All "white conservatives"? Not some bigoted white conservatives? How is this any different than Kanye West, rightly accused of an tisemitism, when he recently tweeted about his plan to "go DEFCON 3 on Jew ish people"? Not just those with whom West may have had disagreements. No, all Jews.

Philbrick should listen to the secretly recorded tape of four non-Southern Lat inos, all liberal Democrats, three of whom are members of the Los Angeles City Council. They compared a black child to a monkey, made racist com ments about whites, disparaged Jews,

Headlines From Africa

Angola: Isabel dos Santos, daughter of late president Jose Eduardo dos Santos - and once considered the richest woman in Africa, is now the subject of an international arrest warrant for alleged corruption. According to reports, she built her estimated $2 billion fortune on the back of insider deals.

The U.S. sanctioned Dos Santos in 2021.

Congo: A cease-fire between Congo and Rwanda could mean the withdrawal of M23 rebel group fighters from the major towns they have seized, including Bunagana, Rutshuru and Kiwanja. While the rebel group has said it will accept the cease fire, it wasn’t confident that the Congolese government would actually end hostilities.

Ethiopia: According to eyewitness reports, allies of Ethiopia’s military are carrying out mass detentions in Tigray while also looting stores and property more than three weeks after a truce to end suffering and bring peace to the region was signed.

Eritrea: 98 Christians arrested during a raid on an underground church in September are still being held in custody by Eritrean authorities. That brings the number to over 300 Christians believed to be impris oned for their faith. Many have been detained indefinitely, without charge and without trial. Some, who have refused to renounce their faith, have been kept behind bars for upwards of 15 years.

Ghana: Cocoa growers in Ghana and the Ivory Coast (who account for 60% of the world’s cocoa are esca lating their fight to improve pay to farmers—and fight poverty—by demanding that buyers pay a premium. They are also threatening to punish corporations by barring them from visiting plantations to estimate har vests—a key factor in forecasting cocoa prices.

Kenya: Because of doping reports officials say are at “crisis” level, Kenya is at risk of being banned from in ternational athletics. Kenya’s sports ministry said it is working to solve the problem to circumvent the ban.

IDespite Democrats locking up control of the U.S. Senate ahead the Dec. 6 contest against incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock, it still matters whether the party has the slim mest possible margin or the cushion of an extra vote that a Warnock win would provide. And it’s not that Walker’s provable lies and bizarre behav ior are less con sequential than they’ve ever been as much as there’s just Walker fatigue. There just ain’t many more ways to say, “this guy’s ridic ulously unqualified for public office,” than we’ve already written. But every once in awhile, ol’ Herschel finds a way to make us care again. Today it’s over the issues of abortion and taxes. But, say, a substantive policy debate over tax policy or him explaining his opposi tion–as a man whose body it will never effect–to abortion with no exceptions. In stead, today we’re back to discussing one of the two women who have accused Walker of pressuring them into actually aborting pregnancies they conceived to gether. The second woman appeared at a press conference with lawyer Gloria All red with receipts that she says refutes Walker’s denial that he even knows her. Of course, we’ve been down this path be fore, when the first woman who Walker allegedly conceived a pregnancy that he then allegedly gave her money to abort actually produced the check that he wrote in his own handwriting for the whole thing. He doesn’t deny that the check, written to a woman with whom he has another child, was his but he still denies that it was written to pay for an abortion. In this latest instance, the receipts are a little bit more saucy, according to the Daily Beast’s account of yesterday’s


The woman also provided what she says is further evidence of her six-year extramarital affair with Walker, including a jour nal entry, letters, and two pieces of audio–a recorded phone call in which both said they loved each other, and an answering machine tape where a man Allred identified as Walker says, “Ah you, this is your stud farm calling, you big sex puppy, you.”

The comedy of it almost obscures the sev erity: in addition to having the worst flir tation skills in America, and to being a hypocrite for advocating abortions in his personal life while claiming he wants them banned for everyone else, consider that Walker also has a documented his tory of domestic violence accusations and mental health issues. That matters be cause among the other claims the woman made was that Walker threatened to harm himself if she didn’t go through with terminating the pregnancy.

Visibly overcome and fighting back tears, she read aloud from one journal entry.

“Herschel has about gone off the deep end over this whole thing. He thinks that hav ing the baby will keep him in so deep with [his wife’s] family that he’ll never get out. He talks about how it would be fine for the baby, and I, if he would just ‘dis appear.’ But I know what that means,” she said. (Walker, who claims to have played Russian roulette more than halfa-dozen times, was hospitalized for car bon monoxide poisoning in 1991, after reportedly falling asleep in his car while it was running in his garage.)

If that’s not bad enough for you, try this: Early on in his campaign there was the issue of whether or not he’d actually be able to represent Georgia because, well, he lived in Texas. Federal election law al lows him to run for a seat in another state as long as he moves to that state before taking the oath of office. Walker wouldn’t

A look at current news from the continent of Africa

: Mali has announced a ban on aid groups funded by France in what is the latest attempt by the coup leader in charge to distance the West African country from its one-time colonizer and former ally in the fight against Islamic extremism.

Niger: Officials credit community and religious leaders with the success of their COVID vaccinations, given their influence in combating misinformation about vaccines being circulated on social media. 28% of the adult population is fully vaccinated and a current vaccination campaign aims to vaccinate two-thirds of the over-18 pop ulation by year’s end.

Nigeria: Until regulators can agree on standards that protect investors, Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission says it will not include cryptocurrencies in a plan to improve trad ing in digital assets.

Sierra Leone: Representatives from the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party and the op position All People’s Congress (APC) recently came to blows—and were captured on video fighting and throwing chairs—sparked by the West African nation´s electoral commission suggestion of switching to a proportional representation system for coming year´s local and parliamentary elections excluding presidential polls.

Uganda: Health ministry officials have confirmed 141 Ebola cases and 55 deaths in what is its deadliest Ebola outbreak in more than a decade with officials set to close schools national to stave off the outbreak.

Liberia: The U.S. government is warning individuals and financial institutions against doing business with current and former officials of the Government of Liberia who have been sanctioned by its Treasury Department ahead of Liberia’s 2023 general and presidential elections. New York Times' Racist Attack Against Her schel Walkerl Larry Elder Stud Farms, Sex Puppies And Tax Breaks: Herschel Walker's Senate Campaign Can't Get Any Wilder Keith Reed Elder continued to page 20 Johnson continued to page 20

hristmas the season of giving not only to those we love but a time as well to share the holiday spirit and brighten the lives of those who are less for tunate and underserved. As the holidays near, many charitable organizations in the community make special fundraising ap peals in their efforts to provide food, cloth ing and toys to those in need.

Money Matters

On the Money

A Time To Give “Crypto Chaos”

the county are stretched thin at Christ mas, so in addition to food and monetary donations, the mission will accept gift cards for local grocery store chains in the Los Angeles area. Volunteers are always needed to help prepare, serve and feed the hungry and homeless. Visit www.lafood bank.org

In October, FTX–ranked as the third largest crypto exchange by volume in 2021–was valued at $32 billion, but last month it plunged into bankruptcy, leaving its more than one million creditors holding the bag and capping off a year that has thrown the crypto industry into chaos.

Americans gave a record $484 billion to charities in 2021 and while approx imately 77 million Americans volunteer their time, talents and energy to make a difference, money is the most preferred method of giving, with about $574 being the average amount people give to charity and $128 being the average online donation.

Whether it’s your time, toys or money, there are countless ways to donate. Food, clothing and toy give aways are an annual tradition for many churches and local businesses. Elected officials also do all they can to assist in providing referrals to those in need.

Some churches offer programs where you can adopt a family in need for Christmas and provide them with a range of needs from groceries to winter coats.

If you are in need this holiday season or just want to help others in need, listed below are some of the worth while programs you can tap into. Be sure and check with your church for what they are doing or for referrals.

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles: Holidays from the Heart Program aims to make the holidays a little hap pier for chronically ill children and their families. You can sponsor a family, as well as provide toys and mone tary donations. Visit wwwchla.org for more information.

Department of Public Social Service's (DPSS) Adopt-A-Family Program: This program assists lowincome families with toys, clothes and food during the holidays. Fill out a sponsor form no later than Dec. 13 and coordinators will match you with the perfect family to assist personally. Grocery gift cards, meals and gifts are also welcome. For information, call (213) 744-4590.

Homeless Housing Placement Agency: Requests for services increase greatly during the holiday season. Do nations are gladly accepted for clothing for children and adults as well as canned and non-perishable items. Call (213) 484-2150 for more information.

Los Angeles Regional Food Bank: Food banks across

Biz News Briefs

Cresco Labs, the No. 1 U.S. wholesaler of branded cannabis, has announced the signing of a deal valued at $185 million to divest certain New York, Illinois, and Massachusetts assets to a business entity owned and controlled by Sean “Diddy” Combs.

The Transaction is Combs’ first investment in cannabis, the fastest growing industry in the U.S., and upon closing, will create the country’s first minority-owned and oper ated, vertically integrated multi-state operator. This in dustry-changing transaction is rooted in Cresco’s vision to develop the most responsible, respectable and robust industry possible, and advances Combs’ mission to open new doors in emerging industries for Black entrepre neurs and other diverse founders who are underrep resented and underserved.

“My mission has always been to create opportunities for Black entrepreneurs in industries where we’ve tra ditionally been denied access, and this acquisition pro

Operation Gratitude: Since 2003, Oper ation Gratitude volunteers have lovingly packaged and shipped care packages con taining letters, holiday cards and goodies from home to servicemen and women deployed overseas. For more information, call (818) 960-7878 or visit www.operationgratitude.com.

Project Angel Tree: Prison Fellowship Los Angeles reaches out to children with incarcerated parents by get ting churches and other groups to purchase Christmas toys, bikes, clothing and books for children and youth. Contact (800) 55-ANGEL (2-6435)

Salvation Army: The Salvation Army provides a vast range of services to youth, the homeless, seniors, vet erans with your monetary donations. Additionally, the Salvation Army has family stores located across Los An geles that accept donations of clothing, furniture, appli ances and toys. If you have time to spare, the Salvation Army is also signing up volunteers. Call 1-800-725-2769

Special Needs Network: SNN– a nonprofit grass roots organization responding to the crisis of autism and other developmental disabilities in underserved com munities– brings hundreds of families, community partners, and stakeholders together for a festive and memorable holiday celebration. This event provides the county’s most vulnerable families with an opportunity to celebrate with others. Families receive health-related referrals and resources, food, music and a toy giveaway. For information, call (323) 291-7100.

Toys for Tots: With a mission to collect new, un wrapped toys throughout the holiday months for chil dren in need, the U.S. Marine Corp Reserve Toys for Tots program is by far one of the most popular. And, for good reason: helping children in need during the holi days is a true gift, so help make a difference this year and play an active role in your community by donating toys at the various drop-off locations. To find a location near you, go to http://www.toysfortots.org

Bitcoin, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency, has plummeted about 65% this year. Ether, the world’s sec ond most valuable cryptocurrency, hasn’t fared much better, down more than 50% from its all-time high in 2021. In fact, since last November, the market capital ization of all crypto assets has reportedly dropped from a combined $3 trillion to around $900 billion.

The implosion of FTX has also brought lawsuits against celebrities who endorsed the crypto exchange including Shaquille O’Neal and Steph Curry. In the wake of crypto volatility, lawmakers are trying to figure out how to establish guidelines that will make crypto currency safer for investors and at the same time less attractive to cybercriminals.

President Joe Biden signed an excutive order earlier this year that called on government agencies to study the “responsible development” of digital assets.

The biggest problem, say experts, is that crypto is unregulated for the most part, making it a risky invest ment.

Experts recommend keeping any cryptocurrency in vestments to less than 5% of your total portfolio and to never invest more than you are comfortable with losing. Also, to steer clear of depositing money from a credit card, as it can not only be risky, but expensive as credit card companies process cryptocurrency purchases as cash advances which makes them subject to higher in terest rates than regular purchases, and you’ll also have to pay additional cash advance fees.

vides the immediate scale and impact needed to create a more equitable future in cannabis,” said Combs, Chair man and CEO Combs Enterprises. “Owning the entire process – from growing and manufacturing to market ing, retail, and wholesale distribution – is a historic win for the culture that will allow us to empower diverse leaders throughout the ecosystem and be bold advocates for inclusion.”


Byron Allen Bid to Acquire Washington Commanders?

Jay-Z, Byron Allen, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Mat thew McConaughey, Robert Griffin III and Red Sox owner John Henry are among those being reported as potential bidders for the Washington Commanders foot ball team (formerly known as the Washington Red skins).

Earlier this month, Dan Snyder, who has owned the D.C-based NFL team since 1999, hired Bank of America Securities to consider potential transactions. The pur chase price being bandied about is somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 — 7 billion dollars, though it is unclear as to whether or not the bids are for a minority stake or ownership of the entire team.

According to multiple reports Jay-Z may be partner ing with Bezos on a bid. The two were recently seen to gether at a swanky Hollywood restaurant presumably to talk “Commanders” business.

Byron Allen–who had hoped to acquire the Denver Broncos earlier this year in a move that would make it the NFL’s first Black-owned team–is also preparing a bid.

Chris Paul’s “Good Eat’n”

NBA All-Star Chris Paul is getting into the food in dustry with the launch a new line of vegan snacks. Pas sionate about the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle, Chris Paul hopes to transform the “snack aisle” with Good Eat’n — a new line of flavor-forward, plantbased products that include a unique selection of snacks including Cinnamon Sugar Mini Donut Puffs, Nacho Cheeze Tortilla Chips, Big Dill Ranch Tortilla Chips, and Classic BBQ Porkless Rinds.

“As someone with a plant-based diet who loves fla vorful foods, I know first-hand that it can be difficult to find delicious and approachable plant-based alter natives to your favorite snacks,” said Paul. “I’m thrilled to announce this new brand with Gopuff that makes plant-based snacks easily available with fla vors that appeal to the masses.”

A-list actor Matthew McConaughey is also reportedly looking to get in on the action with an offer according to the Washington Post. McConaughey–a longtime fan of the team–would either join an existing investment group or form his own. Diddy
Gets in on The Weed Game with $185 Million Deal
9 L.A. Focus/December 2022

It has all the markings of the quintessential true crime story. Young girl found dead at a Mexico resort while vacationing with friends, all of whom have a conflicting story of exactly what happened to her.

Then a video surfaces that becomes a mother’s worst nightmare, depicting one–perhaps even two of her traveling companions beating her senseless with injuries that hours later she would tragically succumb to.

So, who leaked the video and why? Did one or more than one person take part in what is now classified as a brutal murder? Was it a set up? Why haven’t any or all of them been arrested? What role is the FBI playing? What are her so-call friends saying?

All are questions circulating in what has become a viral phenomenon online with online reports and blogs posting every update to quench the thirst for answers and information of the tens of thousands who are closely monitoring the story on Twitter, Facebook and TikTok with the hashtag #JusticeFor Shanquella.

In fact, it was the internet frenzy surrounding the story that sparked headlines in every major media out let across the country, from the Washington Post and New York Times to CNN.

While it surely isn’t the only murder of an American woman to be found on Mexican story, this story has cap tivated Americans like none other recently as misinfor mation shrouds the investigation and amplifies the mystery of it all.

For those like Veda Brown, owner of an online digi tal marketing firm, “it reveals just how unsafe children can be even with so-called friends.

Said Brown, “It also concerns me because of the bru tality of the fight and then out of five people, all of them could have a peace about going home and leaving her there and lying to her mother. It’s shocking that none of them had a conscience or compassion. It begs the question where as parents…as a society drop the ball.

It’s the evilness in this world but even this group who had no conscience…no compassion.”

@prebeautyana commented, “Things like this make you not want to trust anybody. This is evil. I can’t imag ine something like this happening to my children. We live in a treacherous world.”

@wumi91 said, “Don’t be friends with people you are doing better than ever.”

“I just want answers. I guess I really just want to know why they beat her like that and what really hap pened in that hotel room,” said Tiffany Brown.

Well, Tiffany, here is the most accurate and up-todate accounting of the events to date.

On Friday, October 28, 25-year old Shanquella Rob inson and six of her college friends arrived in San José del Cabo, which is 20 miles northeast of Cabo San Lucas, to celebrate a birthday. They had reserved a rental villa in Fundadores, an exclusive gated com munity with vacation homes and a private beach club.

According to her mother, Salamondra, who spoke to her that morning, things were going well. “She seemed pretty happy,” her mother recounted in an interview, who added that there was no indication of trouble. There was even a video showing Robinson walking through the villa excitedly looking for her friends.

That would be the last time she spoke to her daugh ter. The next call she would receive from Mexico came from Robinson’s friends the very next day on October 29 saying that Shanquella wasn’t feeling well and that it was alcohol poisoning.

At the time of the call, Salamondra said, she re peatedly told Shanquella’s travel mates,to take her to a doctor, but they told her the villa’s manager was com ing over with a medic.

“I’m not sure if anyone ever arrived, because I was never allowed to talk to them,” Salamondra said. “I asked them to let me speak to the doctor when they ar rived, but they told me that the doctor was busy with Shanquella,” Sallamondra Robinson told WSOC-TV.

She waited for what seemed an eternity for status on her daughter and her heart sank when they did call back to tell her that her daughter was dead.

This is where the facts become blurred.

According to one account, a local doctor from a nearby hospital was called and treated Robinson for close to three hours before she was pronounced dead with the following timeline:

• 2:13 p.m. – Wenter Donovan, one of six friends who traveled with Robinson, called for medical help at Villa Linda 32, a prop erty run by company Cabo Villas.

• 3:13 p.m. – Dr. Karolina Beatriz Ornelas Gutiérrez, from a local hospital, arrived to treat Robinson. According to the Charlotte Observer, Gutiérrez says she was told that Robinson had “drunk a lot of alcohol” and needed to “be given an IV.” Gutiérrez says Robinson had stable vital signs but was dehydrated, unable to communicate verbally and appeared to be inebriated. The report said Gutiérrez believed Robinson needed to be transferred to a hospital, but her friends insisted that she be treated in the villa.

• 4:13 p.m. – Robinson begins having a seizure. The convulsions from the seizure lasted less than a minute.

•4:14 p.m.: Gutiérrez requests that the friends take Robinson to the hospital. They decline and insist on her being treated at the villa.

• 4:45 p.m. – Wenter Donovan calls 911 for an ambulance while doctor administers CPR.

• 5:25 p.m. – Police arrive.

• 5:30 p.m. – Paramedics arrive and administer 14 rounds of CPR, five doses of adrenaline and six discharges (AED shocks) without success.

• 5:47 p.m. – Shanquella declared dead.

The very next day, Sallamondra Robinson, says her daughter’s traveling companions returned home from

Congresswoman Karen Bass

Mexico and came to her house to bring some of Shan quella’s personal belongings and their condolences.

Still, the idea of Shanquella dying as a result of al cohol poisoning just didn’t sit well with her.

Over the next two days, her husband Bernard Rob inson struggled trying to find someone who spoke Eng lish to assist him with the process of transporting his daughter’s body back to Charlotte before finally con necting with a woman on the villa’s management team who spoke English.

“She is an angel. She’s the one who first told us the truth,” Robinson said. “She said: ‘Mr. Robinson, your daughter didn’t die of alcohol poisoning. She died of a broken neck.’”

The death certificate would subsequently confirm what she’d told him.

Grave injuries to her back and neck were deter mined to have cause her death after an autopsy by of ficials in Mexico officially listed "severe spinal cord injury and atlas luxation," the latter being a traumatic dislocation of the neck. The police report revealed that she’d also suffered cardiac arrest and that Shanquella was dead approximately 15 minutes after being in jured.

On neither report was there any mention of alco hol.

The document was a gamechanger for the Robin sons, who were at the time, still in touch with some of those who’d traveled to Mexico with their daughter but had become more and more suspicious as their stories about what happened that fateful day kept changing.

On a subsequent visit she turned to them and asked, “What did you all do to my child?”

She recalls that after being confronted one of them broke into a sweat and immediately left. She has heard nothing from them since.

Just as frustrating for the Robinsons was the re sponse from officials. The United States State Depart ment initially released a statement saying there was no clear evidence of foul play.

But on November 9, came the biggest twist of all when a video surfaced on a social media outlet showing a naked woman–who appears to be out of it– being hit and punched in the face multiple times by another woman until she falls to the ground as others in the villa record the scene.

Sallomondra immediately recognized the woman being violently attacked in the short clip as her daugh ter and the people in the video footage as those who had traveled with her daughter to Mexico.

In the video a man is heard saying “Quella can you

at least fight back?” And while there are reports that more than one of them took part in beating Shauquella, what is clear is that no one intervened to help her or to stop the beating.

At one point in the video, Shanquella slumps down motionless.

"She did not deserve to be treated like that," says her mother. "It was never a fight. She didn't fight. They attacked her.”

Still, officials were slow to take action, that is until the video went viral and was downloaded and reposted a thousand times over on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, sparking headlines and put ting a national spotlight on the story. Now, not only Shanquella’s parents wanted answers but so did thou sands who’d seen the video and countless others who learned of Shanquella on CNN and other TV news pro grams and questioned why no one was being held re sponsible.

By the time, Mexican officials opened an investiga tion, the six had returned to the U.S. and despite the national media coverage have not spoken publicly on what happened. And while an arrest warrant has been issued for one of the six, no one has been taken into custody or charged in the case and authorities have not released the names of Robinson's friends.

To this day, misinformation continues to be the rule.

Even officials just can’t seem to get the story right. Mexican authorities have said the death occurred in San José del Cabo. The FBI said it occurred in nearby Cabo San Lucas. And while the official death certifi cate notes the approximate time between injury and death as 15 minutes, what of the report that a doctor treated her for three hours.

Now, nearly one month after the death, Mexican prosecutors who’d issued an arrest warrant are seek ing to extradite one of Robinson's friends as a suspect in the case. The prosecutors said they were working on extradition proceedings with Mexico's attorney general and the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

"There is already an arrest warrant issued for the crime of femicide," or the killing of a woman because of her gender, said Daniel de la Rosa, a local prosecutor adding that "a friend" of the victim was allegedly re sponsible for the death.

The death did not result from a "quarrel" but from "a direct aggression that this person made," de la Rosa stated.

Being that both the victim and the perpetrator are Americans, there is also an outside chance that the

U.S. could prosecute. The FBI’s Charlotte field office has officially opened an investigation into Robinson’s death.

With the latest developments, the Robinsons finally believe they’re on track to getting the truth about what happened to their daughter.

“It feels good. My stomach doesn’t feel so empty. Feels like we are getting somewhere,” Robinson told a reporter.

“I just want justice for my daughter,” said her father, Bernard Robinson.

In the meantime, Shanquella’s sister launched a GoFundMe page with the goal of raising $350k to help with burial and legal expenses.

“My beautiful sister #ShanquellaRobinson, recently went on a trip to Cabo, Mexico, with people she be lieved were her friends,” she wrote. “During this trip, she was found dead. Her associates claimed she died of alcohol poisoning, but the death certificate from the Mexican government contradicts this statement as it reveals a broken neck and cracked spine...

“We face a tremendous unexpected financial burden and a great deal of pain as we prepare to lay my sister to rest. Any support you can contribute to our legal fees and other critical expenses is greatly appreciated.”

As of this printing, the page had raised nearly $400,000 from over 5000 donors, including a Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving, who contributed $50,000.

While there are plenty of life lessons to be learned from Robinson’s death.

“The saddest part is that this was a girl who was going somewhere, and I believe they might have been jealous of her early success. It shows the importance of those we choose as friends,” said Brenda Fisher. “It makes you wonder about your own kids and the deci sions they are making about who to trust.”

Robinson's parents described their late daughter as a hardworking business owner who had a "great heart. In fact, it has been reported that it was Shanquella who paid for the villa they all stayed in. At 24, had run two businesses. There was Exquisite Babies, where she created intricate hair braiding designs for children and the Exquisite Boutique, which sold clothes.

Shanquella Robinson was laid to rest on November 19 in a funeral attended by hundreds with loved ones wearing pink, her favorite color. But her parents and a growing community of supporters say they will never rest until they find the truth of what really happened to Shanquella Robinson.

11 L.A. Focus/ December 2022


They say a picture is worth a thousand words. That’s apparently the case with Will Smith, whose forth coming film, Emancipation, was in spired by a photo of the scarred back of a real life slave dubbed "Whipped Peter," taken during a Union Army medical examination, and served to magnify the brutal reality of slavery for the world to see when it was pub lished in Harper’s Weekly in 1863. One image, known as “The Scourged Back,” helped to fuel growing public opposition to slavery.

“Emancipation” tells the trium phant story of an escaped slave, Peter (Will Smith), who relies on his wits, unwavering faith and deep love of his

family to evade cold-blooded hunters and the unforgiving swamps of Lou isiana in making his way north where he joins the Union Army to fight in the Civil War.

Directed by Antoine Fuqua, the powerful action thriller features dis turbing images and strong racial vio


lence in its depictions of the horrors of slavery.

“Throughout my career, I’ve turned down many films that were set in slavery. I never wanted to show us like that. And then this picture came along. And this is not a film about slavery. This is a film about freedom. This is a film about resilience. This is a film about faith.”

Will Smith is masterful in the lead role with a standout cast that in cludes Ben Foster, Charmaine Bingwa, Steven Ogg, Jayson Warner Smith, Imani Pullum, Mastafa Shakir and Aaron Moten.

The film is set to bow in theaters on December 2 and on Apple TV+ De cember 9.

Hometown: Montgomery, Alabama

Age: 52

Breakout Role: “The


Current Projects: “Truth Be Told”, “Spirited” Upcoming: “The Bobby Love Story”; “Feds” Born with Dyslexia, Octavia Spencer graduated from Auburn University as an English major with a double minor in journalism and theater. Though she made her film debut in 1996 with a bit part in “A Time To Kill”, 15 years would pass before her breakout role in “The Help”. Critically acclaimed roles in “Fruitvale Station”, “Hidden Figures”, “Get On Up” and “Self-Made” followed along with a re curring role in the CBS sitcom, Mom. To her credit are three SAG Awards, a Golden Globe award and an Oscar. In 2019, she got the role she wanted the most as producer when she launched her own pro duction company, Orit Entertainment.

On her Apple TV series,"Truth Be Told”:


She’s earned two Tony awards, a lead actor Emmy for her work in “How to Get Away With Murder”, an Oscar for her role in “Fences” and last month Viola Davis scored a spoken word Grammy nomination for 2022 memoir, “Finding Me”. If she wins, she will become only the third Black woman (behind Whoopi Goldberg and Jennifer Hudson) to achieve EGOT status having earned awards on TV (Emmy), record (Grammy), film (Oscar), stage (Tony). But it may not be that easy given the stiff competition she’s up against, including Jamie Foxx for his audiobook “Act Like You Got Some Sense”, Lin-Ma nuel Miranda, and Quest love’s “Music Is History.”

Guess we’ll all just have to wait until Feb ruary 5 to see. In the mean time, Davis has five proj ects

on tap including the films, “Air Jor dan” and “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes”.


don’t’ want to see it)

Will Smith is understandably con cerned about the December 2 release of “Emancipation”, his first film since the Oscars slap felt around the world, and while he has taken responsibility for his actions , he is not all that sure of where he stands with America’s filmgoing public. “I completely under stand – if someone is not ready, I would absolutely respect that and allow them their space to not be ready,” Smith told Fox 5’s Good Day DC journalist Kevin McCarthy. “My deepest concern is my team — Antoine [Fuqua] has done what I think is the greatest work of his entire career. The people on this team have done some of the best work of their entire careers, and my deepest hope is that my ac tions don’t penalize my team. At this point, that’s what I’m working for.”

Emancipation tells the story of a run away slave –whose photographs were circulated to illustrate the bru tality of slavery–and his harrowing escape through the Louisiana swamps to the north.

Meeting of the Mindless You’ve probably heard Kanye West is running for president, even tapping Milo Yiannopoulos who’s believed to be a white supremacist as his cam paign manager. But that not the cra ziest part of it. Instead, who wouldn’t have wanted to be a fly on the wall

when “Ye” asked Trump to be his vicepresident. “When Trump started basi cally screaming at me at the table telling me I was going to lose – I mean has that ever worked for anyone in history,” West said, recounting Trump’s response. “I’m like hold on, hold on, hold on, Trump, you’re talk ing to Ye.”

Trump’s view of the conversation was just as crazy, stating: “So I help a se riously troubled man, who just happens to be black, Ye (Kanye West), who has been decimated in his busi ness and virtually everything else, and who has always been good to me, by allowing his request for a meeting at Mar-a-Lago, alone, so that I can give him much needed “advice,” he be gins. “He shows up with three people, two of which I didn’t know, the other a political person who I haven’t seen in years. I told him don’t run for office, a total waste of time, can’t win!”

Snoop Biopic in The Works

It has been a long time coming but Snoop will finally have his day as his life story is set for the big screen. The forthcoming biopic will be co-produced by Universal Pictures and his newly formed company, Death Row Pictures. “I waited a long time to put this proj ect together because I wanted to choose the right director, the perfect writer, and the greatest movie com pany I could partner with that could understand the legacy that I’m trying to portray on screen, and the memory I’m trying to leave behind. It was the perfect marriage,” said the Grammynominated rapper. And of course, the film is going to feature some of his top hits.

I like that Poppy is a journalist and skates between the criminal element that is her job and the crim inal element her father sort of foments. I've been so used to my character’s lives not being fully realized. Being able to show all aspects of Poppy and make this woman a whole person has been amazing.

On how she chooses her roles:

Every character has a set of skills, and if you, the actor, don’t have them already, you have to do your research. I’m guided by roles that resonate with me personally. If I take on projects based on the social impact that I think they’ll have and it backfires, I lose my sense of self.

On being a producer:

I always wanted to produce but acting happened first. I’m dyslexic, so every morning the first thing I have to do is wake up my brain with puzzles and brain teasers. I see producers as the people who fit all the pieces together. I always felt that if I relied on other people to get me work, then I’d be out of work rather quickly, because people only see you in these archetypal roles. By producing, I get to hold the reins a bit tighter while providing opportunities for other marginalized storytellers.

On what her mother taught her:

I had a very strong mom who made me and my sisters understand that there were no limitations on our lives except what we placed on ourselves. I think she gave me the necessary foundation to be able to do what I do. You have to have blind faith in yourself and your ability–to not know that there’s a wall there because if you’re constantly looking for barriers, then they will be there.

On her 6-part docuseries about the FBI for ID: “As viewers, we have never been as inside the case as we are in this series. Being a true crime follower myself, speaking to active special agents with the FBI has been a thrill, and I could not be more ex cited to share Feds with the ID audience.”

On her self-care philosophy: Don’t be in such a hurry; it’s important to have a strong work ethic, but enjoy the little moments in between. Take vacations, take staycations.

Viola Davis Goes For EGOT Status
Smith Hopes Angered Fans Won’t Take Out Their Wrath by Not Support ing His New Film (But understands if they
12 L.A. Focus/ December 2022
OctaviaSpencer Footnotes
Chez Hadley Avatar: The Way of Water December 16
I Wanna Dance With Some body • December 21 White Noise December 30 Mindcage December 16

RedCarpet Style

Eye On Gospel

Doug Williams Launches New Label

Doug Williams of the Williams Brothers has an nounced the launch of his new label, DLW Music Group, and its first release will be a new holiday single featur ing Gerald Albright.

“I started to feel a tug in my spirit in 2020 during the pandemic that it was time to start my own label,” says Willams. “I had recently retired from Blackberry Records, so I was reluctant at first, but the Holy Spirit kept prompting me to move and I was obedient.”

Williams’ also began writing songs and eventually en listed long-time co-producer Stan Jones to help bring them to life. Their unmistakable musical alchemy re sulted in an album that will be released on DLW Music Group in 2023, as well as “An Unusual Child” - the new single available for the 2022 holiday season.

“I want people to be uplifted and encouraged during this Holiday season just knowing that we have a Savior who’s continuously working on our behalf,” says Wil liams. “I heard a preacher speaking about ‘an unusual child’ and that sparked the whole concept inside of me. He was an unusual child with an unusual assign ment, and we are blessed that God gave us a Sav ior through His son Jesus Christ.”

PMJ. Dubbed “The New King of Urban Inspi ration,” Pastor Mike has scored three consecutive number-one singles (“B!G,” “I Got It,” and “Amazing”) on Billboard’s National Gospel Airplay chart. His break out single “B!G” was recognized as Billboard’s #1 Gospel Airplay Song of 2020. He serves as the Senior Pastor of Rock City Church in Birmingham, AL.

His brand-new EP, Winning, features 8 stand-out tracks of encouragement with Pastor Mike’s signature sound, trap music cadences, and lyrical mastery. The title track, “WINNING,” is a declaration of positive af firmations, while the EP’s lead single, “impossible”–fea turing James Fortune–has captured the hearts of so many over the last three years during moments of spon taneous worship.

“In my life, I’ve always wrestled with anxiety and sometimes depression, so I overthink and don’t know how to live in the moment. Now, for the first time in my life, I am living in the moment and I’m grateful for all God is doing - it’s winning season!” Pastor Mike shared.

Lecrae Releases Church Clothes 4

In the ten years since Reach Records' president & cofounder, Lecrae, initially released Church Clothes, he has evolved from an artist into a New York Times bestselling author, investor, thought leader, entrepreneur, activist, financial educator, and philanthropist. Yet, his mission remains the same, to represent faith and hiphop with an unashamed edge! On November 4th, he re leased “Church Clothes 4”, the last in the mixtape series with 13 songs. In the final chapter of Church Clothes, Lecrae reveals that he's "righteous but ratchet," explain ing, "I'm a child of hip-hop. I grew up with rap music, and God transitioned and transformed me when I be came a believer! After that, people felt I didn't belong in hip-hop anymore. The Church Clothes mixtape series

helped them understand there's a place for artists like me.

In the first single from the final installment of Church Clothes, "Spread the Opps," Lecrae isasking God to spread the opposition out. "There's always going to be opposition when you bring truth and reality. The Church Clothes series brings both, so I expect to face op position. But I'm standing on what I believe in and let ting God do the rest.”

"I'm at a place now where I'm building the framework for the future of CHH and hopefully expanding faith in hip-hop globally. I'm also putting some skin on my faith. Martin Luther King Jr. put skin on his faith. He didn't just say I love God; he got out in the streets and ensured people were eating and protected their rights. In this post-George Floyd era, I can talk about the realities that affect Black and Brown people inside and outside the church and challenge my white brothers and sisters to pay attention to our voices. It's me putting skin on my faith. When you listen to Church Clothes 4, no side has it all figured out. It begins with listening. For us to work together, we gotta listen to each other! Church Clothes is just me challenging people to listen."

The 2023 Class of Gospel’s Grammy Nominees

Congratulations to Erica Campbell, Warryn Campbell, Doe, Maverick City Music & Kirk Franklin, PJ Morton, Tye Tribbett, Maranda Curtis, Ricky Dillard and Toby Mac, all of whom earned Grammy nominations for their latest projects…Finally, Grammy®-winning artist Re gina Belle is getting into the holiday spirit with the re lease of My Colorful Christmas, her first holiday album. Belle’s refreshing take on Christmas includes beloved favorites like “The First Noel,” “Silent Night,” and songs of remembrance like “Auld Lang Syne” and a duet with her daughter Sydni Battle on “A Baby Changes Every thing.”

ANGELA BASSETT was fierce in this white showstopper from Giambattista Valli VIOLA DAVIS was striking in this multicolored Christopher John Rogers halter gown JANELLE MONAE was a standout in this black pleated gown by Giambattista Valli GABRIELLE UNION was daring in this sheer black floral lace gown from Prada KELLY ROWLAND turned up the heat at the American Music Awards in this animal print creation from Nicolas Jebran Pastor Mike’s Winning Sea son
“Wel come to win ning season”, Pastor
Mike Jr., recently posted on Instagram and winning sea son it is for the 11x Stellar Award Winner, affectionately known as are some of our favorite looks from the red carpet last month. Kelly Rowland wowed at the American Music Awards, while A-list screen stars lit up the red carpet at the 2022 Governor’s Awards in Century City the night before.


“Afro Unicorn: First Black-Woman-Owned Brand Licensed In Major Retail Stores”

hen Afro Unicorn creator and CEO April Showers came up with her now multimil lion dollar lifestyle brand, she did it with the intention to remind women and chil dren of color how unique, divine and mag ical they truly are— and though the outspoken and savvy businesswoman always embraced her own personal magic, the irony is that at the time she wasn’t familiar with unicorns.

Before Afro Unicorn was conceived in May of 2019, Showers— an L.A. native— was a busy entrepreneur and single mother, running her insurance agency and real estate business while raising two young boys— which prompted her close friend to start calling her a unicorn.

“I had to ask him, ‘why do you keep calling me a unicorn?’, and he said it was because I can manage it all. And I was like, ‘well that’s just what women do’. And he said, ‘No, April you do it at an extraordinary level’,” Showers tells L.A. Focus.

But before Showers could embrace the compli ment, she had to first really understand it.

“I really didn’t know what unicorns were, I didn’t grow up with that kind of stuff,” says Showers. “So, I Googled it. I saw that they were magical, they were unique. I'm like, okay, I'm black girl magic and defi nitely unique. I'm going to identify as this unicorn.”

From there Showers ran with it and began using the unicorn emoji on her phone as a sign-off on her texts, until it dawned on her that every unicorn that she had ever seen depicted was white.

“One day it hit me, I said, ‘why is it that the image that's supposed to represent who I am, is white? Who determined that unicorns were supposed to be white?,” recalls Showers. “At that moment it no longer res

onated with me. I went to find one that looked like me and I couldn't, so instead of complaining about it, I just decided to be the change I wanted to see. That's why I created Afro Unicorn.”

With the desire to create an icon that would represent the black girl magic she em bodies and make something that can inspire young girls to embrace their power, Showers began working on a t-shirt design. She would come up with a unicorn logo with three dis tinct skin tones— mocha, caramel and vanilla to reflect the different complexions of her customer base— with flowing curly afro manes above her tagline: Unique. Divine. Magical.

“My goal from the beginning was to nor malize black beauty, to give our black and brown girls a unicorn that represents them and also en courages them to love the skin of theirs and embrace the crowns on their head,” says Showers.

Showers began building Afro Unicorn from the ground up, collaborating with other entrepreneurs and finding success in establishing a grass roots customer base of young girls and mothers who were glad to find a brand that allowed them to project self-confidence and power in their identity.

Fate would strike in the form of a viral video which made all of Showers’ hard work pay off in the biggest way. The video was of a little girl wearing her Afro Un icorn shirt out in public taking pictures, when a pas serby commented that they liked her hair. Without missing a beat, she responded with the most enthusi astic smile, “Thank you! It’s an Afro!” The adorableness

of the video caused it to get millions of views as well as shares from celebrities such as Viola Davis, Tina Knowles— and then the biggest celebrity of them all— Oprah.

After Oprah’s share, Showers would receive an email from Walmart asking if she would be interested in doing a line of Afro Unicorn party supplies for their stores.

Showers struck a deal with Walmart, making Afro Unicorn the first black woman owned brand to be li censed in a major retail store. They currently have 44 individual products on Walmart shelves, 22 party supply products and 22 other assorted products from their signature apparel to makeup and beauty items and everything in between— now even Afro Unicorn birthday cakes.

And according to Showers, from the very beginning

W 14 L.A. Focus/December 2022

it would seem that Walmart had a big vision for her brand.

“Going into the Walmart deal I reached out for ad vice from an old mentor who had a brand at Walmart, and she told me to ask them for the door count, or how many different stores they would be testing the product in,” said Showers. “She said 50 to 200 would be great. But when it came up in the meeting they said a mini mum of 1,000! I ended up in nearly 4,000 which is al most all of the Walmarts in the country.”

And because Afro Unicorn is licensed through Wal mart they have access to all of Walmart’s partner brands, as well as manufacturing and distribution powers so quantity is never a problem. Showers says that most of her orders are now in the millions of units in each category.

Along with Walmart, Afro Unicorn products are now in Target, Kohls, and soon to be in JCPenny and Macy’s as well. The Afro Unicorn brand, which Showers says is modeled after Hello Kitty, has “four quadrant” appeal, or markets in demographics from babies to grandmothers, and has seen a rise in popularity thanks to endorsements from celebrities such as Tiffany Had dish, Alicia Keys, and Sherri Shepherd.

While the brand has seen sky-rocketing success, Showers says one of the biggest challenges she’s facing in continuing the growth of the brand is having content attached to her brand that people can consume and re late to.

“I have no content,” says Showers. “We’re compet ing in the same aisles as Disney princesses and Star Wars which all have stories being told and sold about them while Afro Unicorn is just the property itself. Tra ditionally you have content, you have a story, and then merchandise comes from that story— we’re definitely doing it the opposite way.”

To satisfy this issue, Afro Unicorn recently signed

a production deal to create an animated episodic TV series as well as a future feature film.

While much of Showers’ success comes from the de termined grit it takes to carry her vision, she is a strong believer in the power of lifting up those around her.

“If you’re helping enough people get to where you want to be, you’ll get to where you need to be,” says Showers. “I spend a lot of my time investing in other people and pushing them in whatever they have going on at Afro Unicorn. As a result of that hard work and those seeds we planted, the growth happens naturally.” And even though her big break— the viral video of the little girl— may on the outside seem like pure luck, it speaks to the power of creating networks of opportunity and empowerment through her work.

“It’s interesting that a year before that video was made, the mother of that little girl sent me a birthday card that read, ‘I hope that one day we can impact your life as much as you’ve impacted ours,’ and then a year later they impacted my life in a way I can’t even put into words,” says Showers. “I really believe that investing in people is how you create opportunities for yourself. I know that if I can get you into a place where you become the gatekeeper, it makes it easier for me to access those doors.”

Beyond that, Showers says it’s her faith that guides her and has a daily routine of prayer and gratitude is one of her secrets to success.

“Every day I write down ten things that I’m grateful for because there is something powerful when you re lease gratitude— you are telling God what gifts you are thankful for. So, I write down my master goals and I write ten things I am grateful for currently. When you write it down and go back through it, it becomes your bible. Every quarter I go back through what I’ve written and check what I’ve done— and in the long run I almost always get them all done.”

Chris Thompson Named Chief of Staff to MayorElect Karen Bass

With little more than three weeks to pull an ad ministration together and her swearing in set for De cember 12, the top priority of Mayor Elect Karen Bass assembling a team focused on bringing unhoused in dividuals indoors and making L.A. safer and more af fordable.

“My number one priority is assembling a team that will be ready on day one to move our city for ward. With his vast leadership experience and shared vision for our city, Chris is the right person to serve as my chief of staff and work with me to lead our agenda for Los Angeles’ future,” Bass said in a state ment. “Though this is an unprecedented three-week transition, make no mistake — change is coming, and we will hit the ground running.”

With the announcement this week of Chris Thompson as her Chief of Staff, a key part of that job is now behind her.

“The people of this city spoke loud and clear when they delivered a decisive victory for Mayor-elect Bass," said Thompson. "She has laid out a clear vision and plan to confront the crisis of homelessness and to make our city safer and more affordable for all. I look forward to helping her execute that vision.”

A seasoned leader in both the private and public sectors, Thompson–who currently serves as Senior Vice President of Government Relations for the LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Games working with local, state and federal officials and agencies to ensure a successful 2028 Summer Games in Los Angeles– will bring a fresh perspective and new direction to the mayor’s office and City Hall.

Is Carson the Next Home for the City of Refuge?

L.A. Baptist Community Mourns Pastor Kelly Taylor


Latricia Mitchell, president of the Los Angeles branch of the NAACP, directed her comments specifi cally to DeLeon.

Agape Church of Los Angeles

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

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

Bishop Craig A. Worsham, Founder & Senior Pastor

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

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

Bishop Noel Jones is not saying for sure, but it seems as if Carson could possibly serve as the next home for the City of Refuge, which final ized the sale of its Gardena property earlier this year and has until June of next year to move.

Compton had been discussed as a potential choice, but it now looks as though Jones is setting his sights on Carson.

Jones’ sweetheart sale has put the church in a great position financially, though the sum of the sale has not officially been disclosed.

“We came in at minimal and we n moved it out to ten times the amount of money,” is all Jones would say.

“What we would like to do now is to acquire at least 15-17 acres–no less than 10 acres–and build out a boxing gym, basketball gym for our community. Make it a no-gun zone. Do church because we’re only doing church live two hours a week.

“We want to focus every night on something,” he continues. “Right now, we’re doing real estate classes. We want to teach truck driving because transportation becomes critical in a time like now. We want to do a commercial kitchen and teach people how to cook prop erly–the right kind of food. We want to partner with people who develop low income housing. We want to be able to feed people who are hungry…to put porta potties and showers on our parking lot and have guards so people who are living in their cars can be on a piece of property and be safe throughout the night and be able to refresh themselves and get back to wherever they work. That’s the kind of thing we want to do. At the same time continue to do the spiritual work God has called us to do.”

Faith Leaders Reiterate Calls for Councilmembers DeLeon and Cedillo to Resign

In the wake of L.A.’s newly elected leadership and in an effort to move past the city council scandal sparked by leaked racist tapes, a coalition of faith and community leaders gathered this week to echo the call for the resignations of Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Kevin de Leon. They say the resignations of past coun cil president, Nury Martinez and L.A. County Feder ation of Labor President Ron Herrera,are not enough given the chaos created by their actions.

“We have joined the voices of unity, in unity, in a call for clarity, demanding that Gil Cedillo and Kevin de Leon resign from the office and resign immediately,”

Pastor J. Edgar Boyd of First AME Church stated. “Mr. Cedillo, Mr. DeLeon, both of you have irrepa rably destroyed and betrayed the trust between you and your voters, the voters who are constituents in your district. You have shamed your constituents. You have disgraced the City of Los Angeles. You have outrightly attached a colleague, a fellow member, with the racist references that you made against him and his minor child. Your actions have created racial and ethnic rifts across communities, across Los Angeles. Your actions have made you unfit for public office... Do the right thing and re sign your office and allow the City to begin to

“Everyone in the United States knows your name, Mr. de Leon. The mask you were wearing has now come off,” Mitchell said. “We know who you really are. You are not helping the people in Council District 14 because you are not at the Council meeting. You said, ‘No, I will not resign because there is a lot of work ahead.’ Yes, there is work, but you are no longer the person to do that as an elected official. If there is work to do, you can do it as a community member. It is time for you to resign.”

SCLC Los Angeles chapter president, Rev. William Smart was among those who are concerned about the negativity “brewing in the community” following the fallout from the closed-door meeting.

“It is very important that as we establish and move forward in a beloved community, that we have people that understand unequivocally that you have and say the right words, even behind closed doors,” Smart ob served. “Even though Kevin de Leon has two more years, we cannot afford to move forward with him on the City Council. “Resign Kevin, resign.”

L.A. Baptist Community Bids Fond Farewell to Pastor Kelly Taylor

No one expected his death at just 51 years old, but on October 28, Pastor Kelly Taylor, who pastored the New Congregational Missionary Baptist Church where he founded Xpand CDC, passed away after suffering a stroke while on the freeway.

And last month, over 500 of his colleagues, family, friends and parishioners packed into the Mt. Moriah Baptist Church to honor Kelly, who served in Chris tian ministry over four decades in Los Angeles.

The program was officiated by Pastors Henry Brown, Terry Brooks and Eric Phillips, with Dr. R.A. Williams delivering the eulogy.

“Every time I think about Kelly, I think about the name that I gave him–I called him “Mini Me”, said Williams. “How God used him in a tremendous way to preach the gospel. We loved him dearly.”

Said Pastor E. Wayne Gaddis, “He made everyone feel like they were his best friend.”

As a youth who played piano while growing up at Friendly Friendship Baptist Church where the Pastor told him, ‘When you grow up, you’re going to play for the adult choir, to which Kelly replied, “no, when I grow up, I’m going to have your job.”

Taylor’s wife of 28 years, First Lady Myesha Taylor, spoke of the sacrifices he made in ministry.

“Some of you appreciated it. Some of you didn’t, but ultimately, I know God used him to make a difference. Everything we went through was for a reason and a purpose and for somebody else’s life to be changed.

“I decided…our church decided…our friends and family decided that his legacy will continue, not be cause it is about a building. Not because it’s about what things you can accomplish, but he gave his blood [for this].”

Pastor Kyron S. Shorter

Sunday Morning Prayer: 9:00am Sunday School: 9:30am Morning Worship: 11:00am Children’s Church: 11:00am Sunday Evening Service: 6:00pm

Brookins-Kirkland Community AME Church

3719 West Slauson Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90043 (323) 296-5610 • www.bkcamechurchla.org Rev. Mary S. Minor, DMin,Pastor Worship virtually: Facebook Live at Brookins-KirklandCommunity AME Church For prayer: Call or email to be added to the prayer list Bible Study Thursdays: 6pm Via Zoom call or email office:bkcamechurchla@gmail.com

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

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

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

Rev. Dr. Virgil V. Jones

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

Crenshaw Christian Center 7901 South Vermont, Los Angeles, CA 90044

(323) 758-3777 • F: (323)565-4231 • www.faithdome.org

Dr. Frederick K. Price

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

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

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

Pastor James K. McKnight

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

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

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

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

P.O. Box 561368, Los Angeles, CA 90056 (323) 293-7566 • www.gfdjc.org •gfdjc@att.net Dr.Ruby I. Cottle, Ph.D., Pastor/Teacher Services every Friday: 7:00pm We meeet at:

St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church 3901 W. Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, Ca 90018 Watch Dr. Cottle on HBN TV Wed’s 7:30am Channel 886 Dish,Smart TV Local Channel 35.2 Listen to Dr. Cottle Sundays on KJLH at 5:00am

Church News
Pastor Dwaine Jackson
16 L.A. Focus/December 2022

Grant AME Church

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

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

Greater Ebenezer Baptist Church 5300 S. Denker Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90062 (323) 759-4996

Rev. DeNon Porter

Early Worship: 8am

Sunday School: 9:30am

Mid-Morning Worship: 11am Radio-KALI 900AM: Sun. 11-Noon, 7-8pm

KTYM 1460AM Sundays: 5:30pm Bible Study (Tues, Wed & Thurs): 7pm

Holman United Methodist Church 3320 W. Adams Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90018 (323) 703-5868 • www.holmanumc.com Email: holman@holmanumc.com

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

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

McCarty Memorial Christian Church

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

Senior Pastor Edward Anderson

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

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

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

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

Sunday Worship: 8am,10am,Noon

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

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

Rev. Joshua Daniels, Pastor

Morning Worship: 10am

(In Service and Online Live Stream Worship)

Sunday School: 8:45am

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

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

Superintendent Jeffrey M. Lewis

Sunday Early Worship: 8am

Sunday Morning Worship: 11am

Sunday School: 9:30am

Tuesday Bible Study: 11am

Wednesday In The Word: 7pm

All services streamed: Facebook and YouTube

@New Antioch Church of God In Christ

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

Pastor Touré and Sarah Roberts

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



Michelle Clease

Contributor KAREN A. BROWN

New Life Christian Center

Her husband–Pastor Todd Clease– can re member what she was wearing the first time he saw her and it is that kind of adoration that has fueled their 31+ year marriage and the couples ministry he and First Lady Michelle Clease foster as the lead pastors of the New Life Christian Center.

It was Michelle’s early commitment to Christianity that first drew her husband to God while also mark ing the start to a much deeper relationship between the two, who at the time were just friends.

Recalls Michelle, “I shared with him what I had learned about the holy spirit and he was seeking and hungry and he ended up getting filled and to thank me, he was like, let's go out to dinner. That's how we started.”

The L.A. native credits the success of their mar riage to them both wanting to be pleasing to God to gether.

“I knew I was going to be married to a pastor in my heart, but I think making the commitment was really hard when I saw it starting to come into vision,” said the mother of two adult children. She, however, wasn’t quite as sure being a First Lady when they took of the pastorate at New Life LA a decade ago.

“I just never could see myself in the first lady role the way I knew church and I was like, ‘Lord, you’ve got to help me with this, because that's not me.’ Then he just really confirmed in me that, ‘I want to use you the way you are’. That helped to release me.”

Like her husband, she has a passion to see the lost won for Christ and to see mar ital relationships re stored.

Says Michelle, “I know that I don't have to have that tradi tional role of the first ladies I saw sitting on the front pew. Instead, I know how to just be me and to care about people.

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

Rev. Terrell Taylor

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

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

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

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

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

Reverend Dr. Lovely Haynes, Pastor

Sunday Worship: 8:30am

Sunday classes follow morning service

Tues Eve Family Prayer Line: 6:30pm

Wednesday Noon: Hour of Power Prayer line

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

Sunday Exposition of Sunday School Lesson:10am

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday School: 8:00am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Service Time: 10:45

Virtual Worship: Youtube


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


Early Morning Worship: 7:30am

Mid-Morning Worship: 11:15am

New Members’ Class: 9:45am

Communion/1st Sunday: 7:30am/11:15am


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

Apostle Ronald C. Hill Sr., Founder/Pastor

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

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

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

Food For Your Soul TV Ministry

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

The Word Network Fridays @ 12:30pm

In Compton
Zion Church Family 2408 North Wilmington Avenue, Compton, CA 90222 (310) 639-5535 • (Tues - Thurs 10am -4pm)
IG: GZCFamily
Dr. Michael J. Fisher, Senior Pastor Sunday Worship: 9:00am Online Wednesday Bible Study: 7:00pm FB: GreaterZionChurchFamily
Dr. George L. Thomas Sunday School: 9:45am & 10:15am
Mid-Week Prayer/Bible Study (Wed)- 7pm Broadcast (KALI 900AM - Sun:2-3:00pm
Unity Christian Fellowship 1840 S. Wilmington Ave, Compton 90220

The City of Refuge

14527 S. San Pedro St, Gardena, CA 90248

(310) 516-1433

How Long at church: 2 months

Hometown: Anchorage, Alaska

Family: Wife Karen of 24 years, five children

You were recently appointed to lead Grant AME, one of the most storied churches in Watts–why do you think you were the right fit for Grant AME?

I'm just speculating, but my wife and I have been very active in the conference when it comes to the young people. We have given of ourselves and our resources so that the young people can be ministered to and I think what the bishop may have seen is that we are willing to give of ourselves and our resources unself ishly when we see a cause we believe in. Grant for me is a cause I believe in.

All you up for the challenge of restoring Grant to its former glory?

The first week I was in the office, I realized Grant is where I'm supposed to be. I love a challenge and we're in a challenging mode right now and we're going to be all right. I have a five-hour commute round trip every day, and it's okay. When I look at it, God has been pre paring me for Grant since day one. Everything I've been through–including the military has designed me for this moment right here at Grant. I believe the bishop saw that. I think the presiding elder saw it, and that's why I'm there.

I understand you preached your first sermon at 12 years old?

Yes, first sermon at 12 years old, but I think the first thing I ever did in the church where I was portraying a preacher was a Tom Thumb wedding to raise money for some organization. But I never imagined I'd be a preacher or a pastor.

What did you grow up wanting to be, if not a pastor?

I wanted to be a doctor but I must have changed my mind a million times. I received the call at 18, but I ended up joining the military and stayed 20 years in the Marine Corps–a veteran of the Desert Storm War.

Wait a minute, you receive your call at 18, but decide to go into the military first?

Well, I was a little bit indecisive there for a couple of years. I went to Japan and that kind of took me out of the loop for a while. But when I came back, I made up my mind that I was going to complete my ministerial classes and finish up my ministry. And so, I started back heavily with my ministerial classes, and I was sta tioned in 29 Palms. I got my first church in 1999, and I retired from the military in 2004. So, the last five years of my military service, I was also pastor.

So, you're thinking about ministry and in a war zone, what is that like?

I looked at it like this: that God was with me there, just like He was with me stateside when I was and wasn't in an actual conflict. I think it increased my faith. I re member going to an Easter Sunrise service in Saudi Arabia just sitting out there in the open. So, my faith didn't shake, and I didn't have any reservations about what I was doing or why I was there. I understood what my mission was on the military side, but I also thought about all of those persons in the Bible that God was with in battle.

Did you learn anything about yourself in the military that has helped you in ministry?

Yes. A lot of what I’ve done as a pastor comes from my military training. The self-discipline to get a job done, the ability to lead people and be the ex ample in leadership and to be at the forefront whenever anybody gets ready to do something. Also, I was a computer technician in the mili tary, so a lot of that transitioned over into my ministry as far as practical application when it came to teaching and administrative tasks. And I had to learn how to deal with all different types of

people from all over and to accept everybody and un derstand that everybody brings something a little dif ferent, but it doesn't mean we can't all be on the same team and still accomplish the mission.

I imagine Dessert Storm was tough, was that your most challenging time?

No, I think struggling with my call was probably one of my biggest challenges more so because I was young. It was while I was in the military that I got focused and realized my calling to the ministry was what I was sup posed to do, and I haven't looked back.

What was the deciding factor in your going all in?

When my first marriage didn't work, that was one of my biggest trying moments, probably the biggest. That made me think about who I was as a person, who I was as a father, and about the calling that I had. How was I fulfilling it? So, I started getting serious about finish ing up my classes and completing my ministry. I didn't have the slightest idea I was going to be assigned as a pastor at the same conference I got ordained at. Nor mally that doesn't happen, but as soon as I got or dained, I got sent to a church.

What are your strengths and how do you think you've evolved as a pastor?

My work ethic, my leadership skills when it comes to leading people trying to do what's right, I always want to do what's right and fair by the people and by anyone. And I think I have grown by leaps and bounds when it comes to interacting with people. I used to kind of shy away from any type of conflict, but I’ve learned that conflict doesn't always mean aggression. That took me a while to figure out and to understand it’s okay to dis agree with somebody. That it doesn't mean that it's going to escalate. Because of that, I'm able to listen and not take things personal and be able to say, okay, what would you like to see? I have a master's degree in mar riage and family therapy, and I’ve learned how to listen to people when they talk.

What is the biggest mistake you’ve made? One of them was taking people at their word and then finding that maybe they didn't have my best interest or the church's best interest at heart. Now, as a pastor, I really look to that shepherd mentality God has placed in me. The church is full of awesome folks but one of my pet peeves is when people try to come and take advan tage of their trust and faith. So, I believe God has placed me at Grant for this particular season in my life and for the season at Grant, to be able to protect them and to help them to get back to that former glory. I look forward to being the pastor of everybody at Grant, and learning from them, working for them. And I don't say I'm going to the church; I just tell myself I'm getting up and going to work.

Why is that?

Because I'm there to do a job and I believe in that job and I'm thankful that the job is to help people, to bring people to Christ, to help edify the church and to help the community. I believe I can and will do that.

If you had a philosophy or scripture you live by, what would it be?

Psalm 121:1, “I will look to the hills from when's coming into my help. My help is coming from the Lord.” Every morning I stand out in my backyard and God has blessed me to have a beautiful view where I see nothing but rolling hills and I look at those hills every morning and say, Psalm 121:1. Also I Corinthians 2: 45, “My message and my preaching was not with wise or persuasive words work, but with the demon stration of the spirit's power that your faith might not rest in human wisdom, but in God's power.” That speaks to what I say every time I get up there on Sunday morning. It's not about Tim. It's not about how theatrical or impressive Tim can be, it's all about God and giving God glory.

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

Evening Worship: 6:00pm

Bible Study (Wed): Noon & 7:00pm

BET/Fresh Oil (Wed): 7:00am

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

Pastor David W. Cross

Morning Worship/Livestream:10:00 am Hispanic Ministry

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

The CROSSWORD with Pastor Cross: You Tube

Atherton Baptist Church

2627 W. 116th Street Hawthorne,CA 90250 (323) 757-3113 • www.athertonbc.org F: 323-757-8772 • athertonbaptist@sbcglobal.net

Pastor Larry Weaver

In Hawthorne

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

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

Bible Enrichment Fellowship International

400 E. Kelso, Inglewood, CA 90301

(310) 330-4700 • www.bamcm.org

Dr. Beverly “BAM” Crawford

Morning Worship: 9:30am

Tues. Bible Study: 7:30pm

Wed. Mid-Week Prayer: 5am, Noon & 7:00pm

Wednesday Pathway: 7:00pm Thurs Bible Study: 10:00am

In Inglewood

Sat Marriage & Family Prayer: 7:30am

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

Pastor Wendy Howlett

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


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

Pastor Geremy L. Dixon

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

Faithful Central Bible Church 333 W. Florence Ave. Inglewood, CA 90301

(310) 330-8000 • F: (310) 330-8035

Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer, Ph.D.

Senior Pastor/Teacher

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

Wed. Mid-Week Service: 7:00pm

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

Jacob’s Ladder Community Fellowship, inc.

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

Watchman/Shepherd Dr. Robert T. Douglas Sr. Sunday Fresh Start & Prayer 9:00am

Sunday School: 10:00am Morning Services: 11:45am Evening Service: 7:00pm

Wed. Lock & Load Prayer: 7:00pm

Wed. Bible Study: 7:30pm

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

Pastor Profile: Tim Coston
Church: Grant AME Church Bishop Noel Jones
In Gardena

From the Pulpit:

Greater Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church

“The Sorrowful End of the Unsaved Christian”

ometimes in our effort to make the gospel simple we have taken away crucial and pivotal ele ments of the gospel truth. We have, in other words, dumbed it down. Some call it easy-believ ism.

This is how it plays out in some of our churches. After the preacher finishes [his sermon], he says something like this, ‘Every head bow and every eye closed. If you're here and not sure you're going to heaven, I want you to slip that hand up right where you are. ‘I see you, sir. I see you, ma'am. Okay, I want you to repeat after me. And if you pray this prayer and you mean it, you're saved.’

There is no mention of holiness, no mention of sin or the need for repentance. No mention of denying yourself and picking up your cross daily, which Jesus declares is necessary if you want to be his disciple. No cost counting at all.

I was in a meeting where when it was over, the preacher declared, “You're saved now and don't let any body tell you different.”

So, we got folks getting saved, but they don't know what they're saved from or for. And a lot of times what we have is people who want to be saved from hell, but not sin. And if you can make a deal where they can avoid hell but keep their sin, they're all in.

So, we got folks getting saved, but they don't under stand anything about the true nature of salvation. We tell them just sign on the dotted line and get your ticket to heaven.

We tell these non-converted unregenerated, unsaved Christians–with no follow up, no investigation to see if they even really understand what they claim to believe. We don't connect them to a church or a community of believers who can instruct them, encourage them and confirm that they truly are born again.

Doesn't matter if you never set foot in church again, you're saved. Doesn't matter if you continue to pursue a life of sin, you're saved. Doesn't matter if you exhibit zero love for Christ or His people, you're saved and don't let anybody tell you different.

It's what one theologian called cheap grace. It makes a mockery of the true and amazing grace of God. It holds the cross of calvary in contempt and is quite frankly sending multitudes to hell because we teach as long as you came down that aisle once upon a time, it doesn't matter how you behave– once saved, always saved.

That brings us to the 11th article of the Baptist Ar ticles of Faith of Perseverance of the Saints. It says, “We believe that such only are real believers as enduring to the end, that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from super ficial professors.”

The unsaved Christians are the ones we want to look at today and it's my prayer that if any of us recognize ourselves as we go through this passage that we will be

True Friendship Missionary Baptist Church

7901 South Van Ness Ave. Inglewood, CA 90305 (323) 750-7304

Rev. James A. Perkins

Sunday School: 9:30am

Early Worship: 8am

Morning Worship: 10:45am

Bible Adventure Hour (Tues): 6pm

Bible Study (Tues): 7pm

Bible Study (Thurs): Noon

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

Senior Pastor Wayne Chaney, Jr.

convicted and in humility– regardless of our status, standing, or long years in church–we would determine to truly repent from sin, receive salvation and be deliv ered from unsaved Christianity.

There is a difference between those who have truly been converted, redeemed and regenerated, and those who've just been in church a long time and if we don't know the difference, this message is for us.

The first thing we see in the text is that Jesus makes a declaration to be heeded. He's wrapping up the ser mon on the mount and says in verse 21, “Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Not everyone who talks to talk. Not everyone who knows who to give honor and reverence to. Not everyone who's got a gospel song in their playlist or a scripture in their bio. Our fore parents used to sing a song that said, “Everybody talking about heaven ain't going there.”

If that doesn't shake you up, I don't know what will.

I don't mean any harm, but I feel some kind of way when I hear those who’ve made no profession of Christ and exhibited no love for Christ drop a “look at God” in the middle of their ungodly conversation.

I'm getting weary of folks who have no affiliation with the church, but they're talking about won't He do it? No brother, He won't do it, if you don't know Him.

To see this in real time, all we have to do is tune in to the next BET awards. What you will see is a parade of performers who have been made millionaires making music that glorifies violence, objectifies women, pro motes greed and materialism, but will get on stage and say, “I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Hold on, ma'am. Hold on, sir. Let's make sure you've got your business straight with Jesus be fore you put His name in the middle of the nonsense you’re spewing out.

Don't be a fool. Jesus says, “Not everyone who says Lord, Lord, shall into the kingdom of heaven.” His declaration is that only the ones who do the will of the heavenly Father enter the heavenly kingdom.

So, what is the will of the Father?

Well, we know from scripture there are several components to His will. The first and foremost is that we be born again. That's the first order of business.

We also see in verse 22, there's a deception to be rejected. Verse 22 says, “Many will say to me in that day (the day of judgment). That's where all will stand before the

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

Sunday School: 8:30am

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

Lord and be held accountable for what they did in the body if their names are not written in the lamb's book of life.”

Jesus says “many” are going to have this experience and it is the burden of my heart that no member of this con gregation be found among the many. That nobody in this ministry is operating under the illusion that they are in the number only to discover on the last day they were self-deceived.

They'll say, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name, cast out demons in your name, done many wonders in your name.

Notice the ones making this plea are not your run of the mill Christians. No, these are superstars, right–people who have prophesied and cast out demons in Jesus' name. Done many wonderful works in Jesus' name. But Jesus says, whatever they did, no matter how spectacular, was not the will of the Father.

Why? Because it did not include true conversion and salvation.

This should remind all of us that just because we did something in Jesus' name does not mean it was the will of the Father even if it appears to be successful.

In fact, the whole “Raise your hand and repeat after me” style of evangelism has been very successful. Those who engage in it report the many thousands of people they’ve seen converted.

The question is, were they really converted? Were they really raised from spiritual death to life? Did the Holy Spirit really take up residence in their hearts? Or did they just respond to a clever sales pitch? Were they just manipulated emotionally?

There's a declaration to be heeded. There's a deception to be rejected. Finally, there is a des tination to be rejected. In verse 23, Jesus says, “And then I will declare to them, I never knew

Imagine believing that you are in the grace of God, that you are among those that God has extended his eternal favor– only to discover on that day Jesus never knew you. That's why as good as it is to know Jesus, it's better to be known by Him. I know some of you’ve got connections. You're known in the room where it happens. But does Jesus know you?

Jesus says to the unsaved Christian, ‘You went through the motions. You said the words, but I never knew you.’ Then He is going to say, ‘De part from me, you who practice law lessness.’

The Greek word here literally means without law. It speaks to a disregard of God's law and God's truth. There are some who

Morning Worship: 11:00am

In Long Beach

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

Give: text antiochib to 77977

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

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

Rev. Dr. Michael W. Eagle, Sr.

Sunday Worship: 10:45am

Wednesday Food Bank: 9:00am-Noon Mothers of Murdered Youth/Children: Thurs by Appt.; (B.U.S) Blankets, Underwear, Shoes: Thursdays Facebook Live•YouTube•Free Conf Call

Walking In The Spirit Ministries Double Tree (Sonoma Grill) 12623 Norwalk Blvd, Norwalk CA 90650 (213) 248-6343 P.O Box 1597 Norwalk CA,90651 Tim & Leshia Brooks
Services Held Every 2nd & 4th Sunday and Free Breakfast Is Served Bible Study: 8:30am (Every 5th Friday)
S Call 310.677.6011 Ask for Kisha 19 L.A. Focus/December 2022
Pastor DeNon Porter

sale of logo-wear and merchandise, and hosting big events like concerts where the ticket prices are twice (or more) than what is normally paid to see a band. The Chronical Review also noted how some groups have launched independent record labels to sale what they called “white power music” and have earned millions. Others are beneficiaries of the wills and estates of deceased wealthy allies.

Despite the media coverage, the war against hate groups is gaining ground, and the SPLC is one of many fighters to be credited for remaining on the front lines until results are seen.

“We have crippled or destroyed some of the country’s most notorious hate groups,” the SPLC report confirms. “[That includes] the United Klans of America, the Aryan Nations, and the White Aryan Resistance. We’ve sued them for murders and other violent acts committed by their members or by ex posing their activities.”

Just last month there was yet another victory with the recent guilty verdicts of the far-right anti-government militia group, the Oath Keepers, whose leader, Stewart Rhodes now faces a maximum of 60 years in prison.

Elder continued from page 7

called a gay man a "little b–-" and even made a racist slur against Mexican im migrants. So "white southern conserva tives" do not have a monopoly on racism and bigotry. Why, one can even find rac ism and bigotry at The New York Times. I once heard country singer and pianist Charlie Rich at the Michigan State fair in Detroit. I was about the only black in a crowd of maybe 3,000. Given the insuf ficient number of blacks to keep me com pany, perhaps I should have stayed home and listened to "Behind Closed Doors" on the radio. As for Walker say ing, "I'm not that smart," what of Pres ident Joe Biden? During the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama re portedly said of his running mate, "How many times is Biden going to say some thing stupid?"

But at least "African Americans" show up at Biden rallies.

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and nationally syndicated radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com. Follow Larry on Twitter @larryelder. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

Reed continued from page 7 be the first person to take advantage of this loophole.

The question is: has Walker actually changed his residency yet? Campaign fi nance filings show that he has at least one house in Georgia, but a new report from CNN shows Walker still claiming a tax exemption in Texas that’s only supposed to apply to a primary res idence. Most states offer the so-called homestead tax exemption, which allows homeowners a small break on local taxes for the privilege of living in the jurisdic tion.

Walker, CNN reports, took the exemp tion last year and this year, despite reg istering to vote in Atlanta in 2021, where his wife also voted in 2020. One of the 15 qualifications the state of Geor

gia looks at in considering whether someone is legally eligible to run for of fice representing the state is where they take their homestead exemption, CNN notes. For Walker, that would be damn near 800 miles from the Georgia capital.

Keith Reed is a writer, former editor at ESPN, commentator and a contributor to theroot.com, which is where this oped was initially published.

have the idea that as long as they're not anti-God, that they are okay with God.

This word lets us know that we don't need to be opposed to God's word or God's way to inherit a regrettable des tiny, because if we are simply disregard ing God's will, that will be enough to condemn us on the last day.

In Matthew 12:30, Jesus says, “He who is not with me is against me and he who does not gather with me scatters abroad.”

He says if you're not working with me, you're working against me. If you're not representing me, you are pulling me down. He says, “If you practice lawless ness, your ‘Lord, Lord’ does not matter.”

This I would submit is the essence of the unsaved Christian. They say they are Christians, but their profession does not match their practice. And just like faith without works is dead, so profes sion without practice is dead.

Now, I don't want anybody to think that what we say about Jesus does not matter. What we profess about our love for Christ and our commitment to His truth does matter. It’s empty professions that don't matter. If all we do is profess and not practice, we are talking loud and saying nothing.

This also is not a call for you or I to try to work harder or to do more. That's not the point. The ones saying, Lord, Lord, to Jesus were casting out demons, prophesying,–they were doing the most, but they were still condemned.

This is a call to be known by Jesus. To have a vibrant relationship with Jesus that begins with repentance from sin and calling on the Lord in faith. That the works that we do will then flow out of our supernatural relationship with God in Christ as our savior and Lord.

So, what is the destination to be la mented for the unsaved Christian?

Friend, if the Lord says depart from me to you on that day, understand it will not be because He is rejecting you. It will be because you have rejected Him and there will not be an abundance of places for you to go. The only place left is the place Jesus declared was prepared for the devil and his angels. In Luke 13, he says it's a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.

You can't be reincarnated into a dan delion or a dolphin. There is no pur gatory. No waiting room for heaven where you can hang out for a couple of millenniums while your sins are purged. No house for you to haunt.

But there is another option. If you come to Him while the blood is running warm in your veins, in repentance and faith, trusting Him as your savior and living by His grace in gratitude and love, on that day, the Bible says, He'll say, “Well done good and faithful servant.” You have done the will of your Father. You have fought a good fight. You have finished your course. “Enter into the joy of the Lord.’

Hate continued from page 7
page 19

Chef Spotlight

Nyesha Arrington

or Kyndra McCrary–owner of the Swift Café in Leimert Park– cooking is not just about taste but artistry. For that reason, a lot goes into what she serves and the presentation of it. But ironically, that is not why McCrary opened the café in 2019. Instead, it was because she saw a need she believed she could fill.

“I wanted to provide healthy op tions in the inner city. It’s a food de sert and so Swift was created to provide healthy options,” said McCrary, who has been featured on the Food Network.

burgers and Sweet potato ravioli to soba noodle salad and Tiramisu smoothies.

“I love being creative and adding new flavors. My grandmother is Panamanian, so I have a lot of Latin and Island influence. I also travel a lot so I want to create dishes that are diverse,” says the San Diego native, who is of African, Irish, Panamanian, Jamaican & Native American heritage.

Chef Kyndra's Cranberry Sauce


1 (14 oz bag fresh cranberries)

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

2 cups simply Orange juice

2 TB cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 pinch salt

1 full orange zested (just the zest)


1) Put all ingredients in a pot and mix till encorporared.

“I’ve had a catering company for over ten years before I opened the restaurant and I always wanted a brick and mortar and I really wanted to have something that was in the inner city – something for the community”.

Her motto is cooking with love, but her specialty is diversity. Menu items span everything from Bison

“My grandmother used to say Ooh La La after cooking something that she was excited about and that’s actually the name of my cat ering company.” That her cafe is still operational after opening five months before the pandemic has strengthened her faith.

“I realized that without God, none of this is possible,” she said.

Next up for McCrary is a cook book she hopes to have out next year. For more about the Swift Café, visit www.swift-la.com.

3) Once boiling turn flame down low to a simmer. Stir occa sionally to prevent burning on the bottom of the pot.

2) Bring to a boil.

4) Once all or most of the cranberries have burst open re move from heat and let cool. Refrigerate and consume until your heart is content!

NOTE: This can be used folded into pancake batter the day after thanksgiving for cran berry pancakes. You can use on scones for a nice quick breakfast and you can also pour over cream cheese as a nice dip for crackers! Enjoy!

21 L.A. Focus/December 2022
InGoodTaste F


ast month, the Hollywood Reporter named Kevin Hart as the celebrity entrepreneur of the year for the booming $450 million-plus business empire he built while rocketing to su perstardom over the past decade with a string of box office successes–in cluding Jumanji, Central Intelli gence, Think Like A Man, Ride Along, The Upside and most recently Me Time–becoming one of the film industry’s hottest commodities and generating a so cial media following of 158 million followers.

Of Hart, the Hollywood Reporter wrote, “Stardom today is a commodity, more monetizable than ever, and few have figured out how to leverage it more ef fectively than Hart, who in parallel with his comedy career has built a business empire so diversified, it’s nearly impossible to categorize, ranging from film and TV to health and fitness, consumer packaged goods, spirits, sportswear, fintech and biotech.”

Aside from endorsement and or partnership deals with the likes of Sam’s Club, JP Morgan Chase, AT&T, Samsung, and Wrangler, Hart has an own ership stake in Hydrow rowing machines, Blackowned comic publishing house, Black Sands Entertainment and Fabletics with which he launched the Fabletics Men Line.

That doesn’t include his own very successful brands–the LOL (Laugh Out Loud) and Hartbeat Productions.

In May, Hart introduced his premium tequila, Gran Coramino and in August, he celebrated the opening of the first location of Hart House, his plantbased fast-food chain with two more locations cur rently under construction and is planning to open as many as ten restaurants over the next twelve months.

Quite a feat for a man who had made his bones off comedy. But perhaps the biggest part of Hart’s secret sauce for success is that he is willing to bet on him self, self-financing several of his early stand-up spe cials. He spent $750,000 to produce and release his 2011 special Laugh at My Pain in theaters, and in turn grossed upwards of $7 million.

"Knowing your self worth is extremely important. I worked very hard to get where I am today. I look at myself as a brand and because of that I will never allow myself to be taking advantage of. I own my brand…I make smart decisions for my brand…I pro tect my brand…which is why I'm able to brush igno rance off of my shoulder and continue to move forward. I refuse to be broken people…with that being said, it's now time for me to get back to building this empire that I've always dreamed of!"

Hart admits that starting out, he knew nothing about the business side.

“I was a sponge, and I soaked up a bunch of infor mation from being around people that were doing the things that I wanted to do,” Hart said.

Early on, Hart had at least two things going for him apart from his talent and drive: his mother,

Nancy Hart support and his faith.

Nancy Hart–who passed of ovarian cancer in 2007–struggled mostly on her own to raise Hart and his older brother. A strict disciplinarian, she made sure to keep him busy and out of trouble. Devoutly religious, she instilled in her son a love for God. Hart has famously recalled that in his early years as a struggling comedian, it was his mother who provided financial support, but it was contingent upon one thing: that he read his Bible.

On one occasion, when the rent due date had passed, he called to remind her about the rent and her only response was to ask him if he had been reading his Bible. He hadn’t and the next week when he once again pressed his mother for the rent assis tance, she told him, ‘When you read your Bible, then we'll talk about your rent.’

Finally, the comedian received an eviction notice. Frustrated, he called his Mom, who this time asked if he’d looked in his Bible. When he did, to his amaze ment, six months of rent fell out.

It was the faith she instilled in him that Hart says helped him through his early days as a breakout comic in his native Philadelphia, getting booed off stages and at one point being told that he didn’t have what it took to be a successful comedian.

After a slow start, however, he found his own rhythm and unique style, and enjoyed his first break through success in 2001 when Judd Apatow cast him in a recurring role on the TV series, “Undeclared”. Ironically, it was subsequent film roles in “Soul Plane”, “Scary Movie 3 and 4”, “The 40-Year-Old Vir gin,” “Little Fockers” and “Think Like A Man” that laid the groundwork for his successful comedy tours, beginning with “I’m A Grown Little Man” in 2009.

Hart had decided that he didn’t want to sit around and wait for Hollywood to give him roles, instead fo cusing in on his comedy.

“Over the course of like three and a half, four years, I built my fan base up,” Hart recounted in a 2019 interview with LinkedIn. “My fan base was now selling out all shows, so now I don’t have to do comedy clubs. Now I can do little theaters. Now I’ve built all this up by just being persistent and saying “Idle time is idle mind.”

In 2015, Chris Rock called him America’s “biggest stand-up comedian” and by 2016, he was named by Forbes Magazine as the successor to Jerry Seinfeld as “the king of comedy” with one recent report ap proximating his career touring gross earnings at nearly $190 million.

Hart credits his success to God and believes that everything happens for a reason, once posting “don’t laugh at my pain, because God has a plan for me.”

When in September of 2019, he nearly lost his life in an automobile accident, he believed the accident occurred as a result of God trying to get his atten tion.

"When God talks, you gotta listen," he wrote in a social media post. "I swear, life is funny, be cause some of the craziest things that happen to

you end up being the things you needed most."In this case, I honestly feel like God basically told me to sit down," the 40-year-old continued. "When you're mov ing too fast and you're doing too much, sometimes you can't see the things that you're meant to see. But after my accident, I see things differently. I see life from a whole new perspective.”

For Hart–who was advised by his mother, “You only get one life, and you’re only gonna get out of it what you put into it”–everything boils down to hard work and in most cases, overworking and over deliv ering. And rather than being jealous of others’ suc cess, he uses their examples as fuel to work harder, believing, “I’m not doing as much as I could, because these people are proof that the things I want to do can be done.”

What he is not fond of is people who don’t put ac tion behind their words.

“So many people love to voice it just so they can hear themselves say it,” observes the happily married father of four. “It's so hard for some people to follow through and actually put action behind the words. So,my advice is to not be a talker because you can. Be the person that actually puts action behind it. And when you know that you're that person, then start picking people apart for advice and direction and what to do, what not to do because you know that you're gonna take it and you're gonna apply it. But when you don't know if you're even capable of taking information and going and using it, don't ask for it.”

In a recent shout out to all of what he’s dubbed as his life warriors, he said, “This thing called life ain’t easy. It’s hard as hell, but best believe there is a light at the end of every tunnel. It gets better people…keep grinding and keep believing…be a warrior.”

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