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W W W. L A F O C U S N E W S PA P E R . C O M








CHURCH NEWS: One Church LA Joins The Potter’s House Family PAGE


HOLLYWOOD BUZZ: Girl’s Trip Star Tiffany Haddish Has Breakout Year PAGE





Following The Money:


Celebrities & Churches Galvanize Efforts To Raise Funds for Victims of Hurricane Harvey

With major lawsuits, scandalous allegations and million-dollar customers walking away, many banks continue to find themselves working to recover from a loss of customer confidence....




L.A. Focus Publication

September 2017

Left: Former “227” stars Jackie Harry and Marla Gibbs catch up at Harry’s 61st birthday party; Middle: At Next Dimension University’s 10th Annual Commencement Ceremony Pastor/Producer Warryn Campbell and his wife, recording artist Erica Campbell (Mary Mary) received honorary doctorates; Right: Councilmember Curren Price (9th), Principal Qiana O’Leary, Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson (8th), and LA Promise Fund CEO Veronica Melvin pose at the opening of L.A. Promise Charter High School in South Los Angeles.


5 6

Fight Police Brutality With Your Wallet

From The Editor There But The Grace of God, Go I

Girl’s Trip Star Tiffany Haddish Has Breakout Year

One On One Kim Fields

Upfront Celebrities & Churches Galvanize Efforts To Raise Funds for Victims of Hurricane Harvey; Supervisor Mark RidleyThomas Introduces Template for Joint Efforts To Help Homeless


Head to Head


Money Matters Churches Gear Up For The Release

Headlines From Africa “A Question Of Faith”

22 23Through The Storm From The Pulpit Shiloh Full Gospel Baptist Church Rev. Quincy Fielding Jr.

Mother Seeks Justice in Depth of 26-Year Old Black Gay Male in Apartment of Prominent Democratic Donor

14 Calendar/Around LA In Good Taste 25 Red Carpet Style 16 Saving Grace Eye On Gospel 26 Mark Walker and Chef Jeremey McBryde

Black Girls Rock! 2017 at New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, New Jersey

Racism & the President


Biz News Briefs

Oprah Pacts With Kraft To Launch Her Own Food Brand Beyoncé Not The Only Celeb’s Name to Surface In Houston Rockets Sale

On The Money

Removing Ugly History Costs a Pretty Penny



Inside Hollywood

Feature Story

Following The Money: Banking While Black

Greg Alan Williams

The Gospel Music Association Announces Anthony Brown Scores Second Number One Album Tamela and David Are Set To Hit The Road Again


The lady in red is First Lady Jacquie Wade of Mount Moriah Baptist Church at the retirement gala held last month in honor of her husband, the Rev. Dr. Melvin V. Wade.

Church News

One Church LA Joins The Potter’s House Family Johnteris Tate Named Pastor of Mt. Moriah Baptist Church; Bishop Charles Blake Condemns Charlottesville Violence

20 Pastor Profile First Lady Files 21 Pastor Rudy Hagood

Genny Moore Crenshaw Church of Christ


Publisher/Editor-In-Chief Editorial Coordinator Contributors Production Photographer Advertising Social Media

Lisa Collins Antracia Moorings Gerald Bell Britney Westbrook Ian Foxx, Rickey Brown

Kisha Smith, Leatha Davis Jinoye Henry

L.A. Focus–On the Word, is published monthly. Address all correspondence to: L.A. Focus, 333 W. Florence Ave., Suite C333 Inglewood, CA 90301 • (310) 677-6011 Fax: (310) 677-2338 Subscription rates $25.00 per year.

advisory board Napoleon Brandford Pastor Beverly Crawford Marc T. Little

Siebert, Brandford, Shank & Co. Bible Enrichment Fellowship International Church Law Offices of Marc T. Little

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




Cover Design: Ups

cale Media Gro up


Dick Gregory Guest Columnist

Fight Police Brutality With Your Wallet rutality in any form is beneath human decency. When we add the word police before it, it takes on a whole different meaning. Typically, if one is being brutalized, they can call for, or hope for, law enforcement to intervene. However, when it is the police doing the brutalizing, who do you call? What do you do? If you resist and fight back, you lose. And if you submit and don’t resist, you lose. This lose-lose relationship between the black community and law enforcement is a stain on humanity. A stain that will hang around America’s neck like a shackle of shame. A hate-filled and blood-soaked stain that like two inkblots connecting, links the brutality of slavery seamlessly with the systemic brutalization of black and brown communities by “law” enforcement. For the entirety of my lifetime police have brutalized black people. The far too frequent brutal and excessive treatment of blacks is intended to terrorize an entire race. Terrorism by definition is to instill fear, to terrorize. There is a profound difference between fear and respect. White communities who are respected by the police struggle to understand the strained relationship between the black community and the police. They fall back on their own pleasant encounters as their frame of reference. Black folks many times assume all cops are bad until proven otherwise, and white folks typically assume all cops are good until proven otherwise. Recently we have seen rare occasions of police brutality in non-black communities, which has caused outrage, utter shock and confusion. If these white cops were killing white folks’ dogs like they’re killing my children, white women would have burned police stations down all over America. It’s just so evil when somebody that you pay for is doing this to you. … When someone gets a job and your tax money is paying for them, and when black parents and Latino parents have to wonder, when their children are just going out to the drugstore at night, will they come back? Out of the thousands of black cops in America, you never turn on the TV or pick up the newspaper and see where a white family is complaining that some black cop shot their child or mother or father in the head 40 times. Now, you ask the question: Are


From the Editor

black cops more spiritual than white cops? Are black cops better trained? No, black cops know that white folks ain’t going to tolerate it. That’s why you don’t see that. Police brutality is not when a cop necessarily knocks me upside the head. It’s when a cop calls me racial slurs when he’s making the arrest. It’s when he handles me wrongly in every process, processing the arrest. This too is a form of police brutality. Police brutality screams “I do not value your life and you are not human to me.” This is a systemic, institutionalized problem that demands a system-wide solution. This is genocide by cop, and it cannot be tolerated, but for generations it has been. I’ve routinely stated that our only effective power is economical. We need to have faith in our ability to maintain a movement, a shift of consciousness that will most likely cause us discomfort but affect change. This change or paradigm shift cannot be driven by a singular movement. Movements get infiltrated, and movements get hijacked. Town halls and rallies are intended to help folks feel better. They are short term and rarely enduring. You can, however, be lifelong activists with your wallet. Real change takes work. It takes us doing more to turn our neighborhoods into communities. It requires us to have a meaningful purpose to live and a willingness to be uncomfortable to change our reality. Police brutality harms and emotionally distresses entire communities. This problem is corrosive and rooted in a pervasive white supremacy mind-set and socioeconomic factors. No respect for black, brown or poor, with a definitive disdain for poor blacks. If we could ever come together enough, if we had one Christmas boycott against police brutality, then the white folks that are not involved in it — the turkey growers, Disneyland, all you media folks — they would come out and stop it. And when they nod their head, it stops. It is time to Occupy Your Life! Dick Gregory, who passed away last month, was an American civil rights activist and social critic who as part of his activism in the 1960s went on several hunger strikes in the U.S. and abroad. This column appeared in Variety Magazine earlier this year.


“There But The Grace of God, Go I... ”


help and in doing so to remember, “There but the grace of God go I.” (See page 13 to find out how you can help). It’s also a good time to assess whether or not we’re disaster ready. A few years ago during the holiday, I purchased earthquake survival kits for all of the members of my family—mostly because I want them to be safe, but I can’t lie and say them being safe was my only motive. Truth is, I wanted them to have their own so that in the event of an earthquake they all didn’t come looking for mine. As a friend of mine has said, “Better to have and not need than to need and not have.” Coincidentally, West Angeles COGIC had already planned a disaster preparedness expo that is scheduled to take place on October 7. Free and open to the community, it will feature information forums, disaster materials and workshops. We would all do well to take stock of our own emergency preparedness plans as the images of what’s happened in Houston are fresh in our minds. For all of the devastation we have seen on TV, it is at times like these when you also see the best in people—their strength, their courage, their resolve and their love. Neighbors helping neighbors they didn’t know. Strangers helping strangers irregardless of race, religion or sexual preference. Just people doing what they can to help others. While on the subject of Hurricane Harvey, those who have been displaced are right about now assessing their financial situations and part of how much they have saved up may well be about where they put their money. Our feature story, “Banking While Black” examines why our banking choices are so important and the role they play in creating wealth and pumping up those rainy day funds we all would do well to put aside. Finally, Hurricane Harvey reminds us of how in the blink of an eye, our lives— however cushy—can be turned upside down and inside out by tragedies no human could predict and you never know who you might have to depend on. So be kind to each other and keep the faith.

L.A. Focus/September 2017

ust days before Hurricane Harvey, all the talk was of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson monuments being torn down. While I don’t always agree with former pro basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, I couldn’t agree with him more when he called it wasted energy. "I'm not going to waste my time screaming at a neo-Nazi who is going to hate me no matter what,” Barkley said. “And…I've never thought about those statues a day in my life. If you ask most black people, to be honest, they ain’t thought a day in their life about those stupid statues. What we as black people need to do is we need to worry about our education. We need to stop killing each other. We need to try to find a way to have more economic opportunity…” How silly that must all seem now for those of us who know people or have family in the southeastern Texas/Houston area or those people living through the devastation of Harvey. Most of us cannot fathom the magnitude of what these people are facing. Just the sheer imagery of the devastation not to mention the chaos, the fear and realization of losing what you’ve spent your whole life building—all captured on live TV right before our eyes. What brought it home for me was to see a picture of a fellow publisher and friend, Sonny Messiah-Jiles of the Houston Defender being rescued from her home in Houston as a result of rising flood waters. The worst may be yet to come as in the next few months those hit hardest by Hurricane Harvey will have to go through the process of rebuilding their lives and dreams, many of them from scratch. The stories of desperation, heroism and tragedy—so personal and yet so public— are as hard to turn away from as they are to watch. Hard to imagine that in the span of 24 hours, a thriving and exciting American city was turned into a catastrophically devastated ghost town whose residents were left to ponder how they would pick up the pieces, their homes and income—temporarily, if not permanently—lost and no one, but no one going unscathed. The economic impact remains immeasurable with new challenges unfold by the day. I was shocked to see a friend and fellow publisher—and her famiy—had to be rescued by boat from the rising waters. But for each of the compelling stories is an opportunity for us to reach out and


UpFront F

News Briefs

Celebrities & Churches Galvanize Efforts To Raise Funds for Victims of Hurricane Harvey

rom Kevin Hart challenging fellow celebrities to donate $25K to victims of Hurricane Harvey and Houston’s relief efforts in a heart-wrenching video to singer Carl Thomas who helped to rescue victims from the rising waters in Houston, the Internet was awash in people responding in kind to the images from Houston. The challenge from Hart—who initially pledged $25K, but raised it to $50K— drew positive responses from T.I., DJ Khaled, Nicki Minaj, and Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, all of whom pledged the $25K. Chris Paul, who was recently traded to the Houston Rockets, donated $75K and Chris Brown announced that he would donate $100K, stating “I accept the challenge and I implore and encourage anyone else to make a change for this, please donate.” Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt initiated a crowdfunding campaign that —at post—had raised $9.2 million to aid in relief efforts. Sandra Bullock and Rachael Ray donated $1 million each. The Kardashian family pooled their monies together to contribute a whopping $500,000 and Beyonce, a native of Houston, released a statement on the devastation, pledging that she would help as many as she could. “My heart goes out to my hometown, Houston, and I remain in constant prayer for those affected and for the rescuers who have been so brave and determined to do so much to help,” read the statement issued to the Houston Chronicle. “I am working closely with my team at Beygood as well as my pastor (Rudy Rasmus at St. John’s in downtown Houston) to implement a plan to help as many as we can.” Houston churches have been on the front lines, even if somewhat limited. Houston’s Church Without Walls (pas-

Simone Biles with Hurricane Harvey volunteers

tored by Ralph West) was attempting to open its doors as a shelter, but had to scratch those plans when officials were unable to get the resources to support the effort. Meanwhile, their North campus had taken on water and another location was surrounded by impassable roads, but church officials stressed that they would assist as soon as they were able. After some controversy, Joel Osteen opened up his Lakewood Church to receive “anyone who needs shelter”, while urging Houstonians to “stay strong and know that God has you in the palm of its hand.” Associate Pastor John Gray said the church was taking on the charge to rescue its own, tweeting, “We are working to ensure we can reach people ourselves. please send your info, family name, number of adults & kids to” In a statement released by Co-Pastor Bridget Hilliard of Houston’s New Light Church, she said she and her husband Bishop I.V. Hilliard had never seen such devastation. “We are diligently working, planning and mobilizing on how we will help our church and community rebuild,” Hilliard stated. “Our desire is to see our city totally recovered and restored. My confidence

JINOYE HENRY Contributor

is that because we have been there for so many in their time of crisis, God will raise up others to help us according to Ephesians 6:8.” In fact, churches around the country are rallying to aid those in southeast Texas affected by Hurricane Harvey. Here in Los Angeles, churches are also gearing up to help in relief efforts. The Baptist church community is coordinating a massive fundraiser on September 24th, bringing together five Baptist conventions— Baptist Minister’s Conference (Pastor Xavier Thompson); California Missionary Baptist State Convention (Rev. E. Wayne Gaddis); California Baptist State Convention (President Elect Rev. Welton Pleasant); Western Baptist State Convention (Dr. Joe B. Hardwick) and Full Gospel California District (Bishop Johnny Withers)— to assist in the hurricane relief effort. “This is a time for giving,” said organizing Pastor Xavier Thompson. “If there was ever a time for the body of Christ to unite, this is an unprecedented opportunity to let our light shine.” In addition to “relentless prayers”, Holman United Methodist Church (Holman UMC) is coordinating efforts with its ecumenical and community partners to “coordinate compassionate actions in collaboration with the United Methodist Commission On Relief Agency; to receive financial donations to purchase items for Relief Kits – (cost per kit is $65); and is accepting donations at through their website to aid in relief efforts. “We’re assessing the matter and organizing a task force to respond to the catastrophe and tragedy in Southeast Texas and Houston,” said Pastor Edgar Boyd of First A.M.E. Church. “We’ll also

Rev. Al Sharpton Leads Thousand Ministers March for Justice Over one thousand ministers gathered at the National Mall on the 54th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s march on Washington in an effort to oppose the Trump administration and march for justice. According to civil rights activist and liberal commentator, Al Sharpton, more than 3,000 leaders from various faiths registered. “We wanted 1,000 rabbis, Sikhs, imams, Christian ministers of all denominations, because we wanted to say this nation is in moral trouble,” Sharpton said. “It’s immoral to try to take the vote from people that blacks and Jews and other people suffered and died for. It’s immoral to try and take health care from your mama because you don’t like Obama. It’s immoral give a tax cut to he rich while we need infrastructure and jobs.” Speakers included Sikh leader Rajwant Singh, Pastor Jamal Bryant and Rev. Jesse Jackson. In his address, Jackson expressed his concern about shifting federal spending away from pursuing violent, militarized white supremacists and toward voter suppression. “It’s healing time. It’s hope time. The water is deep, but deep water does not drown you. You drown when you stop kicking,” Jackson said. “Don’t stop kicking. Don’t stop marching. Don’t stop voting. Keep hope alive.” Martin Luther King III [son of MLK Jr.] was also in attendance. “I don’t even know if I’m even equipped to say what he was saying, but, I know he’d be greatly concerned about what is going on in our nation,” King III observed, “He would be proud of the fact that spiritual religious leaders from all faiths came together to stand up for justice, to stand up for righteousness and to stand up for truth and freedom.”

Harvey continued to page 24

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas Introduces Template for Joint Efforts To Help Homeless he Board of Supervisors approved a motion by its Chairman, Mark Ridley-Thomas, and Supervisor Sheila Kuehl that creates a template for such joint county-city efforts. Under this partnership, the County will provide supportive services that would go hand in hand with rental subsidies and other assistance from cities. To date, LA, Long Beach, Pasadena, Burbank, Glendale, Pomona and Redondo Beach have committed a combined total of 2,084 rental vouchers that can be distributed to the homeless. Using the template, the County can streamline the delivery of supportive services–which can include healthcare, mental health and substance abuse treatments, case management, even job training–to the beneficiaries of those rental vouchers. LA County’s Community Development Commission is currently working with Compton, Santa Monica, Culver City and other cities to ensure their own assistance to the homeless is also matched with supportive services. This wide-ranging collaboration is unprecedented in the nation. “Homelessness is the defining civic issue of our time and addressing it requires all hands on deck,” Chairman Ridley-Thomas said. “By working cooperatively, efficiently and urgently, the County and L.A. Focus/September 2017



cities are not only taking people off the streets but also putting them on a path to long-term stability and recovery.” Councilmember Marqueece HarrisDawson said, “Homelessness tends not to recognize municipal boundaries, so it requires all of us– from neighborhood to neighborhood, block to block, city to city, council to council, mayor to mayor – to work together to end homelessness.” Measure H was intended to end homelessness for 45,000 people across the County within the next five years, and prevent homelessness for another 30,000 people. The ¼-cent sales tax approved by voters in March is projected to raise $355 million annually for 10 years. In related news, the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee Chair José Huizar and other members of the Council, including Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Mike Bonin, joined the Coalition for a Just LA in calling for adoption of the linkage fee, which would create the city’s first-ever dedicated revenue source for affordable housing. Cities across the country, including San Francisco, Boston, and West Hollywood, have implemented similar fees — charged to developers for each square foot of new market-rate construction — to address affordable housing needs in their regions. A report by the city’s Planning

Department states, “The Linkage Fee as currently proposed would nearly double the annual affordable housing opportunities available to Angelenos.” “Enacting the Affordable Housing Linkage Fee would do more to address the real struggles that members of our congregations and our neighbors face as they live in substandard and/or unsafe conditions,” observed Rev. Kelvin Sauls, Pastor of Holman United Methodist Church. “Nothing less than $150 million a year will show a true commitment to our most vulnerable neighbors. The Los Angeles City Housing Element shows that to truly end our homelessness crisis we need to close the over 33,000 housing unit gap for low-income households, those most at risk of becoming homeless.” KeAndra Dodds, Senior Program Director at Enterprise Community Partners pointed to rising homelessness rates in Los Angeles over the past year. “The linkage fee would make it possible to provide 1,500 new homes for lowincome families and seniors by creating the first ever dedicated revenue source for affordable housing,” Dodds said. “This can help end and prevent homelessness for thousands. The time is now for Los Angeles to join other major cities with successful housing policies such as this. The time is now to help develop a more inclusive and just Los Angeles.”

Settlement Provides Over $51M In Debt Relief to Former Corinthian Students Last month, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced a tentative settlement that provides over $51 million in debt relief for Californians who attended Corinthian Colleges. Corinthian intentionally targeted low-income, vulnerable individuals through deceptive and false advertising that misrepresented job placement rates and school programs. Federal student loans made up almost 90 percent of Corinthian’s revenue. To maintain this revenue, Corinthian needed its mostly low-income students to receive these loans. Federal rules require for-profit colleges receive at least 10 percent of their revenue from sources other than federal student aid. To help fill this gap, Aequitas and Corinthian created a financial arrangement whereby Aequitas provided private loans to Corinthian students, and Corinthian guaranteed Aequitas a profit and agreed to buy back all non-performing loans. The result was many Corinthian students were unable to pay back their federal student loans and private loans, as the education provided by Corinthian did not lead to good-paying jobs. Ultimately, the students defaulted and the American taxpayer was left holding the bag to pay off the federal student loans.

Racism and the President


able news made the former days of anti-Semitic rioting wizard of the KKK quite vis- Who knew David in Crown Heights, New ible in Charlottesville, at York, a tragedy that one Duke mattered? what planners billed as the largest Columbia University progathering of the "alt-right community." The fessor called "a modern-day pogrom." Yet "Unite the Right" rally encouraged the like- this bigot who whipped up the Crown minded to go to and demonstrate in Heights atmosphere by bellowing, "If the Charlottesville, Virginia. Counter-protest- Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their ers, of course, showed up, and many violent yarmulkes back and come over to my clashes ensued. When the dust settled, a house," somehow visited the Obama White woman had been killed and 19 injured House, according to The Washington Post, when a suspect apparently intentionally 72 times during drove his car into a crowd of people, Obama's first six although the matter remains under investi- years. gation. Two police officers died when their But it's Trump patrol helicopter crashed. aide Steven Bannon Duke got considerable airtime in whom Trump critics Charlottesville. Never mind that the last malign as an "antitime he was taken even remotely seriously Semite." was in 1991 when he ran for governor of After the violence Louisiana. Not a single Republican con- in Charlottesville, Larry Elder gressional lawmaker supported him. Mary Trump issued a stateMatalin, chief of staff of the Republican ment denouncing "hatred, bigotry and vioNational Committee, said: "He is not a lence on many sides." But he got hammered Republican. We never considered him a for "not calling out" the white nationalist Republican. There will be no involvement groups by name and for assigning blame to in his campaign whatsoever." He lost by a both sides. Critics accused Trump of maklarge margin. He sought office four more ing a "moral equivalence" — equating times, losing each race. He also served time white nationalists and Nazi sympathizers for mail fraud and tax evasion. to those who oppose them. Normal people President George Herbert Walker thought he meant both sides of the people Bush issued this scathing dismissal: "When fighting in the streets. But Trump's critics someone asserts the Holocaust never took accused him of equating Nazis with antiplace, then I don't believe that person ever Nazis — or something like that. So he deserves one iota of public trust. When issued another statement. someone has so recently endorsed Nazism, Trump said: "Racism is evil. And those it is inconceivable that someone can rea- who cause violence in its name are crimisonably aspire to a leadership role in a free nals and thugs, including the KKK, neosociety." Nazis, white supremacists and other hate Were it not for cable news digging groups that are repugnant to everything we Duke up from time to time, he'd probably hold dear as Americans." be working road construction under an Critics then called it too little, too late, assumed name in Kalamazoo. especially coming from the man they conCan we agree to denounce all bigots — sider the bigot in chief. Had Trump called whether a David Duke or Maxine Waters or out the bad guys by name, critics would've Rev. Al Sharpton? After all, Waters called blasted him for not giving out their Social President Donald Trump's cabinet mem- Security numbers, too. bers "scumbags" and said, "I've never seen The bigot in the White House actually anybody as disgusting or as disrespectful got a smaller share of the white vote than as he is." She recently even called did Mitt Romney in 2012, while getting a Democrat Alan Dershowitz a "racist." larger percentage of the black, Hispanic As for Sharpton, he has a long list of and Asian votes than Romney did. racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic com- Apparently blacks, Hispanics and Asians ments that in a rational world would long are too stupid to realize that they voted for ago have consigned him to the ash bin of a man who, right in front of them, reached history. This is the man who, among many out to people who hate them. Apparently, outrages over his career as a "civil rights the white racists that Trump reached out to activist," falsely accused a white man of are too stupid to realize they've attached raping a black teenager and to this day has themselves to a guy who is attracting the never apologized. He helped to incite three very people that white racists hate — peoLarry Elder continued to page 24

Headlines From Africa Angola: The Angolan ruling party MPLA was victorious in the nation’s general election last month with 64.57 percent vote, according to results released by the National Electoral Commission. Incumbent President Jose Eduardo dos Santos did not contest the poll and Angola's new president, João Lourenço is expected to be sworn in on September 21, marking the end of President Dos Santos's 38-year reign. Congo: Representatives of Congo's civil society launched a manifesto at the International Federation of Human Rights headquarters calling for a democratic transition and for President Joseph Kabila to step down. Kabila has repeatedly refused to commit to a timeline for stepping down and has called off elections that were to be held by the end of the year. Political instability is heightened as anti-government protests continue.

Liberia: The national youth wing of main opposition Coalition for Democratic Change accused executives of the ruling Unity Party of hiring assassins to kill presidential candidate Sen. George Manneh Weah. Sources say Senator Weah and some officials of the party have already contacted President Ellen Johnson - Sirleaf, the U.S. Embassy, the African Union and the European Embassy about the threat. Namibia: Moody's Investors Service downgraded Namibia's long-term senior unsecured bond and issuer rating to junk status last month. The assessment came on the heels of recent assurances that the country's economy had stabilized and was on the road to recovery. The official response came from finance minister Calle Schlettwein, who stated, "The economic situation in Namibia does not warrant such downgrading."


A look at current news from the continent of Africa Nigeria: Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode said his administration, in the last 27 months, has made concerted efforts to fulfill one of his campaign promises to ensure that Lagos becomes the tourism and entertainment hub of Africa. “Our intention is to put Lagos on the world map as one of the top 10 tourist destinations because we know that the hospitality and entertainment business is thriving and that is the reason we are investing heavily on this sector.” Sierra Leone: Officials have put the number of those dead from the nation’s mudslide disaster last month at upwards of 1,000. In what was the worst natural disaster ever to strike Sierra Leone, heavy rains caused the side of a mountain overlooking the city to collapse, obliterating homes and buildings below as people slept. Tanzania: A Tanzanian court charged 32 people—the leader of a local militia among them—with murdering five women who had been accused of sorcery. The women were beaten to death and then burned in late July. The incident marks the first time a mob was charged with witch killings. Hundreds in the country are accused of witchcraft annually. Zambia: President Edgar Lungu has made HIV/AIDS testing mandatory in public health institutions in an effort to prevent further loss of life from the disease which has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. Lungu says the HIV/AIDS pandemic has claimed more than one million lives since 1984, while more than 1.2 million more people continue to live with the virus, which has had a negative impact on national development. Zimbabwe: A South African woman who says she was whipped with an electrical cord by Grace Mugabe has filed court papers challenging her government’s decision to grant Zimbabwe’s first lady diplomatic immunity. Mugabe is accused of attacking 20-year-old Gabriella Engels after she went to see the Mugabes’ sons at an upscale hotel in Johannesburg last month. Police initially put out a “red alert” to prevent Mugabe from leaving the country, but South Africa’s international relations minister granted diplomatic immunity to the wife of Zimbabwe’s 93-year-old president, Robert Mugabe.

L.A. Focus/September 2017

Ethiopia: The International Development Association, a wing of the World Bank— that seeks to support the world's poorest countries by providing grants and zero-interest loans for projects that boost economic growth and reduce poverty—has allocated a $4.6 billion dollar loan to Ethiopia for 2018. Target priorities will include water supply, sanitation, education, trade, logistics and development of woman entrepreneurship.

ear Mr. President, look the American people in After your initial An Open Letter About the eye and tell them that remarks addressing you condemn racism to the Racism to President the tragedy that core of your being and that Trump occurred in Charlottesville, you will not tolerate it anyVirginia, I wrote that you were correct. I where. And then you must speak to the agreed with you, and honest scrutiny of racists and tell them they are hurting your the facts of what occurred there that day presidency and your ability to govern, and bear out, that bigotry and violence were on that they must stop and go home. display on "many sides." You then should address the other But this effort to soothe and unify the side. You should tell the "alt-left" that they nation unfortunately should not interpret your unequivocal concame up short. demnation of white racists as tolerance of Many felt that their despicable behavior or their agenda. you had not gone far You should remind the "alt-left" that enough in singling it is to push back against their big governout the white ment ideas, moral relativism and identity supremacist, neo- politics that the American people elected Nazi, KKK elements. you. This was driven by Regarding the confederate monulingering concerns, ments, you have already expressed sympaStar Parker for various justifiable thy for leaving them in place. I understand reasons, that you harbor a willingness to your concern of "where does it stop?" Are tolerate, and may even have sympathies George Washington and Thomas Jefferson to, the persistent cancer of racism in next? America. Please give the American people credAlthough you subsequently explicitly it for being able to understand the differcalled out the racists, your follow-up ence between Washington and Jefferson, encounter with the press clouded matters and leaders of the confederacy such as again and left many, including me, uneasy Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. and sickened. A cancer patient in remisAlthough many of our nation's sion still reacts to any sign that the dead- founders had slaves, they were not dedily disease may not have been eradicated. cated to the proposition of slavery. They That, after hundreds of years, racism still were dedicated to the proposition of builddominates headlines in America, that ing a new nation, founded on liberty and club-wielding racist terrorists still show equality under the law. The confederacy up in our streets, shows the depth of the was not only dedicated to the proposition problem. of slavery, but also to the proposition, ultiWe know that you have many enemies mately codified in the Dred Scott decision, on the left, and this includes many in the that black people are not human beings. mainstream media, that want to hurt you The mistreatment of blacks across the and your presidency and impede your abil- nation was consistent with this view. ity to move your agenda. They clearly are Please understand, Mr. President, doing all they can to take advantage of this what these symbols mean to black difficult situation. Americans and that the continued presBut nevertheless, there are too many ence of these symbols in America's public good people across the nation that still spaces will always leave doubt in the harbor doubts as to where you stand minds of even the most successful black regarding racism and white supremacists. Americans that they are 100 percent part In the past, when issues have arisen of this country. that are sufficiently disturbing to the Respectfully, American people that they begin to interStar Parker fere with a president's ability to lead, the president has addressed the nation to set Star Parker is an author and president of CURE, Center for Urban Renewal and the record straight. I think it is time, Mr. President, for Education. Contact her at www.urbanyou to do this. I think you should bring a To find out more about Star camera crew into the Oval Office and Parker and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the speak directly to the American people. You should, in this television address, Creators Syndicate website at


MoneyMatters Churches Gear Up For The Release of “A Question Of Faith” n September 29, Angela lowed by a standing ovation. Highest Grossing White is poised to officially The moment for White was lifebecome the first Africanchanging. Faith-Based Films American female to produce a the- 1. Ben Hur (1959): $611.900,000 “To witness the vision that I conatrical film of faith-based content 2. Passion of the Christ: $611,899,420 ceived grow into something that I can with the release of “A Question of now introduce to the world, and be 3. Noah: $125,000,000 Faith”. In the months leading up to warmly received by hundreds of people, the release, White has been screen- 4. Heaven is for Real: $101,332,962 is nothing short of inspiring,” White ing the gripping drama— starring 5. The Shack: $80,954,835 said. “From the attendees who cried, Richard T. Jones, Kim Fields, C. 6. Miracles From Heaven:$73,883,359 laughed and rejoiced, it exceeded my Thomas Howell, Greg Alan 7. Son of God: $67,800,064 expectations and galvanized the entire Williams, Jaci Velasquez, Renee 8. War Room: $67,790,117 team to continue pushing Christian O’Connor and T.C. Stallings —for 9. God's Not Dead: $62,630,732 films further into the marketplace.” churches around the country in the In fact, over the past decade faith10. Soul Surfer: $47,088,990 hopes of securing their support at based films—spurred by the phenomethe box office on opening weekend. nal success of such films like “The The film, produced by White, is Passion of the Christ”, “Noah” and the moving story of three families “Heaven Is For Real”—having become a from different cultures, who live in growing and profitable segment of the the same community yet are comfilm industry. “War Room” which cost plete strangers living vastly sepajust $3 million to make scored a payrate lives until a texting and driving load of more than $67 million. With accident thrusts them onto convergmargins like that more and more proing paths where they discover God’s ducers and studios are turning to faithAngela White love, forgiveness, grace and mercy. based fare. The response for the film has been overwhelming with “A Question of Faith isn't White’s first foray into pastors signing on in support of the film and the purchase Christian entertainment. of advance tickets opening weekend. “I did a Christian film that aired on BET in 2013 called “We have a lot of pastors and presiding Bishops all over Who Can I Run To? and it did really well for the BET netthe country who support the film and so many people have work,” White says. “We had been figuring out how to get told me as we have been going from city to city that they into this market because there’s not a lot of Africandon’t go to the movies anymore and they are like thank American filmmakers who produce Christian or faithyou,” White said of the film that also touches on such based content. We knew it was going to be somewhat of a timely topics as racial prejudice and organ donation. challenge, but we also knew it was an underserved marA screening at this year’s MegaFest for upwards of ket.” 1,000, ended with the audience erupting in applause folThe State of Black Businesses continued to page 24


On the Money Removing Ugly History Costs a Pretty Penny

In the wake of the violence in Charlottesville and the anti-white separatists protests across the nation, cities around the country are considering the removal of confederate statues. While emotions remain high, the cost of removing what is for many the ugly reminders of this nation’s racist past could amount to a pretty penny. For officials in Dallas—who have said that they will remove the symbols of Confederacy in their city—the cost was estimated at $1.8 million. In New Orleans, removing just four statues was $2.1 million, with a chunk of that money going to litigation and safety concerns surrounding protest groups seeking to leave the monuments where they stood. Despite the cost, Baltimore’s Mayor, Catherine Pugh, has said the monuments in her city will come down, hauling four of them away just days after Charlottesville. Richmond city officials are also now grappling with how to pay for the removal of monuments they see as divisive symbols that no longer reflect what the city stands for. Meanwhile, the price tag for removing the statues in Charlottesville that lit the spark to the nation’s latest violent discourse on racism was $700K. At least 1,503 monuments and symbols honoring the Confederacy/Confederate leaders have been identified around the country. States with the highest amount include Virginia (223), Texas (178), Georgia (174), Mississippi (131) and North Carolina (140). California has just 6. One of them, a plaque honoring Jefferson Davis in San Diego, has already been removed.

Biz NewsBriefs

L.A. Focus/September 2017

Oprah Pacts With Kraft To Launch Her Own Food Brand


America’s first black female billionaire has never made a secret of the fact that she’s a connoisseur of fine eating. Well, Oprah Winfrey’s latest business venture reflects that passion for good food as the media icon has struck a deal with Kraft Foods to launch her own brand of packaged foods set to hit retail shelves this fall. The brand—appropriately named ‘O That’s Good’—will start with four flavorful soups (Creamy Tomato Basil Soup, Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Baked

Potato Soup and Creamy Butternut Squash soup) and four savory sides (Original Mashed Potatoes, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Three Cheese Pasta and Creamy Parmesan Pasta). Billed as a nutritious twist on comfort food classics, the new line marks the first introduction from Mealtime Stories, LLC, the joint venture between Kraft Heinz and Winfrey. “I love healthy foods and eating from my garden,” said Winfrey. “When Kraft Heinz approached me for a food line, what got my attention is making nutritious comfort foods more accessible to everyone. This product line is real, delicious food with a twist. You’ll feel good about serving it for your family.”. The soups will be priced at $4.99, while the sides are priced at $4.49. 10% of profits will be equally divided between two charities: Rise Against Hunger and Feeding America.

Beyoncé Not The Only Celeb’s Name to Surface In Houston Rockets Sale

Houston native Beyoncé Knowles Carter was reported to be interested in purchasing an ownership stake in the

Houston Rockets following the news that the team’s current owner, Les Alexander, wants to sell. Alexander bought the team in 1993 for $85 million. Experts speculate its value today to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.65 – 2 billion. Beyoncé’s net worth was estimated by Forbes to be $350 million. Her husband, Jay Z—who once owned a 1 percent ownership stake in the Brooklyn Nets, placed at number two on Forbes’ 2017 list of the “richest in hip hop”, putting his net worth at $810 million. That fueled by Sprint’s $200 million investment in his music streaming service, Tidal earlier this year. Beyoncé has not commented on the report, but should she be serious, she is not the only celebrity name to surface on the list of those interested in some form of ownership stake. Former Houston Rockets center, Dikembe Mutombo, is reported to be putting together a group to buy the franchise and the 7 ft 2 in Basketball Hall of Famer believes he just may have a chance. Other names being floated among the reported 100 who have expressed interest include Yao Ming and Toyota Gulf States CEO/billionaire Dan Friedkin.

Following The Money:



L.A. Focus/September 2017


ith major lawsuits, scandalous allegations and million-dollar customers walking away, many banks continue to find themselves working to recover from a loss of customer confidence. Recently and most notably, it was reported that Wells Fargo Bank potentially opened an additional 1.4 million sham accounts customers didn’t sign up for, 67 percent more than initially estimated last year and bringing the total to 3.5 million fraudulent accounts. Ranked the third largest bank in the United States, Wells Fargo was sued by employees (current and former) and customers across the nation for the unwarranted fees that were included in the fake accounts. The lawsuits contend that Wells Fargo “violated state and federal laws by misusing confidential information and failing to notify customers when their personal information was breached.” The bank has also come under fire for charging several hundred thousand borrowers for auto insurance they did not ask for or need–which resulted in numerous delinquencies. Further deepening the mistrust in Wells Fargo was the bank’s support of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline that caused high-end customers, like Los Angeles City Council, to divest funds from the bank. While the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank continues to scrutinize Wells Fargo’s practices, the banking industry at large is feeling the ripple effect. Customers are weighing all their banking and money management options by exploring alternatives such as credit unions, smaller community banks or no bank at all. “There is a lot of skepticism as it relates to banks,” said Karen A. Clark, Sr. VP of Multicultural Strategies at City National Bank (CNB). “Even though banks are not the only bad players, all of the banks got broad brushed with this negativity (mortgage fraud and fake accounts) when it wasn’t necessarily justified.” Clark, a 30-year bank industry veteran, said that most banks are still recovering from the mortgage crisis that contributed to the Great Recession a decade ago. “There were some bad actors but everybody (in banking) took the heat from it,” she insists. “I think the banks failed and didn’t band together to come up with a good communications and education strategy for the general public.” In 2007, when the mortgage crisis slammed the U.S. economy causing a panic globally, financial markets became extremely volatile. The impact has lasted longer than economists and financial analysts ever imagined. “I think banks have a lot of work to do in reestablishing trust with the community,” Clark observes. Communities defined as low to moderate-income are already faced with disadvantages when it comes to


banking relationships. Customers trapped by damaged or poor credit scores, or income to debt ratio shortfalls, are considered vulnerable and sadly the target of such abuses as discriminatory lending and an assortment of high banking fees. “The problem here is that low-income consumers don't have much of an alternative when it comes to banking,” said Wall Street investment analyst Halah Touryalai. “There's a growing population of people who don’t have a bank account because they feel they can't afford it. They are called the un-banked and underbanked.” Fact is, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., more than 18% of African Americans don’t have traditional bank accounts, compared with 7% of all Americans, Consumers who don't have enough funds or deal mostly in cash transactions say they can’t afford the fees that banks are charging. Popular banking products geared toward low-income consumers are typically offered by payday loan companies, storefront lenders or even big retailers like Wal-Mart. “This happens all the time! The number of people in the African American community who are paying unnecessary fees to cash their checks at payday lenders is high,” said Frank Robinson of Union Bank. “The majority of those folks cannot open up an account because they’ve been involved with check systems–whereby if you had a check and you were overdrawn and did not pay it–your name is then put into a system for seven years

and you’re not allowed to open an account in any bank because you owe that original bank money.” Robinson said that increasingly online financial service companies are cropping up and are making personal loans at lower interest rates, or creating GoFundMe accounts to loan money to others at an even lower rate. “What’s scary is that those people who are the working poor are almost invisible to all of us [in banking],” he said. “They’re not on welfare. They’re struggling with one or two jobs—sometimes making minimum wage.” To address the credit needs of the community, every depository institution must set and attain goals established by the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). The CRA requires that each depository institution's keep a record of how they help to meet the credit needs of its community and they’re to be evaluated by a Federal financial supervisory agency periodically. Members of the public may submit comments on a bank's performance, and all feedback is taken into account during CRA examination periods. A bank's CRA performance record is evaluated when an institution's application for deposit facilities is up for consideration. Teri Williams, President and Chief Operating Officer of OneUnited Bank, —the nation’s largest blackowned bank—recognizes that underserved communities facing financial disarray still have the power to re-write the narrative. Williams said that One United Bank has come to realize the products and services provided to their bank customers can’t simply mirror other institutions. “Our community’s needs are different,” Williams reasons. “A lot of the banks are offering prepaid debit cards. When we looked at the fees and the cost of the prepaid cards to individuals, we were like ‘this is predatory.’” “What we thought was the responsible thing to do was to offer a secured card,” Williams continued. “What’s different is that the secured card reports to the three major credit bureaus, and doesn’t charge the fees, but it helps people rebuild their credit. We’re not going to do what [our competitors] are doing because they see our community as fee generators. What we’re trying to do is create wealth builders.” Williams believes Black banking customers are getting a bad deal when banks allow you to overdraw accounts so they can earn fees. However, she said the community is beginning to catch on to the idea that they must bank and manage their resources differently. This need for a shift is due in part to what customers are learning about bad banking practices, lack of fairness in customer relations and the ongoing cases of bank fraud. “What’s changing is people are starting to connect

THE SKINNY ON BANK FEES They might seem small or insignificant but banking fees can lead to substantial cracks in your hard earned cash. Most banks charge fees for services, conveniences and behaviors that oftimes consumers don't realize they’re being charged for. They can range from monthly maintenance fees to a fee for shorter hold time on the phone or for returned mail. Customers owe it to themselves to inquire about fees before signing up for an account. Listed below are some of the more common fees you should know about:


Statement fees: Monthly Although usually no more than a couple dollars, statement fees can be avoided if you are willing to view your account statements online, or if you find a bank with no fees for monthly statements.


Monthly checking account maintenance fees: These are charges just for having a checking account and average $13.00 a month. Financial analysts say avoiding them is difficult unless your banking with an institution that offers online savings or checking accounts. In which case, some will waive the monthly fee if you have direct deposit or maintain a specified minimum balance.


Minimum balance fees: Some banks charge a monthly fee for customers with low account balances. According to, Citibank customers for instance, with their EZ Checking

account are charged $15 a month if they don't carry a minimum balance of $6,000. To keep from paying a minimum balance fee, read your bank's policy to see what amount must be maintained and hold to it.


Overdraft fees: Overdraft fees are now averaging $32.50 per occurrence. This cost could multiple times that amount because once you have overdraft your account that figure is deducted per transaction until a deposit is made to cover them. On top of that, banks often charge an additional fee for each day the account maintains a negative balance. In addition, overdraft protection is a huge profit to banks. Avoid the cost by not agreeing to accept this checking account feature and keep sufficient funds in your account.


ATM fees: The bank that owns the ATM may charge non-customers a fee, and these average $2.75 per transaction. Also, your


Currency exchange fees: Banks will often exchange foreign currencies at their branches at a cost to the customer. As with any per-occurrence fee, the key is to think ahead and consolidate transactions to minimize the number of fees you pay.


Research/Transaction Fee: If you need to verify a charge or deposit or research an old transaction, be prepared to pay for it. And if you need something specific researched about your account history or want to dispute certain transactions, some banks charge research fees of $20-25 per hour,

We’ve been seeing the ways in which these banks have been screwing our community and there is a growing consciousness people are having about where they put their money. Initiative here in the fall.” Union Bank’s WISH (Workforce Initiative Subsidy for Homeownership) and IDEA (Individual Development and Empowerment Account) first-time homebuyer programs offer eligible low- and moderate-income households 3-to-1 matching grants of up to $15,000 for the purchase of a home. The funds, which can be applied to the home buyer’s down payment or closing costs, target working families and individuals looking to make the transition from renting to owning. “Home ownership is critical to building economically strong communities,” said Julius Robinson, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility. “We look forward to working with our community partners to assist more qualified recipients achieve the dream of home ownership.” “The beautiful thing about some of these programs is

while copies of past statements cost as well though normally in the $5-6 range.

8 9

Receiving Money: While paying to wire money is a given, paying to receive can also come with a charge from some banks.

Closing Fee: Say you want to ditch your bank for one with lower fees, be prepared to pay to leave as some banks charge up to $25 for customers to close your account. Human Tellers: Even if you can avoid this charge by requesting online statements, some banks charge up to $8.95 a month for serving you in person.


Replacement Debit Cards: Hold on tight to your debit card if you don’t want to be hit with this $5 replacement fee and even more if you want that card expedited.


that you can layer them on top of each other,” Robinson said. Earlier this year, Wells Fargo announced a multibillion dollar commitment to help increase homeownership among African Americans over the next decade. Even amid lawsuits and scandalous accusations, the bank’s goal is to see some 250,000 new homebuyers by 2027. “Wells Fargo’s $60 billion lending goal can contribute to economic growth by making responsible homeownership possible for more African Americans in communities across the country,” said Brad Blackwell, Executive Vice President and head of housing policy and homeownership growth strategies for Wells Fargo. “We are proud to be the first mortgage lender to make a public commitment to help increase African American homeownership. And, we are grateful for the support of key housing and civil rights organizations, who work alongside us to increase economic prosperity in our communities.” With many banks engaging in ambitious initiatives to attract and strengthen its customer base in low to moderate-income communities, Clark, Robinson and other executives agree that their industry will have to pass some tests if renewed trust in the banking system is the goal, and with the use of emerging technologies, consumers will have to do their homework to understand better how to protect themselves. Williams—whose bank teamed with black lives matter for a special debit card— believes that people don’t ask enough questions when they open an account. “You should ask ‘can I overdraw with my debit card’, and you should ask if the bank has an opt-out provision where you can opt-out of being able to overdraw. You should ask what order they cash your checks in. What banks will typically do is cash the biggest check first to drain all your money out of the account, and then for each of the other little checks, they’ll charge you a fee. One United is putting heavy emphasis on the use of technology through online banking and smartphone applications. As a result, they are finding success with the use of social media by targeting niche demographics, attracting new customers and building sustainable relationships. “This is where I think the future of banking is going,” said Williams who revealed that they are gaining the customers who are leaving Wells Fargo and other banks because of mistrust and scandals. “We’ve been seeing the ways in which these banks have been screwing our community and there is a growing consciousness people are having about where they put their money. I believe that we are benefitting from that consciousness.”

L.A. Focus/September 2017

the dots between what banks are doing with their money and the stories that they are hearing,” Williams said. “We are one of the few institutions that are committed to lending to communities that are black and brownwhere as the larger banks, their dollars are going to a lot of places, some of the wealthier communities or investments that could be oil and gas, but they’re investments that really are outside of the communities that are providing them with the dollars. So people are starting to say why am I doing this and if I put [my money] in One United; a black bank, or put it in a credit union, it’s going to mean the same thing as me putting it into Wells Fargo…This is us getting woke.” Clark advises that every banking consumer should make relationship building with branch personnel a first priority. She says most banks offer very similar products and rates, and that the biggest difference is their treatment and how valued the customer feels when being serviced. “They should make you feel like a million dollars even if you only have $5,” she says. According to Clark, City National Bank, which historically caters to the more affluent client, understands that the unbanked and underbanked population need access to funds and banking services. Therefore, CNB has committed to opening a new storefront location on Crenshaw Blvd at a strip mall (currently occupied by a payday lender) later this fall. They have also pledged to boost the amount of lending and services it offers to lower income and minority neighborhoods. Chase invests in low-and moderate-income areas through programs like their Small Business Forward global philanthropic initiative, committing $75 million over the next three years to support women-, minorityand veteran-owned small businesses; and their Chase Liquid, a reloadable, prepaid card with a flat monthly $5 fee, no overdraft fees, transaction- and online-bill-pay capabilities. But what Chase executives like Suzanne Alexander are most proud of is the “Fellowship Initiative” they launched in Los Angeles three years ago. “It’s a program I’m really proud of,” Alexander stated. “We selected 40 high school boys of color as fellows. Three Saturdays a month they came to our downtown offices for mentorship and tutoring. We introduced the boys to professionals in various fields. We took them on college tours. They traveled to South Africa and stood in Nelson Mandela’s jail cell. The goal was not to turn them into bankers but to equip them to succeed at a four-year college and beyond. Many of the young men had never been out of Los Angeles, the majority would be first-generation college students. Last month, all 40 graduated and will be heading to college in the fall. A new class of 40 high school sophomores will begin the Fellowship

own bank might charge you for using another bank's ATM, and these fees average $1.60 per occurrence. If you use your own bank's ATM or one that is belongs to a network of banks, you usually are not charged so choose a bank check that has a network of machines convenient to your regular travels.


INSIDE HO L LY W OOD with Neily Dickerson My column is one year old and I’m excited. Many of you have told me you are enjoying what I have to say and I enjoy sharing my thoughts. As we approach Fall 2017, instead of just one movie, I have decided to give you a preview of what is to come. These are some of the trailers that caught my eye: Mother, Thank You for Your Service, Goodbye Christopher Robin, Murder on The Orient Express, Blade Runner, and The Mountain Between Us. Tessa Thompson co-stars in “Thor: Ragnarok” I am really interested to see what Lithgow and Mel Gibson in Daddy’s will happen next in the Pitch Perfect Home 2. The Star will be my Series: Last Call Pitches. The Bellas Christmas cartoon of the holiday seastarted off in college, accepted a new son and with an all-star cast of characgroup of singers in the follow-up film ters that includes: Tyler Perry, Ving and now they’re grown, so I’m here to Rhames, Anthony Anderson, Gina find out where the ladies go from here. Rodriquez, Tracy Morgan, Kelly To keep the laughs going, I want to see Clarkson, Keegan Michael Key and Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, John “Lady O,” Oprah Winfrey, you’ve got to


9/11 September 8

American Assasian September 15


Girl’s Trip Star Tiffany Haddish Has Breakout Year There’s no slowing down for Girl’s Trip breakout star Tiffany Haddish who will team with Tracy Morgan this fall for the new TBS series, “The Last O.G.”. She has just released her first comedy album entitled, “She’s Ready! From The Hood To Hollywood” as well as a Showtime special and is presently performing her standup comedy act around the country. The 37-year old comedienne/ actress, who had a recurring role on The Carmichael Show (now cancelled), is in big demand since the release of “Girl’s Trip”, which has grossed more than $100 million. Talks of a sequel are already in the works. “The only thing harder than opening a studio comedy today is opening a studio comedy sequel,” producer Will Packer told Vulture. “That’s the next challenge. I love our team. If anybody can do it, we can do it. It’s still a little early — the movie is still in theaters — but it’s something we’ve all thought about.” In the meantime, Packer is prepping a film written by Kevin Hart, that will also star Haddish. (Imagine the two of them together). The film, “Night School”, follows a group of misfits who are forced to attend

see this one, even if the kids don’t go. Other cartoons I’m anticipating are: Ferdinand and Coco. My action selections include Thor: Ragnarok, Justice League, and Kinsman: The Golden Circle. Movies with a historical and inspirational theme that I’ll be sure to see are: Marshall, a story of the first African-American Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and Mudbound, which deals with two men—one Black the other White— after the return from World War II. Did you think I would leave without talking about Star Wars: The Last Jedi? Nope! You know you’re going to see it. It’s what we Star Wars enthusiasts do. So, movie fans, grab you blanket, some socks, buy your tickets and popcorn because it’s going to be a good Kim Victoria Fields Fall movie season. Hometown: Harlem, New York Big Break: The Facts of Life Current Projects: A Question of Faith


Kim Fields

Kingsman The Golden Circle September 22

adult classes in the long-shot chance they’ll pass the GED exam. Haddish— who provide the voice of Tina the Brain Coral on Animal Planet’s “Animal Nation” —has also signed on to do Def Comedy Jam 25th anniversary special and has two additional film projects in the works. There’s No Place Like Home (Especially If You’re Beyonce) Beyoncé and Jay Z have shelled out $88 million for their first Los Angeles home, a 30,000-square-foot estate in Bel Air. The sale is reportedly the largest in Los Angeles this year and the sixth-largest in L.A. history. According to the L.A. Times, the couple’s mortgage on the 8bedroom, 11-bath estate is $52.8 million, suggesting they put down 40%. At 4 percent interest on a 30-year fixed loan, that would amount to a $250,000 monthly note. So what do they get for that? Well, the compound—consisting of six buildings—includes four swimming pools, a fullsized basketball court, a spa and wellness center and three-story main residence lined with bulletproof floor-to-ceiling glass panels that open electronically at the touch of a button. The house sits behind iron gates (in a gated community) with a garage big enough for 15 cars and separate staff quarters. Coming Soon: On Sunday, September 24, Soledad O’Brien will team with Ice-T to

A Question Of Faith September 29

host a two-hour investigative special from Fox that examines the unsolved murders of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls. The special, ‘Who Shot Biggie & Tupac?’, promises new details, never heard witness accounts and an exclusive audio recording of Smalls discussing the murder of Shakur. Ice-T and O’Brien serve as executive producers of the project from Critical Content…And from the director of The Loving Story comes, “The Rape of Recy Taylor”, a documentary about a 24year-old wife and mother who was gang raped in Alabama by six white men in 1944 and spoke up against her attackers, putting her life and that of her family’s in danger. Her plight attracted the attention of the NAACP and its then chief investigator, Rosa Parks. In Casting News: Insecure star Issa Rae is set to make her big-screen debut opposite Amandla Stenberg in the upcoming film, “The Hate U Give”, which centers around a 16-year-old girl named “Starr” (Stenberg) who grew up in poverty but now attends a prep school in the suburbs. Starr’s two worlds collide when she sees her unarmed best friend shot down by police…Greenleaf star Merle Dandridge is returning to Broadway this fall to star in the musical revival of Once On This Island, which opens November 9 at the Circle In The Square Theatre…Finally: Mike Epps, who pled no contest to misdemeanor battery charges stemming from a fight with a fan at Harrah's New Orleans casino, will not have to spend any time behind bars. He got a 30-day sentence that was subsequently suspended, so no time behind bars. Instead he was ordered to pay a $175 fine and $125 in court costs.

From playing Dorothy ‘Tootie” Ramsey on the 1970s show Facts of Life, to playing Regine Hunter on Living Single, Kim Fields has been a force to reckon with. Fields acting and performing career was fostered and encouraged by her mother, actress Laverne "Chip" Fields. The Harlem native’s most recent role is that of Theresa Newman in Kevan Otto’s movie “The Question Of Faith”. The film is about three separate families faced with tragedy and the resulting decision to uncover the path to identifying God’s love, grace and mercy through their difficult situation. When you first read the script, what came up for you? I read it as an actor and I looked at that role and thought “O my Gosh” I could really sink my teeth into this role and as an actor you look for those opportunities as they are not frequent—especially for women and for black people so for me it was really about the work that I know I was opened up to do. On the heels of that I have to say it was the messages and the fact that it was a faith friendly film. The film is about having faith in hard situations. Was there a time in your life that you could relate to when having faith was hard for you? There was a situation where it’s very difficult to find your way with your faith. Right before my 22nd birthday I was in a car crash and the driver in the vehicle I was in was killed. I started questioning why did that happen and why did this person die and I didn’t. For me it was a matter of it didn’t take God by surprise and you have a purpose. My husband and I also suffered two miscarriages before the birth of our two sons. One was on my birthday (Mothers Day) and one was on New Years Day. You have to trust and believe that this didn’t take God by surprise. As my husband said, ‘you can’t worry and remember at the same time.’ You have quiet an impactful acting career, how would you describe your journey? That was a huge blessing, especially transitioning from Facts of Life then taking a break and appearing on shows like Martin and Fresh Prince. Then to go into a show like Living Single playing Regine is an actor’s dream. It was certainly a wonderful challenge, artistically speaking.. How have you been able to maintain that presence in the public eyes while handling the responsibilities that come with that role? My mother Chip and the rest of my village that raised me made sure I kept my sanity. There are so many people who have been responsible for me being on their shows and they just made sure I learned my craft and just really sticking with and evolving as an actor and a director/producer. So that I wasn’t starving creatively and at the same time not draining my batteries emotionally, always making sure I was doing something.

Making A Difference All Eyes On Houston: What You Can Do? A group of people form a human chain to save an elderly man swept away by flood waters in Houston. A three-year old toddler spotted only by the backpack strapped to his back clinging to the back of his mother who died fighting to save him after they were swept into a canal half a mile from their car. Hundreds—if not thousands—of private citizens turned good Samaritans who sprang into action using pickup trucks and their own boats to rescue people from rising waters. Among them, the famed “Cajun Navy”, a volunteer rescue group formed in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, who worked to get to people who were stranded in their homes and apartments. Celebrities pledging money and challenging others to do the same. Millions donating to the Red Cross and United Way. Seeing the extraordinary images of people helping people that have unfolded around the Southeast Texas region over the last week in the wake of Hurricane Harvey has served as testimony to Americans around the nation to the fact that the biggest strength people had was each other—be it neighbors or strangers. All around the region, it was the kindness of people reaching out that made all the difference—in many cases, between life and death. “Thank you to all the first responders and people helping each other out. That's what we do as Americans,” former President Barack Obama tweeted. But the real test for Texans is yet to come as estimates are that a million or more people will have been displaced by the storm that drenched parts of the Lone Star state with upwards of 51 inches of water setting a new record for rainfall and becoming one of the costliest hurricanes in U.S. history. Homes near reservoirs or bayous face weeks of flooding with residents unable to go back. Thousands of people have lost everything. Businesses shut down, many smaller businesses never to reopen. FEMA Administrator Brock Long told CNN that “FEMA is going to be there for years.” Houston will require a surge of employment—tens of thousands of people. It will have to find places for them to live, since so much of the housing stock is damaged. And it will likely have to pay them above-market wages, because it will need to lure them away from existing jobs. All said, experts cannot predict when or if these people lives will get back to normal or settle into a new normal. Houston churches, some of whom also took on water, are now rallying to the aid of their parishioners and community, but

with the need so great, they are sure be overwhelmed by requests for aid. One headline reflected a disturbing truth: “Harvey Is an Equal-Opportunity Disaster. The Poor Won’t Be Left Behind Until the Recovery.” Fact is, more than 1 in 3 residents lives below the poverty line with some of them are among the nearly 1,000 Houston families who live in HUD-subsidized housing in the flood zone. "The pain is greater in low-income neighborhoods because they don’t have insurance and have no place to go,” David Crossley, the founder of a Houston nonprofit reported to Slate Magazine. Estimates are that just 1 in five in the counties affected by the storms had insurance and fewer than one in six homes were covered with insurance backed by the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program, leaving an estimated one million or more homes unprotected. A lot of people are going to be hit hard financially. If you want to help, listed below are a number of ways you can: American Red Cross: Visit the their website, call 1.800.RED CROSS or text HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation for those in need. United Way: To give to the United Way Relief Fund, visit /flood or text UWFLOOD to 41444. Catholic Charities of USA: Visit CCUSA's disaster-specific website or text 71777 to make a donation. Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund: This fund, established by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner will accept tax deductible donations. Visit the GHCF website. Salvation Army: Visit, call 1.800.SAL ARMY, or text STORM to 51555. GoFundMe has created a landing page ( that aggregates the campaigns already created to help those affected by Harvey. Starbucks customers in any U.S. company-operated store who want to help can make a donation to the American Red Cross at the register The SPCA of Texas needs foster homes to help care for the animals already in shelters and those coming from the Gulf Coast. Sign up at The organization is also accepting financial donations and in-kind donations, including cat litter, litter boxes, towels, blankets, large wire crates, toys, treats, pet beds, newspaper and gas gift cards. Donations of blood are also needed. Find your nearest donation center by entering your zip code at:

Calendar of events Ongoing Museum of African American Art: Rags To The Revival Series by Bernard Stanley Hoyes (Through Sept. 24) Thur-Sun, Noon- 5:00pm Macy’s Baldwin Hills Plaza 3rd fl 4005 Crenshaw Blvd Info: (323) 294-7071 Caribbean and Brazilian Art (Through Oct. 8) Free (Parking $12) California African American Museum 600 State Drive Info: (213) 744-7432 African American Women in Silent Race Films (Through Oct. 15) Free (Parking $12) California African American Museum 600 State Drive Info: (213) 744-7432 Friday, September 2 In Concert: Mary J. Blige with Letoya Luckett 8pm • $36- $309 Greek Theatre 2700 North Vermont Ave Info: (844) LAGREEK Sunday, September 3 In Concert: J.J. Hairston & Youthful Praise Special guests James Fortune, Alexis Speight, Nikki Potts,

Wess Morgan and more $30-50 • Doors open at 5:30pm First A.M.E. Church 2270 S. Harvard Blvd Info: (562) 200-8890 Monday, September 4 Leimert Park Village African Art & Music Festival 12:00pm- 8:00pm Free Historic Leimert Park Village 4318 Degnan Blvd In Concert: Boyz II Men & Kenny “BABYFACE” Edmonds Los Angeles County Fair 7:30pm • $44-$125 1101 W. McKinley Ave Pomona Saturday, September 5 Workshop: Understanding the Impact of Injury, Violence and Trauma on Mental Health and Wellbeing among Men and Boys of Color Free 9:30am – 2:30pm The California Endowment, 1000 N. Alameda Ave- Catalina Room Thursday, September 7 In Concert: Charlie Wilson Los Angeles County Fair 7:30pm • $44-$125 1101 W. McKinley Avenue Pomona Friday, September 8 In Concert: Pattie Labelle & Queen Latifah Los Angeles County Fair 7:30pm • $44-$125 1101 W. McKinley Avenue

L.A. Focus/September 2017

Angela Bassett at the premiere for ‘WHEN LOVE KILLS: The Falicia Blakely Story.’


tle 42nd Lit nds the e tt a e n c a y eric Ella Jo ican Am Miss Afr ip Pageant sh Scholar

Tasha Martin, Director Tisha Campbell e L.A. th at y Bell Callowa Smith, Vanessa ’ lls Ki ve Lo n premiere for ‘Whe

Pomona In Concert: M.C. Hammer 8pm Staples Center 1111 S. Figueroa Info: (213) 742-7340 Compton Open Mic Night by Office of Mayor Aja Brown 7:00pm- 10:00pm • Free Dollarhide Community Center 301 N. Tamarind Ave Compton Info: (310) 605-5500 Saturday, September 9 In Concert: Gladys Knight 8PM • $80 -125 Cerritos Center 18000 Park Plaza Dr. Cerritos Info: (562) 916-8501 In Concert: Ronnie

Laws feat. Elaine Gibbs Call for times • $35+ Catalina Bar & Grill 6725 Sunset Blvd RSVP: (323) 466- 2210 Sunday, September 10 Ayibobo! Resilience and Resistance in Haitian Art & Culture 1:00pm- 3:00pm • Free The California African American Museum 600 State Drive Info: (213) 744-7432 Wednesday, September 13 On Stage: Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Head of Passes Feat. Phyllicia Rashad (Through Oct. 22) Call for Showtimes • $25-95 Mark Taper Forum 135 N Grand Ave Info: (213) 6282772 centertheatre-

EVENT SPOTLIGHT Sunday, September 24 Baptists For Hurricane Harvey Relief L.A. baptists unite for prayer, song and to raise funds for the hurricane relief effort • Hosted by Pastor Xavier Thompson Pictured above: Pastors J.B. Harwick, Xavier Thompson & E. Wayne Gaddis

7PM • Free Praises of Zion Baptist Church 8222 S San Pedro Street Contact: ((323) 731-2703

Cast of ‘W hen Love Kills: The Blakely S tory,’ Lan Falicia ce Gross a “Lil’ Mam nd Niatia a” Kirkla nd at the L.A. premiere.

Tyra Banks at NBC's 'America's Got Talent' Live Show at Dolby Theatre.

Flloyd Mayweather and Keyshia Cole at a promotional event for his 50th fight, which gave him a fighting record of 50-0.

L.A. Focus Publisher Lisa Colins joins Faithful Central First Lady Togetta Ulmer on her ‘Living Without Limits’ Birthday Cruise Thursday, September 14 In Concert: The Whispers & Stylistics w. Lenny Williams Los Angeles County Fair 7:30pm • $34-$95 1101 W. McKinley Ave Pomona “Brain Health & African Americans” Be aware of your brain’s health & current insurance 10:30am – 2pm • Free Faithful Central Bible 400 West Florence Avenue Info: (310) 330-8000 X3297 Saturday, September 16 “Heroes In The Struggle” Awards Gala Honorees include Taraji P. Henson, Vanessa Williams, Gina Brown, Laverne Cox and Alfre Woodard Jussie Smollett, Host Benefitting the Black Aids Institute 6PM • $75 – 3,500 Darryl F. Zanuck Theater 10201 W. Pico Blvd Info: (213) 353-3610

Greek Theatre 2700 North Vermont Ave Info: (844) LAGREEK Thursday, September 21 First AME Church Pasadena 130th Anniversary 5PM • $100 – 400 Hilton Pasadena 168 South Los Robles Ave Pasadena Info: (626) 798-0503 Friday, September 22 In Concert: Johnny Mathis 8PM • $80 -125 Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts 18000 Park Plaza Dr Cerritos Infor: (562) 916-8501 Redondo Beach Lobster Festival (Through Sept 24) Fri: 6:00pm-11:00pm Sat: Noon-11:00pm/Sun: Noon-8:00pm $5-80 (not including meals) Seaside Lagoon 200 Portofino Way Redondo Beach In Concert: Oleta Adams

(Through Sunday, September 24) Call for times • $35+ Catalina Bar & Grill 6725 Sunset Blvd RSVP: (323) 466- 2210 Saturday, September 23 In Concert: Janet Jackson— State of the World Tour 8PM • $22.00 - $355.00+ Honda Center 2695 East Katella Ave • Anaheim Info: (714) 704-2400 In Concert: Cosmic Journey: Solange Plus Blood Orange and special guests: KING • Kelela • Moses Sumney • Kelsey Lu and more 7:00pm • 15$ and up Hollywood Bowl 2301 N Highland Ave Chalk it Out: A workshop to create temporary murals on the Museum grounds Free • 1:00pm- 3:00 pm The California African American Museum 600 State Drive Info: (213) 744-7432 Golden Future 50+ Senior

Expo Free •10:00am-2:30pm Veterans Memorial Complex 4117 Overland Ave Culver City Info: (424) 772-6039 102.3 Radiofree KJLH Empowerment Summit 9am – 2pm Cal State University Dominguez Hills 1000 E. Victoria St Carson Info: (310) 330-2200 Sunday, September 24 Jazz at LACMA Featuring Pete Escovedo Latin Jazz Band Free • 3:00pm 5905 Wilshire Blvd Contact: (323) 857-6000 Apollo Theater Celebrates Ella’s 100th Birthday Patti Austin hosts an allstar evening including David Alan Grier and Ledisi 8pm • $35 – 75 Anson Ford Theater 2580 Cahuenga Blvd East Tickets: (323) 461-3673 Monday, September 25 Booksigning— “A Sick Life: TLC ‘n Me: Stories From On & Off The Stage With Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins 7pm • Free Grove At Farmers Market 189 The Grove Drive Info: (323) 525-0270 Wednesday, September 27 Los Angeles’ Diversity Employment Day Career Fair Business attire and Resumes required 11:00am-3:00pm Double Tree Hotel 6161 W. Centinela Ave Culver City Saturday, September 30 In Concert: The Love is Pain Tour: Ludacris, JaRule & Ashanti, Fat Joe, Foxy Brown, Lloyd, DA Brat and Lil’ MO 7: 00pm $47- $245 Microsoft Theater 777 Chicken Hearn Court, Los Angeles CA 90015

around los angeles Sunday, September 17 In Concert: George Benson & Kenny G 7:30pm • $49.50- $129.50

Tracee Ellis Ross attends the 5th Annual Beautycon Festival.

First AME Church: “Facts of Life” Fair Info will be provided about home-buying, life insurance, with music, food trucks and free give-aways 9 a.m. to 3p.m. Free admission 2270 S. Harvard Boulevard Info: (323) 735-1251

16th Annual Breast and

Govan, Isaiah Derek Fisher, Gloria rnes at the Ba r rte Ca d Barnes, an t Job 2.’ premiere for ‘The Nu Actress Zendaya attend s Variety's Power of Young Holly wood Event

L.A. Focus/September 2017

John Legend Chrissy Teigen and al Beautycon attend the 5th annu Festival.

Whole Health Expo by The Wellness Group 8:30 am – 2:30 pm • Free West Angeles North Campus — Crystal Room 3045 S. Crenshaw Blvd Space is limited Register: (213) 407-0271 16thannualcelebrationoflifebreakfast.eventbrit 41st Annual Simon Rodia Watts Towers Jazz Festival Performances from emerging musicians and tours of Watts Towers (Through October 1) Free •10:00am-6:00pm Watts Towers Arts Center 1727 E. 107th Street Info: (213) 847-4646


Eye On Gospel The Gospel Music Association Announces Its 2017 Dove Award Nominations Last month, the Gospel Music Association (GMA) announced the nominees for the 48th Annual GMA Dove Awards which will take place on October 17 at Lipscomb University’s Allen Arena in Nashville. The Dove Awards celebrate the contributions of artists from every style of Christian/Gospel music with nominees determined by over 1,500 professional members, and winners will be voted on by the entire GMA membership of nearly 2,500. Kirk Franklin scored four nominations, including “Gospel Artist of the Year”, “Contemporary Gospel/Urban Recorded Song” and “Contemporary Gospel/Urban Album ”. Other multiple nominees include CeCe Winans, Vashawn Mitchell and Tamela Mann. Mann, Winans and Franklin will vie for “Gospel Artist of the year” along with Tasha Cobbs Leonard and Travis Greene. “I’m thrilled to celebrate another year of Dove Awards nominations!” GMA President Jackie Patillo stated. “Our artists and creatives sacrifice year-round to share their sound with the world. Our theme this year is Sound the Remedy; we believe the message of Gospel and Christian music offers God’s remedy to the world.” Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) will air the awards show on October 22. A partial list of nominees is as follows: Contemporary Gospel/Urban Recorded Song: “Trust In You” – Anthony Brown & Group therAPy “Never Have To Be Alone” – CeCe Winans “Father Jesus Spirit” – Fred Hammond “My World Needs You” – Kirk Franklin “Work It Out” – Tye Tribbett Traditional Gospel Recorded Song: “You’re Bigger” – Jekalyn Carr “Change Me” – Tamela Mann “Fix Me” – Tim Bowman Jr. Urban Worship Recorded Song: “Victory Belongs To Jesus” – Todd Dulaney “Joy” – VaShawn Mitchell

“Everlasting God” – William Murphy Contemporary Gospel/Urban Album: Let Them Fall In Love – CeCe Winans Worship Journal Live – Fred Hammond One Way – Tamela Mann Secret Place – VaShawn Mitchell Demonstrate – William Murphy Traditional Gospel Album: The Journey LIVE – Donnie McClurkin Azusa The Next Generation 2: Better You Deserve It – J.J. Hairston Youthful Praise

Anthony Brown Scores Second Number One Album With the release of their new album, “A Long Way From Sunday,” top-selling artist Anthony Brown & group therAPy, scored their second Billboard number one album. The album debuted last month at Number 1 on both Billboard’s Top Gospel Albums and Top Christian and Gospel Albums charts. Featuring guest vocals from Leandria Johnson, Sho Baraka, Jonathan McReynolds and Travis Greene, “A Long Way From Sunday” is the third release from Brown. The lead single, “Trust In You”, is a top ten hit as well. “A Long Way From Sunday” follows Brown’s hit album “Everyday Jesus” which garnered 10 Stellar Awards and their first Grammy nomination. Brown is also touting his recently launched inspirational web series, “Road To Victory”, which airs weekly on his official YouTube channel (Visit AJBLive). Brown also landed a starring role in the national stage play “Mama's Boy,” written and directed by Priest Tyaire. The touring production, which also stars Johnny Gill, Robin Givens, Jackeé, Shirley Murdock and more, will kick off in September and run throughout the fall.

L.A. Focus/September 2017

Re d Carpet Style


MAXINE WATERS rocking a beautiful orange mermaid flare dress.

TARAJI P HENSON looking stunning in a midnight blue V-neck gown.

Tamela and David Are Set To Hit The Road Again Grammy® Award-Winning Platinum Recording Artist Tamela Mann and her husband NAACP Image® Award-Winning Comedian David Mann are gearing up to hit the road again for a fall tour that will include more than 20 dates. The Mann's World Family Tour will feature David, Tamela, son David Mann Jr, and daughter Tia Mann, sharing an evening of music, comedy and family entertainment. The tour is set to kick off September 1 and wind down November 3. West coast stops include L.A. on September 15 and San Diego on September 16. "We're excited to get back on the road this fall and go on tour with our kids. It's not just a concert, or a comedy show, it's a family experience," says David Mann, executive producer of the tour. Coinciding with the announcement of the tour, Tamela received her fifth No. 1 on Billboard's Gospel radio chart for her single, "Change Me." "I'm thrilled and grateful that Gospel radio and their listeners love this song," says Tamela. "It blesses me every time I sing it!."

Briefly: Former “The Voice” finalist Koryn Hawthorne made her eagerly-awaited debut with the release of her self-titled RCA Inspiration debut EP last month. Producers on the project Grammy Award® winning producer/songwriter Warryn Campbell. The four-track Koryn Hawthorne EP includes the remix of her debut single, ''Won't He Do It.’' Hawthorne was just 17, when she became a top 4 finalist on Season 8 of NBC’s “The Voice” two years ago. Her rendition of "How Great Thou Art" on the show was an immediate hit, debuting at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Gospel Songs chart when the show released the single during the competition in 2015.

Celebrities and athletes hit the red carpet for the Black Girls Rock! 2017 at New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, New Jersey.

DIONNE WARWICK gracefully wearing a tailored two piece with a sheer cardigan.

ANIKA NONI ROSE in a flattering cream strapless floral dress

YARA SHAHIDI pleasently wearing a long sleeve purple sparkle dress.

ChurchNews One Church LA Joins The Potter’s House Family

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


ne Church LA, one of the fastest growing churches in Los Angeles, has officially become part of The Potter’s House Family. Pastor Toure Roberts, who founded the church in 2002, will have double duty as pastor of The Potter’s House Denver location, which was formerly led by Chris Hill, who tendered his resignation in April. The word was made official in Roberts’ Instagram post on Sunday, stating: “Today, history was made and its effect was felt across all of the Potter House Church campuses including the latest addition (@onechurchla). It was further personally amazing to formally take the helm of @tphdenver and to rejoice with such a resilient congregation as we looked to all the wonderful things that God has in store! Extremely grateful for our visionary, covering and head @bishopjakes! Epic day!” Bishop Jakes, who preached all three services at One Church LA, posted a statement of his own. “Potter's House of One LA @onechurchla is now officially connected to @tphdallas and its affiliates for the up building of God's kingdom. @toureroberts and @sarahjakesroberts will provide oversight there while assuming the pastoral role of @tphdenver! I flew in to preach the inaugural service!” Holding down two churches will, no doubt, be somewhat of a juggling act. On Sunday, while Bishop Jakes was at One Church LA, Pastor Toure was in Denver and Sarah Jakes-Roberts was preaching at the Potter’s House Dallas. Last night, Pastor Toure held down the mid-week worship in L.A., while his wife led the service in Denver. The Potter’s House at One LA brings the number of locations of Jakes’ Potter’s House family to five, including Dallas, North Dallas, Fort Worth, Denver and now Los Angeles. The Potter’s House—with more than 30,000 on its rolls—is one of the largest and most influential churches in the nation.

Johnteris Tate Named Pastor of Mt. Moriah Baptist Church 24-year old Johnteris Tate of Memphis, Tennessee, has been named pastor of Mt. Moriah Baptist Church. The symbolic Shepherd’s staff and Bible were officially passed to Tate at the retirement ceremony of outgoing Senior Pastor, Dr. Melvin Von Wade held at the Westin Hotel and attended by upwards of 500 people including some of the highest profile pastors in Los Angeles as well as special guests like Yolanda Adams and Dr. Judith Christie McAllister. Wade, who had served at the helm of the storied church for 42 years, said he would pray for Tate, “because I want you to do more at Mt. Moriah than I have done.” Wade is set to preach his last sermon this month. Tate, who began preaching at the age of nine, had served as Senior Servant of the First Thessaloina Baptist church in Memphis. He was reportedly recommended by Bishop Rudolph W. McKissick, Jr. and is a sought-after speaker on the religious circuit. Bishop Charles Blake Condemns Charlottesville Violence The firestorm of controversy that has followed the clash between hundreds of white supremacists adorned in KKK and Nazi gear and counter protesters in Charlottesville— resulting in three deaths and 19 injured—has brought a wrath of condemnation from church leaders around the country. Christian leaders across the nation have been encouraging fellow Christians to condemn white supremacism. Here in Los Angeles, Bishop Charles Blake, Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ and senior pastor of the West Angeles Church of God in Christ, was one of those who urged the Christian community to rally around the cause for unity and against bigotry, hatred and domestic terrorism. Said Blake, “It is essential to note that the black community must oppose terrorism in all of its forms. During a period of even more racially intense unrest Dr. [Martin Luther] King argued that we as a society must learn to disagree without being disagreeable. That is the spirit of

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

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

Grace Temple Baptist Church 7017 South Gramercy Place, Los Angeles, CA 90047 (323) 971-8192 Bishop Miquail M. Broadous Sr., Senior Pastor

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

Grace United Methodist Church 4112 West Slauson Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90043 (323) 294-6653 • F: (323) 294-8753 • Rev. Pastor Paul A. Hill • Early Morning Worship: 7:45am Sunday School: 9:45am Morning Worship: 10:45am Wed. Bible Study: Noon & 7:00pm Fri. Alcoholic Anonymous: 7:00pm Tues. Prayer Fellowship: 6:30pm Super Seniors (Thurs/Bi-Monthly): 10:30am Follow us on Facebook

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

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

Sunday School: 10am Early Worship: 8am Morning Worship: 10:30 am Bible Study (Tues): Noontime Pastor’s Bible Study( Tues): 7pm

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

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

Sunday School: 9am Morning Worship: 10:00am Wednesday Worship: 6:45pm E-Mail:

Early Worship: 8am Sunday School: 9:30am Mid-Morning Worship: 11am Radio-KALI 900AM: Sun. 11-Noon, 7-8pm KTYM 1460AM Sundays: 5:30pm Bible Study (Tues, Wed & Thurs): 7pm

Holman United Methodist Church 3320 W. Adams Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90018 (323) 731-7285 • F: (323) 731-2609 • Rev. Kelvin Sauls Sunday School: 8:00, 9:45 & 11:00am Jazz for Soul 2nd & 4th Thur: 6:30pm Early Worship: 8:00am Morning Worship: 11:00am Bible Study (Thurs.): Noon Sun. Radio: KJLH 102.3FM: 11:00am E: Liberty Baptist Church 1500 West 51st Place, Los Angeles, CA 90062 (323) 295-3866 • F: (323) 295-0366 • E: Rev. Terry Lovell Brown Sr. Sunday Church School: 9:00am Morning Worship: 10:30am & 12:30pm Wed. Bible Study: noon & 6:30pm Prayer Meeting: 6:00pm Follow us on Twitter @dacrossculture Mt. Moriah Baptist Church of LA, Inc. 4269 S. Figueroa St. Los Angeles, CA 90037 (323) 846-1950 Rev. Melvin V. Wade, Sr. Sunday School: 8:15am Morning Worship: 9:45am Evening Worship: 6:30pm Mid-Week Worship (Wed): 7:00pm Bible Study (Wed.): 8:00pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pastor’s Bible Class & Sunday School: 8am Morning Worship: 9:30am Tues. Prayer: 7:00pm Tues. Bible Study: 8:00pm

Park Windsor Baptist Church 1842 W. 108th St. Los Angeles, CA 90047 (323) 756-3966 • Rev. Terrell Taylor Morning Worship: 8:00am & 11:00am Bible Study Wednesday: Noon & 7:00pm Communion: 1st Sunday at 8:00am & 11:00am

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

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

St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church 5017 S. Compton Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90011 (323) 231-1040 • Rev. Dr. Lovely Haynes Sunday Morning Worship: 8:00am & 11:00am Sunday School: 9:30am Mon-Wed: Prayer Bible Study: 6:00 - 6:55 pm Mon. Night Bible Study: 7:00pm Tue Choir Rehersal Wednesday Prayer: Noon Wed. Exposition of Sunday School Lesson: 7pm Wed. Prayer Meeting: 7:00pm Thurs. Evangelism: 7:00pm (enrollment required) St. Matthew Tabernacle of Praise “The S.T.O.P.” 3770 Santa Rosalia Dr. Baldwin Hills, CA 90008 (323) 291-1115 • F: (323) 293-0471 Rev. C.Barry Greene, Pastor Morning Worship: 8:00am Church School Hour: 10:15am Tuesday Hour of Power: 7:00pm E:

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

Southern Saint Paul Church 4678 West Adams Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90016 (323) 731-2703 • Rev. Xavier L. Thompson, Senior Pastor/Teacher L.I.F.E. Groups Sundays: 9:30am Morning Worship Service: 11:00am Baptism & Communion (First Sunday): 4:00pm Weekly Bible Enrichment Tuesdays: 7:00pm

L.A. Focus/September 2017

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

Paradise Baptist Church 5100 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90037 (323) 231-4366 Dr. Aaron Iverson

North Campus: 9:00am Wednesday Bible Enrichment: 7:00pm 11137 Herrick Av • Pacoima 91331 (818) 899-8031 •“Loving People Making Disciples”•


Trinity Baptist Church 2040 West Jefferson Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90018 (323) 735-0044 • F: (323) 735-0219 Rev. Alvin Tunstill, Jr Sunday Worship: 7:30 & 10:30am Sunday Church School: 9:00am Radio Broadcast KJLH FM: 9:00am Wed. Prayer & Bible Study: Noon-7:00pm UpLift Christian Fellowship 4745 W. Slauson Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90056 (310) 927-3476 Pastor Anthony Thompson Sunday Worship: 10:00am Bible Study Wednesday: 7:00pm

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

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

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

In Altadena

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

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

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

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

Pastor Profile: Pastor Rudy Hagood Church: University Christian Church How Long: Seven months Education: Florida A&M; Southwestern Christian College; Hope International University Family: Married 22-years to Osharye Hagood , 7 Children What brought you to ministry? I’ve been in ministry since 2000. My brother, Fate Hagood, who’s seven years older than me, started preaching when he was 15. People would ask are you are going to be like your brother and I would say no. I was on a different path. I went to Florida A&M on a basketball scholarship, but I was not ready for that so I came back home and started attending his church. He started a discipleship group and while I grew up in church and knew the word discipleship, I had no idea what he meant, but I said okay. Then he said, ‘we’re going to meet at my house at 7 in the morning,’ and that’s how I knew it was different. We get there and it was about 10 or 11 of us. He would teach the word and we’d break off into groups and discuss whatever the topic was. If he was preaching somewhere, we would go and if any of us was doing anything, we would go support one another. It was the closest thing I’ve experienced to what you see in the book of Acts, where the disciples did life together. Was that when you decided to go into ministry? No, I still wasn’t trying to be like my brother. I was a social worker. I had worked my way from childcare worker to assistant, supervisor, director of a group home and program coordinator. So, my path was social work. I was just being a disciple because I love Jesus, but about eight or nine months into this process, we’re at church and he says, ‘You guys are going to be real excited, we have some guest speakers tonight, but they don’t know they’re speaking’. I look around, but I don’t see anyone new. Then he says, ‘You guys have 10 minutes to give us 10 minutes’. That was my first sermon. I was scared to death. It was harder for me than the rest of the group because it was my brother. But he said: ‘Look, if you can learn to submit to me and you know I’m imperfect, then submitting to a perfect God becomes easy.’ I’m thinking either you mindtricked me because you’re my big brother, or that makes a lot of sense. We did [the discipleship] for a year. After that year, he said, ‘now you go and do the same.’ So, I grabbed six guys and discipled those guys and those two years I grew more than any other years in my life.

Why did you leave working with your brother? When we began the discipleship, I was living in Compton. The church was in Carson so that wasn’t a big deal, but we moved to the Valley and for seven years my family and I were driving from the Valley to Carson three to five times a week, where I was getting a small stipend, but the commute got to be too much. Instead, we started going to Shepherd of the Hills. It was the first time where we had seen a multicultural church like that, where you walked in and it wasn’t a black church, it wasn’t white, it wasn’t Latino, it was everybody. I wasn’t trying to get back into ministry, but our kids were in the youth ministry when one of the youth pastors says, ‘we need to meet your parents because someone’s been pouring into you.’ First they met my wife and got her to volunteer with the young adults. The next thing you know, I’m the young adult discipleship pastor. Well, Shepherd has a daughter church in Simi Valley of about 2,000 people called Discovery Church. Someone told them about me and I ended up becoming the discipleship pastor for Discovery. I was at Shepherd for three years and then I made that transition to Discovery another three. Things are going well, why did you leave Discovery? My wife and I are just ‘jump out on our faith kind of people’, so we’re like God is calling us to plant a church. So, we jump out to do our own thing and started out at our house. That doesn’t go as well as we thought it would, but God used the experience to teach us a lot. So, the church doesn’t work out, what’s your next move? I knew the guy pastoring here, Scott Julian, and Scott had an opening, so I came here. Things were going really well, but I was part time. My wife was in marketing at the time, but she lost a big contract and all we had was my part-time job. I was at a church that I loved, but financially we just weren’t in a good space and a guy from San Diego calls and says, ‘I got a full-time deal for you, if you’ll come be my number two.’ So, I go there and I’m there about two years, and Scott leaves and they ask if I’d be willing to fill in a couple Sundays. After I preached, they asked if I would consider being a candidate for lead pastor. So, God brought me back here. What do you love about this church? It’s one of the most loving, welcoming groups of people I’ve been around. I love that it’s intergenerational with people of all ages. Plus, I have a heart for multicultural churches and it’s reflective of the community. You rarely see community churches anymore. My heart is to be community church so I will make disciples who love God, love our people and love our city. That’s the part that is a little unique. Our vision is to be a bridge for the gospel of Jesus

Christ reaching the city. So, I want people out being a part of the community whether that’s volunteering as coaches, being a part of your neighborhood groups or whatever—be a part of the city. The services are relatively short? Yes, we have two services and they are like one hour and ten minutes each. How important is being diverse? I want to be intentional about being diverse and I mean that culturally and racially, but also you will see men and women working together that all levels. That also means economically. We want to reach out to the poor, the rich, the middle class—everybody. You believe in mentoring… That’s how I grew—from someone saying look and see how I love my wife, now you go do the same. Look and see how I take people on and teach them the word of God, now you go do the same. Look how I deal with my kids, now you go do the same. I believe in mentoring. Where does your social work background fit in? I want to make sure that we start to make a bridge into adopting and fostering. I would love to see our church become a church that begins to adopt and foster more as a way of loving our city and taking care of the community. I want to have the best children’s ministry that we c a n

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

In Gardena

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

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

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

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

In Hawthorne

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

First Lady Files Genny Moore Crenshaw Church of Christ Being a pastor’s wife was something that never crossed Genny Moore’s mind— that is until her mother pointed out that she seemed well-suited for the role after noticing how dedicated Genny was to serving at Crenshaw Church of Christ where she’d attended since 1988 before her husband Tyson L. Moore became pastor in 2014. “I thought I was a little too raw for the role,” she admits. “But I’ve found that the hardest part about being a first lady is living in a fish bowl where there are 500 sets of eyes looking at every area of my life.” But she’s overcome this challenge by stressing to the congregation that she is human and not one to be put on a pedestal. She also strikes a balance between ministry and family by drawing boundaries on time and expectations—especially for her three children Isaiah, Nehemiah and Micaiah. “Every time the building is open, I don’t expect my children to be there,” she notes, “but we do have expectations that they develop their own relationship with God. And we try to set the example.” She stays busy by working with the children, young adult and marriage ministries. She also serves as assistant general coordinator for the United Christian Women and holds down a full-time job at Pepperdine University as an office manager in the Humanities and Teacher Education Department. Moore credits her previous first lady, Mary Curl with making the transition to first lady a seamless one. “I’d been serving alongside the first lady for years—we are very good friends. We worked on committees and programs together so the transition was very easy. When it was time for the baton to be passed basically she took a step back and I took a step forward.” True Friendship Missionary Baptist Church 7901 South Van Ness Ave. Inglewood, CA 90305 (323) 750-7304 Rev. James A. Perkins Sunday School: 9:30am Early Worship: 8am Morning Worship: 10:45am Bible Adventure Hour (Tues): 6pm Bible Study (Tues): 7pm Bible Study (Thurs): Noon First Church of God Center of Hope 9550 Crenshaw Blvd., Inglewood, CA 90305 (323) 757-1804 Pastor Geremy L. Dixon Morning Worship: 8:00am & 11:00am Wed. Mid-Week Service: Noon Wed. Teaching Ministry: 7:00pm 1st Sunday Communion 5th Sunday Baptism

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

In Long Beach

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bishop W.M. Larue Dillard, Phd. Sunday Worship: 7:45am, 10:45am, 4:45pm Ministry Worship to Children/Youth Sunday: 9:45am - 10:45am Prayer/Academy of Biblical Studies (Wed): 10:45am - 6:45pm First AME Santa Monica In 1823 Michigan Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90404 (310) 450-0331 F: (310) 450-4680 Facebook: First AME Church Santa Monica Rev. Rueben W. Ford, Pastor

Santa Monica

Sunday School: 9:30am Sunday Worship: 11:00am Bible Study/Prayer Meditation: Thursday 6pm “The Church In The Heart Of The Community with The Community at Heart”

L.A. Focus/September 2017

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

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


From the Pulpit: Shiloh Full Gospel Baptist Church God Is Able to Do the Impossible; Mark 9:23 here is nothing too difficult for God. Isaiah 40:22 says “It is he that sitteth upon the circle of earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heaven as a curtain and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.” God is strong, omnipresent, and omniscient. Therefore, when you continue to live for Jesus Christ, you will learn how to take limits off your finite understanding of His ability and power, One of the most amazing things about God is His interest in mankind and His love for people like you and me. He desires to have fellowship and spend time with us on a oneon-one basis. The psalmist asked the question in Psalms 8:4: “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man that thou visitest him?” Then there’s our character. We seem to have a natural-born talent for finding difficulty and creating problems. Sometimes it seems that trouble just follows around, or that the devil has painted a big target in our backs so everybody can shoot at us. I can remember many personal experiences when it seemed I spent more time trying to fix things I’d messed up then doing constructive work. I spent more time retracing my steps from wrong turns than traveling in the right direction. Sometimes I got myself in situations I couldn't correct and fell prey to the devil’s deception and found myself in desperate straits. I’ve started projects so ambitious they seemed unrealistic when it appeared the resources I had to have to succeed were unattainable. But by living for God, I had to find out the hard way that if I trust and believe God can do the impossible, I had to understand that God has a way out just for me that no one else can comprehend. I trust God to the point when it looks ridiculous, I know God is working it out for my good. There’s been times when it doesn't look good, doesn’t feel good, and doesn't sound good—that's why as I continue in the faith I can sing that song that Andrae Crouch wrote: “Can’t nobody do me like Jesus. Can’t nobody do me like the Lord.” God is able to do the impossible just for you. In those difficult times, in the darkest hours, when all hope was gone and disaster seemed unavoidable, God came to my rescue and revealed Himself to me. Then God reached out His strong hand time and time again, made a way for me when there was no way. He did the impossible. He revealed unexpected solutions. He moved heaven and earth to put the unattainable within my grasp. Someone might say, ‘well, God has blessed you so much because you’re a preacher. You are special to Him and not like us.’ I’ve got news for you. The devil is a liar and don't you believe it because God loves everybody the same way. He’s an equal opportunity God. What He’s done for me, he will do for you. The Apostle Peter declared in the book of Acts 10:3 that God is no respecter of persons. The question comes to mind: How does the Lord become the God of the impossible in our lives? The answer is through faith. Jesus said in Mark 9:23 “IF thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” God can deliver you and move supernaturally in your life. It doesn't matter what your problem or needs may be— whether your bondage is alcohol or drugs, or if you are suffering from cancer, blindness, or lameness. There is a God who can stretch forth His hand and break every fetter. He’s the God of the impossible, When doctors say there’s no hope, you can go to God because there is nothing too hard for Him. Forget about the religious bumper sticker rhetoric that says, “When everything else has failed, try God.” Whoever told you that is totally wrong. You must tell God first in prayer before you try to do it yourself. Why do you want to go through pain and heartache and live in the misery of a heartbreak hotel? You don't need that kind of drama when you can believe and receive the blessings of God and save yourself from unnecessary situations. You were born to live in victory you were born to be an eagle instead of a chicken. We as a church of God need to get up and learn how to fly. God has

L.A. Focus/September 2017



MILESTONES Hundreds Rally In Support of Colin Kaepernick A rally on behalf of embattled former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick brought hundreds of fans and protesters alike to the doorsteps of the National Football League's New York City headquarters. Supporters—including celebs like Susan Sarandon— who stood in defense of Kaepernick, believe that NFL owners have blackballed the 29-year old quarterback for refusing to stand during the national anthem at games. "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," said Kaepernick, who led the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2013. Among the speakers was Pastor

Jamal Bryant, who stated “I want the media to see not just those who are speaking but the countless thousands who are here standing so that Kaepernick knows he’s not by himself. "The NFL has proven with their treatment of Colin Kaepernick that they do not mind if black players get

In Westchester Arise Christian Center 6949 La Tijera Blvd. Suite C, Westchester, CA 90045 (310)568-8445•F: (310) 568-8430 • Pastor Ron Taylor Morning Worship: 9:00am & 11:15am Bible Study Wednesday: 7:00pm Intercessory Prayer Tuesday : 7:00pm Intercessory Prayer Sunday: 8am - 8:45am Intercessory Prayer Thursday: 11:30pm - 12:30pm Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church 980 Rio Grande Street, Pasadena, CA 91104 *Mailing Address: 1416 N. Mentor Ave. Pasadena, 91104 (626) 794-4875 • F: (626) 794-7815 Pastor W. Harrison Trotter Sunday School: 8:30am Sunday Worship: 10:00am Bible Study Wednesday: 7:00pm Intercessory Prayer (Fourth Wed.): 7:00pm Christians Uniting To Make A Difference -Eph. 4:13

given you faith to carry you out of your barnyard to the sunlit skies. You were born to soar, to touch the heights of your destiny. We must learn to love to live the life of the impossible that God has for his children When it gets to the point where I can’t see my way, I don’t quit. Instead, I call on Jesus and He will either tell me how to get out of it, or give me strength to deal with it. Paul offers encouragement in book of I Corinthians 10:13: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as it common man but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.” The bible is full of such great stories of every imaginable kind of human experience. Every story is an example of the power and goodness of God and an object lesson on how faith works. The Lord knows how to provide for the godly. For example, Matthew’s gospel tells how the tax collector came to Peter to collect the tribute money owed buy Jesus and himself. Apparently, there was not enough money in the disciple’s treasury to pay the tax. So, Peter brought the problem to Jesus. The Lord gave Peter some very definite, specific instructions: Take the first fish you catch, look inside its mouth and you will find pieces of money. There that will be enough to pay the taxes due for you and me. God will do the impossible by working things out that are above your comprehension. When you ask God to meet a need in your life. Be ready to follow God’s divine instruction. Your blessing will be found as you obey God’s voice and follow his instructions. God’s way of meeting your need maybe very unexpected. He wants you to know the he’s the God of supernatural. Mark 11:24 says, “what things Rev. Quincy Fielding Jr.

a concussion,” Bryant has stated. “They just got a problem if black players get a conscience ... No player should be victimized and discriminated against because of his exercise of free speech ... To do so is in violation of his rights under the Constitution and the NFL's own regulations." Said Baseball great Hank Aaron, “I think he’s [Colin Kaepernick] getting a raw deal. If you look at all the quarterbacks right now, I think you’d have to say he’s 1,2,3,4. I don’t think anybody can do the things he could do. So you know, I just wish somebody would open up and give him a chance to do his thing…” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said that the league has not blackballed the player. Kaepernick, however, remains unsigned.

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

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

In La Puente

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

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


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

so ever ye desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and ye shall have them.” God is able to do the impossible. For if you study Gods biography, you will find that, God created the heavens and the earth and all things were made by him and without him was not anything that was made.

People’s Independent Church of Christ 5856 West Boulevard, LA ,CA 90043 You are invited to worship with us! ALL ARE WELCOME Sunday Morning Worship 8:00 & 11:00am Sunday Corporate Prayer 10:30am Wednesday Bible Study 12:00pm & 7:00pm

Through the Storm Mother Seeks Justice in Death of 26-Year Old Black Gay Male in


Apartment of Prominent Democratic Donor

he silence from L.A.'s Democratic community on the recent death of a 26-year-old Black gay male sex worker in the West Hollywood apartment of 63-year-old prominent Democratic political donor Ed Buck has been astounding. Gemmel Moore's July 27 death, was immediately classified as an accidental methamphetamine overdose by the coroner, but now the Sheriff's Department is taking a closer look after his personal journal was published. Numerous young Black gay men have stepped forward making allegations against Buck recounting similar stories about a man who they say has a Tuskegee Experiment like fetish which includes shooting drugs into young Black men that he picks up off the street or via dating hookup websites. In his journal, Gemmel Moore wrote, "I honestly don't know what to do. I've become addicted to drugs and the worst one at that," a December entry reads. "Ed Buck is the one to thank. He gave me my first injection of crystal meth it was very painful, but after all the troubles, I became addicted to the pain and fetish/fantasy." Another entry read: “My life is at an all-time high right now & I mean that from all ways. I ended up back at Buck house again and got munipulated into slamming again. I even went to the point where I was forced to doing 4 within a 2 day period. This man is crazy and it’s sad. Will I ever get help?” His last entry, dated Dec. 3, 2016, reads: "If it didn't hurt so bad, I'd kill myself, but I'll let Ed Buck do it for now. Buck has given hundreds of thousands of dollars of Democratic causes and candidates over the years. His Facebook page boasts dozens of photos of him with everyone from presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to Governor Jerry Brown, Los Angeles County Democratic Party and California Democratic Party chairman Eric Bauman and even Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. In online ads soliciting young Black gay men, Buck has referred to them as being a "6-foot" n-word. On his Facebook page, he joked with friends using the n-word. “Most of Los Angeles' Democratic and LGBT community–which are often one in same–has had nothing to say publicly about Moore's death. Politicians who have received thousands of dollars from Buck over the years have been curiously silent,” wrote social critic and political commentator Jasmyne Cannick. “And while there was no shortage of politicians in Los Angeles falling over themselves to issue statements and be seen in the media condemning the events of Charlottesville and President Trump's response to them–locally they have seemingly looked the other way and conveniently ignored that one of their top donors might be a serial predator who gets his kicks by drugging vulnerable young Black gay men. “All that talk from Democrats about being allies and at edge of each other's battles goes out the door and loses all credibility when in 2017, a Black gay man can die under more than suspicious circumstances and rather than acknowledge his death–everyone looks the other way

If it didn’t hurt so much, I’d kill myself, but I’ll let Ed Buck do it for now.

because they don't want to alienate a consistent and topgiving political donor.” To that end, Moore’s family along with activists in California Thursday launched a petition calling on Democrats in five states to return over four hundred thousand dollars in campaign contributions from Buck. The petition, which in addition to returning campaign contributions to a fund set up to support Moore’s family and victims of Ed Buck, demands that Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey avoid a conflict of interest and return her contribution from Buck and prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law. "From those who denounce nearly anything for political expediency, the silence from our Democratic Party and the majority of our elected officials around Gemmel Moore's death is profoundly disturbing," said Kimberly Ellis, former candidate for California Democratic Party Chair. "Yes, this is about race, sex workers, drug use and power. And yes, it involves a well-connected Party donor. Remaining quiet only sends one message--Gemmel Moore's life doesn't matter. Saying Black lives matter but not speaking out about this is political hypocrisy at its ugliest and demonstrates cowardice, not leadership." Launched on website Color of Change, whose purpose is to strengthen Black America’s political voice, the petition is being pushed by the Justice 4 Gemmel + All of Ed Buck’s Victims Coalition which is co-chaired by Moore’s mother LaTisha Nixon. “I just want justice for my son,” commented LaTisha Nixon, mother of Gemmel Moore. “Ed Buck’s attorney says that his client was a good friend of my son but I don’t believe that. Good friends who can donate the amount of money he has at least call their good friend’s mother and

offer condolences. They call and ask how can they help. Good friends contribute to their good friend’s funeral. We raised money online to cover my son’s funeral from his friends and complete strangers who cared more than Ed Buck. I just want justice for my son and all of Ed Buck’s victims.” Numerous young Black gay men have stepped forward making allegations against Buck recounting similar stories about a man who they say has a Tuskegee Experiment like fetish which includes shooting drugs into young Black men that he picks up off the street or via dating hookup websites. Buck has been accused of being a sexual predator, kidnapping, forced drug use, injecting unconscious Black gay men with crystal meth, filing false police reports to cover his crimes, coercion and pimping and pandering by his victims. “Blood stained money is cursed money,” commented activist and Wear Your Voice Magazine Editor-in-Chief Ashlee Marie Preston. “While many recipients may not have been aware of specifics around Ed Buck's deadly experiments with disenfranchised black male youth, there has been an abundance of new evidence produced that confirms his racism, drug use and sexual exploitation of homeless young black men. To hang onto his contributions and avoid making a statement, establishes your allegiance to Ed Buck and sends the message that your values are in alignment with his. While we cannot bring Gemmel Moore back, we can turn this tragedy into triumph by using your returned contributions for legal fees in his family's pursuit for justice.” Elected officials and organizations in California, Nevada, Arizona, Indiana, Illinois and Washington D.C. that received money from Ed Buck are asked to return their contribution to the Justice 4 Gemmel + All of Ed Buck’s Victims Fund to help with legal costs as well as supporting the family of Gemmel Moore and all of Buck’s victims. “It’s troubling to see that so many Los Angeles-area Democrats who have taken donations from a man who has allegedly stalked and preyed on the most vulnerable of society have nothing to say,” said Cannick. “Just the fact that the allegations have been made and reported on in the news that these politicians are most influenced by should — and normally would be enough for Democrats to return their donations and issue statements distancing themselves from the accused. But for the most part, nothing. Is it because Ed Buck is white? Is it because he is white and gay? Is it because he often maxes out on contributing to their campaigns? Is it because the accusers are Black gay men? Is it because the accusers are Black?” “As co-founder of Black Lives Matter I believe that all Black people should be fought for,” said Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors. “Gemmel deserves to be alive. Any elected official who received monies from Ed Buck should not only return the money, but should challenge Ed Buck to come out and be accountable for the death of Gemmel.” Recently Los Angeles County District Attorney

Certified CPR / BLS / First Aid Classes Groups, Community Organizations & Educators are welcomed For more information call Joi (714) 418-7416

Pastor continued from page 8

Money Matters continued from page 8

Larry Elder continued from page 7

have with a church our size with the best resources possible. We have the same opportunity to do for others what God has done for us and then pass it on. I also want us to get involved in making a difference in human trafficking. This is personal for me because I have four daughters and I know that most of the kids being trafficked are girls. What’s your biggest challenge? I have horrific stage fright. I can remember being on the teaching team at Discovery and I was throwing up the mornings before I preached. I struggle with that, but the more I preach the easier it is. Now that I’m a lead [pastor], I preach all the time so it is a bit easier. It doesn’t bother me when singing, but it’s because preaching matters that much to me and though I’m a discipleship guy, without preaching you won’t really reach people. What is your particular style of preaching? I’m passionate about teaching and people getting the point. I want to be a bridge for people to get to God, for people to connect to one another and I want to bridge people’s concepts so I can help them get from A to Z.

A win at the box office will mean more faith-based content from African-American filmmakers in the marketplace. White has already announced that her next film will be faith-based as well. Key to the film’s success, however, is a buy-in from the faith community. “I’ve learned so much after doing this genre,” observes White, who worked in talent management years ago before becoming a producer, among whose credits are Comedy Underground starring Tony Rock, “My Favorite Five,” “My Sister’s Wedding," and “The Sin Seer.” “People have to know that you are really a believer and they have to know where your heart is. That’s why this first film was so important to us because we want to establish that we're for real.” Not only is White a Christian but so too is everyone on her team. “That’s important. We wouldn’t have been able to do the film if we weren’t. You can't fake it. Hollywood has tried many times but they always fail at that.” Interested churches can go to to sign up for group sales. A discounted rate of $8 has been negotiated for those who see the movie at an AMC Theatre. “We talk to so many people and they tell us how blessed they are,” White reports. “We are doing ministry and it was eye opening for me to realize how much you can touch people. I’m really hoping and praying people will take their church as a group. Instead of doing bible study, you can have the church experience in the movie, because we designed it that way.”

ple of color. Two related "race" themes, fervently believed by the left, drive this hatred for Trump. First, the left believes, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that whites' anti-black racism remains a major problem — even after America became the only predominantly white country in the world to elect a black person to lead it. Second, they believe that Trump won by catering to white racists. Neither is true. But the left's desire to embrace these two narratives is, to them, much like climate change. It's settled science. 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 Follow Larry on Twitter @larryelder.

When will you consider yourself successful? When I have people loving God and loving the city. Pastor continued from page 8

be engaging members of the congregation to make contributions and we will be sending resources —financial as well as material — to churches we have operating in distribution points in Corpus Christi and Houston.” West Angeles Church in conjunction with the National Relief Organization of the Church of God in Christ, COGIC Charities has established a collection drive to send necessary supplies to be distributed via churches and various outreach organizations to aid the relief efforts to those victimized by Hurricane Harvey in Houston and surrounding areas. “It is my belief that the church is the first responder to tragedies in life and Hurricane Harvey is but one example,” said Inglewood-based pastor, Dr. Beverly “Bam” Crawford. “Even as this tragedy is still unfolding, we’re in the early stages of coordinating an effort to assist in whatever way we can—either through fellow Houston churches or relief organizations and will ask our parishioners to help as well. Our belief is that they’ll know we’re Christians because of our love.” Find out how you can help on page 24.

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Pastor continued from page 8

Jesus Christ and of Dr. King and I call upon my pastor and my Roman Catholic brothers and sisters to come together to exemplify Dr. King’s vision of the beloved community as a moral witness to the world. “There is a particular need for black men to rise to this challenge,” Blake continued. “We, in the church, must provide moral leadership to show how we vigorously pursue justice while maintaining a compassionate tone and discourse with those with whom we disagree.” Storm continued from page

Jackie Lacey’s office granted immunity to victims of Ed Buck’s who have come forward since the death of Gemmel Moore. The announcement of immunity paves the way for the victims of prominent Democratic donor Ed Buck to safely provide statements to homicide detectives that may implicate Buck in the July 27 accidental methamphetamine overdose death of Gemmel Moore as well as other crimes against young Black gay men. “I’m crying tears of joy through this pain and heartache,” said LaTisha Nixon, mother of Gemmel Moore. “I’m so happy that the district attorney has granted immunity to these young men. I’m proud of everyone who has come forward to share their story with the police in the quest for justice for my son.”

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L.A. Focus/September 2017

n what was a shocker for Greenleaf fans— especially so early in season three —was the death of Greenleaf ’s Uncle Mac (Robert ‘Mac’ McCready) at the hands of Grace Greenleaf (Merle Dandridge). The drama building to the moment was palpable, but what was just as unmistakable was what David Alan Williams brought to the table as an actor. So much so that Oprah Winfrey released a glowing statement of Williams after the episode aired, stating, “Had it not been for Greg Alan’s exquisite acting, Mac would have been eliminated in the very first season. “We knew from the beginning,” Winfrey went on to say, “that if you have a predator, that predator has to be brought to justice. There had to be a stunning ending because there was no way you can let the predator continue to thrive. None of us wanted to take him out because we love Greg so much.” In the end, producers felt they had to do what was best for the story. That the audience universally hated Mac was affirmation to Williams that he was doing his job. But for Williams it, too, was time to go. “Villains can be a lot of fun,” said Williams. “But this villain wears on you, because he’s so real. The storyline illuminated the whole issue of abuse and how these individuals position themselves to abuse children and to work with such a marvelous cast is a dream come true and certainly being a part of Ms. Winfrey’s vision to make her audience aware of how abusers function. She said that she wanted the audience understand that abusers are seducers.” For all the enlightenment, the role was wearing on Williams. “It took a greater toll than I realized,” the 61year old Atlanta resident states. “There’s a darkness and sadness about Mac I was carrying with me. You will continue to see Mac for a few more episodes and secrets are going to be revealed, but he won’t be back for season three.” And though Williams appreciated the challenge, he admits that there was some concern in the beginning. “What allayed my concerns was that they were treating the traditions of the church respectfully and that people are smart enough to discern the difference between Greg Alan Williams and Robert Mac McCreedy.” At the end of the day, the timing for Uncle Mac’s death couldn’t have been any better for Williams who has five projects coming up including Director Bill Duke’s upcom-


Greg Alan Williams

ing legal drama, “Created Equal” and “All Saints”, which released last month. “A Question of Faith” is set to hit theaters later this month and “Geostorm” starring Gerald Butler and Abbie Cornish will hit the box office in October. Williams is currently in the midst of a promotional tour for the upcoming release of “A Question of Faith”—a movie he can’t seem to stop saying good things about. “This is the most profound film I’ve ever been blessed to be part of,” William says. “It is this wonderful story of grace, forgiving, and healing—the sort of movie that will attract all kinds of people because it reminds us of the kind people we are and how much we have in common. It reminds us how to love one another.” “I am grateful for it,” Williams continues, “because I’m able to play a pedophile in “Greenleaf” and a priest in “A Question of Faith”. I’ve always talked to new actors about developing range to portray a variety of characters. This proves the point professionally for me. I talked to a guy yesterday who saw the movie and he said “I’ll never call you Uncle Mac again”. I was somewhere else and a lady said, “you have redeemed yourself in my eyes.” Truth is, Williams has frequently been cast in the role of a preacher and for such roles, he has a deep well of personal experience to draw from. “Some say that I look like preacher and because as a young man I was able to put words together, people would say, ‘that boy gone be a preacher’. In fact, a very prominent bishop three weeks ago— after he watched the show—came to me and said, “I can see the anointing. You need to come and talk to me.” “I’m a little too old to be changing careers,” Williams chuckles before adding, “but I’ll tell you this, I am extremely grateful to be able to impersonate men of God respectfully.” In fact, Williams has been in church his whole life. “I come from the Church of God in Christ tradition. My mother was a Sunday school teacher. There is no doubt that I am channeling Bishop Kendrill and Bishop Goodman and the preachers who where important in my life as a child and as a teenager. I steal things from them all the time.” But his biggest inspiration and training came from his mother. "My mother was an actress without a venue. She began teaching me the art of the spoken and written word by the time I was 2 or 3 and for me the exercise of that craft was in the church," Williams explains. "My mother gave me great gifts that I literally

earn my living with today." Williams admits that his decision to try his hand at acting professionally was more of an economic choice than anything else. At the time, he was a 20-year-old in St. Paul Minnesota singing lead and playing keyboards for Flyte Tyme—Terry Lewis' and Jimmy Jam's first musical venture—

“What I do in my life is far more important than who I pretend to be. I have children. I have students. I have a boat on a lake, so I

have a real life. That’s what keeps me going.

when he was offered a steady paycheck in return for his services as a member of one of the first repertory theaters in St. Paul. Without an ounce of formal training, save what his mother passed on to him, Williams continued with stage work for a few years before heading to Los Angeles where he landed small parts on television and voiceover work. His first big break in 1995 when he was cast in a recurring role as Detective Garner Ellerbee on Baywatch Nights and subsequently Baywatch. Roles in “The Sopranos”, “The West Wing”, “Army Wives”, “The Game”, “Necessary Roughness” and “Almost Christmas” would be among the over 145 acting credits he has amassed And acting isn’t Williams only talent. He’s a writer as well as evidenced in the release of his book “Heart of A Woman”, which he says gives him the opportunity to combine his skill and experience as a writer with his skill as an actor. “I love writing,” says the divorced father of five boys (the youngest of which is in high school) who once worked as a copywriter at -KJLH for three years and a journalist in the Marine Corps. “Creating that DNA is a wonderful pursuit and one of the things that has always amazed me is the kind of camaraderie and closeness that can exist between women.” When he’s not working, Williams spends time mentoring boys and teaching acting in the Atlantabased film studio he owns and operates. “It’s not what you take, it’s what you leave,” says Williams. “This is the legacy. We’ve got people there who’ve come to us almost directly from the penitentiary. We’ve got all kind people who actually work in this industry and we’ve been blessed to be a part of that. “I made some choices early in my career, so I’m not at the Denzel level, but I really didn’t get started into the television until my early thirties. I was in theatre a lot, and I worked radio, but I had some personal challenges that prevented me from building my career as a young actor. I’m grateful for the work I’m able to do now, but I’m more grateful to be part of the success of these young African-American actors.” “What I do in my life is far more important than who I pretend to be. I have children, I have students and I’ve got a boat up on lake, so I have a real life. That’s what keeps me going.”

L.A. Focus On The Word September 2017 Issue