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here was little surprise that Dr. Ben Carson and Omarosa Manigault would play key roles in Trump’s transition to the presidency, given their high profile roles in his getting elected. But who are the other Blacks who will likely rise to power or land positions in a Trump administration?

THROUGH THE STORM: Ben Tankard’s Full Tank Life






January 2017

L.A. Focus Publication

Left: Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas and actress/comedian Kym Whitley turn out to support A New Way of Life Gala & Awards with founder Susan Burton; Center: Rev. Jesse Jackson blows out the candles on his 75th birthday cake with Rep. Maxine Waters and Motown founder Berry Gordy; Right: NBA All-Star Baron Davis brought his Black Santa Company to Compton with (l-r) Shonee Jackson (YG’s mother), YG, Black Santa, Mayor Aja Brown and Baron Davis

Commentary Saying Goodbye Is Hard To Do

5 From The Editor 6 Head to Head 7 Headlines From Africa Feature Story 8

Trump Ushers In New Cadre of Black Power Brokers; California Gets Tough With New Slate of Laws for 2017; Obama Signs Upgraded Emmett Till Act Into Law

What’s Race Got To Do With It

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas Reflects on 25 Years of Empowerment & L.A.’s Successful Experience In Neighborhood Civic Engagement

10 Biz News Briefs Money Matters

How Much Will My Medicare Cost In 2017 Bounce TV Acquires Trumpet Awards: Black Lives Matter Launch Black Business Site

On The Money Shondaland Power

Inside Hollywood

Mary Jane Is Back; Big Honors For Denzel; The New Edition Story Review


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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.

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14 Calendar/Around LA Finding Your Pretty Red Carpet Style 25 Behind The Beauty 16 Eye On Gospel 17 Saving Grace 26 Church News 18 First Lady Files 19 20 Pastor Profile From The Pulpit 21 Through The Storm 23 22nd Annual Critics Choice Awards



With Drini Marie

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Jekalyn Carr;It’s Her Time-Cheryl Fortune;Gospel Lays to Rest a Great

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Pastor Sherman Gordon Appointed to Key Post Michael Fisher Announces His Engagement

Michelle Porter—Greater Ebenezer MBC

Pastor J. BenjaominHardwick—Praises of Zion \

Pastor DeNon Porter - Greater Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church

PARTING SHOT Winding down her time as First Lady, Michelle Obama was featured on the cover of Vogue’s December 2016 edition. Here’s one of many beautiful parting shots.

Ben Tanker: From The End of The Road To The Life of His Dreams

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 MBC 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.


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AREVA MARTIN Guest Columnist

“Saying Goodbye Is Hard To Do”


he holidays have always been a time of joy and happiness for me, but this year my spirits have been dampened a bit by the knowledge that an incredible time in history is coming to an end. It seems like just yesterday that we witnessed the beginning of a Black Camelot. We saw a young Barack Obama, his beautiful wife and children at his side, confidently striding in to Washington, eager to fulfill his campaign promise of hope and change. From day one, he faced nearly insurmountable odds in the form of an opposition party determined to block him every step of the way to make him a complete and utter failure. Undeterred, he simply rolled of his sleeves and went to work. And boy did he deliver. Over the course of eight years, we got to see a young, gifted black man lead and transform the country in remarkable ways that benefitted millions of Americans. Obama’s critics will always try to rewrite history, but we must never forget the trying circumstances under which he entered office—with an ailing financial sector, high unemployment rate and an economy teetering on the brink of collapse. Today, because of his policies, we are in far better shape. We have a booming stock market that’s approaching 20,000, strong GDP above 3%, and more than ten million new jobs. And because of Barack Obama, 20 million more people have healthcare. Barack didn’t shy away from controversy. He courageously addressed the elephant in the room—America’s long, nightmarish struggle with race. He spoke for all of black America when he expressed outrage and sadness at the tragic slaying of Trayvon Martin and when he eloquently delivered a passionate eulogy following the savage slayings of black church goers in South Carolina, reminding the country that racism and inequality were very much alive, and that our work to eradicate them was not over. But Obama didn’t just talk the talk, he walked the walk and followed through with action. His JumpStart our Business Start Up act made it easier for minority-owned business to gain access to capital. In 2014, he introduced My Brother’s Keeper, a program that aims to raise $200 million dollars through the private sector to improve the lives of young African American males. Michelle was not the President, but she redefined the term “boss lady,” emerging as a powerful speaker and advocate for progressive causes. She more than lived up to the role of First Lady by launching programs such as Let’s Move, an initiative aimed at

From the Editor

combatting childhood obesity. She was also the driving force behind “Reach Higher,” a program that encourages students across America to take charge of their futures by continuing their education past high school—either at a community college, four-year college or university, or through professional training. Michelle also let her feminist flag fly with programs such as “Let Girls Learn,” which aims to knock down obstacles that prevent young girls from attaining a quality education and achieving their dreams. Not only did Barack and Michelle do good work, but they did it with class and dignity—even while being subjected to vicious personal attacks. But not once did they stoop to the level of their angry, ranting and racist detractors. As Michelle famously said, “when they go low, we go high!” While the Obamas may have used the office of the presidency to change the world, the pressures of the outside world didn’t change them. The Obamas stayed true to their selves and true to their roots. They may have lived in the White House but they kept their black identity—whether it was Barack going falsetto to sing Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together, or Michelle dancing to Uptown Funk on Ellen. Without a doubt, the Obamas brought soul to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And through their sparkling example, the Obamas taught disadvantaged young people to reach for the stars—that anything is possible if you work hard enough and stay true to your convictions. The Obamas showed America what we rarely see on television or in the movies—a classy, highly educated black couple deeply in love. We got to see them gazing into each other eyes while dancing at the inaugural ball. Countless times in public we saw them hold hands and exchange tender touches of affection. We got to see them work as a team, as equals, he needing her as much as she needed him. And, most incredibly, we got to watch them raise two beautiful, intelligent daughters—all while living inside a Washington fishbowl. Saying goodbye to a person or thing that we love is always difficult, but we can take solace in the following words of wisdom: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” Areva Martin is an L.A.-based attorney, advocate, legal and social issues commentator and founder of the Special Needs Network.


Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due


paint. And if in the course doing what he did best, celebrity fell in his lap, it didn’t go to his head—at least, not outwardly. He preferred being accepted and respected for the accomplishments that had fostered it. When we first partnered together to incorporate L.A. Focus, he thought the paper should be distributed on the lawns of homes in Ladera Heights, so he took on the responsibility of distributing them. Getting up at the crack of dawn the next morning, he loaded two stacks of papers in his convertible Bentley and headed from his home in Hancock Park to Ladera Heights. Once there, he cruised down the street tossing a paper out of the Bentley onto the lawns. About ten minutes after he started, he threw a paper onto a lawn and a timed sprinkler system suddenly came on. He jumped out of the car to retrieve and reposition the now damp paper and proceeded onward to the next house. But when in the course of the next thirty minutes, sprinklers kept going on and the papers kept being damaged, he packed it all in and headed back to Hancock Park, deciding that he didn’t want L.A. Focus thrown on lawns after all. What he wanted most was to be a good Christian. "The most difficult part of it,” he once said, “is knowing that you live in the world, so I don't wake up everyday trying to be perfect. I sleep very well at night because I've beat myself up about being fair and about being a Christian. There are times I don't get over that hill, but there's no time I don't wake up trying." As we embark on a new year, we would all do well to understand that what we make of it is within our control once we find our purpose and setting goals. My good friend Ben Tankard (whose story is featured on page 23) read a study some years ago on graduating seniors who wrote out their goals. Said Ben, “Just 10% of them actually had written goals. Ten years later they interviewed the same people and the 10% that wrote out their goals earned an average of 500% more than the 90% who didn’t write down their goals. So my motto is people that don’t write their goals down end up working for people that do.” Keep the faith.

L.A. Focus/January 2017

This month, our nation celebrates the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King — a time of triumph for Blacks through the successes of the civil rights movement transforming America and the world and resulting in landmark legislation that would forever alter the course of this nation’s history and the lives of African Americans. In the decades since, Blacks have risen through the political ranks on every front, and in Los Angeles, there is no better model of that than Supervisor Mark RidleyThomas, probably the most powerful Black man in Los Angeles County. But the thing that stands out most about Mark Ridley-Thomas is his passion, His passion to even the playing field. His passion to empower and change the lives of those he serves. His passion to make a difference. And make it he has, from the new Martin Luther King Hospital to the Crenshaw/LAX light rail. So as he celebrates 25 years of service and the 25th anniversary of his Empowerment Congress, we felt it fitting to share his story beginning on page 10. And while giving credit where credit is due, BET will air The New Edition Story miniseries beginning on January 24. Check out Neily Dickerson’s review on page 13. In the three-part mini-series, singer Tank will portray Jheryl Busby, who was one of the co-founders of L.A. Focus. Busby died in 2008 but his contribution to this newspaper can never be forgotten. Fact is, there was much to be said about the work ethic of this man from humble beginnings in Watts who rose to become one of the most powerful blacks in the record industry back in the mid-80s when, as president of MCA Records black music division, he experienced an unprecedented streak of success on the Billboard charts with acts like New Edition, Patti LaBelle, Stephanie Mills, Bobby Brown, Pebble and Jody Watley. As a kid who grew up listening to Motown legends, Busby never dreamed he'd have taken over the helm of Motown’s leadership after Berry Gordy and more than quadruple its value, while helping to foster a new era of Motown legends with acts like Boyz II Men. Truth is, he just loved the work and the sense of pride he got in the accomplishment of his goals in doing whatever he did. And he always went the extra mile. When starting out in the record business in local promotions, Jheryl once painted a record store in order that it did justice to the posters and displays he put up, charging the owner nothing and the label he worked for, little more than the cost of the


UpFront Trump Ushers In New Cadre of Black Powerbrokers

Ken Blackwell

Ashley Bell

Kay Cole James


here was little surprise that Dr. Ben Carson and Omarosa Manigault would play key roles in Trump’s transition to the presidency, given their high profile roles in his getting elected. Omarosa served as his director of African-American outreach during his campaign was appointed to the executive committee of Trump’s transition team last month. Carson, who became one of Trump’s most ardent supporters after withdrawing his bid for the presidency, was named Vice Chairman of Trump’s transition team and last month was nominated to the position of Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) But who are the other Blacks who will likely rise to power or land positions in a Trump administration? Fact is, nearly two dozen Blacks have been tapped to assist Donald Trump’s transition team and will more than likely be part of the new cadre of power players in Washington with the inauguration of Donald Trump, though thus far white males have dominated Trump’s top cabinet posts. So just who are those Blacks? High on that list is Ken Blackwell, who was named Trump’s domestic policy transition director. The former Ohio Secretary of State and Cincinnati Mayor is a fiscal and social conservative who it is said to be helping to map out the Trump administration’s national agenda overseeing a team that will develop plans for the Departments of Transportation, Education, Health and Human Services

Bruce LeVell

Katrina Pierson

as well as the Environmental Protection Agency. A national bestselling author of three books— Rebuilding America: A Prescription For Creating Strong Families; The Blueprint: Obama’s Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency; and Resurgent: How Constitutional Conservatism Can Save America—Blackwell served as the Senior Fellow for Human Rights and Constitutional Governance at the Family Research Council Other blacks likely to turn up in Trumps Administration include: •Ashley Bell, a power broker in GOP circles and one of the founders of the 20/20 Leaders of America, a bipartisan group of Black elected officials dedicated to improving and reforming the criminaljustice system, was hired by the Republican National Committee as senior strategist and national director of African-American engagement. •Kay Cole James, who served as the director for the United States Office of Personnel Management from 2001 to 2005 under George W. Bush is on the Trump management and budget transition team. •Paris Dennard: a GOP political commentator and consultant, who worked in The White House under President George W. Bush from 2005-2009 in the offices of Political Affairs, Legislative Affairs and Public Liaison, and as the White House Director of Black Outreach. •Bruce LeVell, Co-founder and Executive Director of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump, LeVell’s

L.A. Focus/January 2017



Driving and Electronic Wireless Devices: Driving a motor vehicle while holding and using a handheld wireless telephone or a wireless electronic communications device will be prohibited, unless the device is mounted on a vehicle’s windshield or is mounted/affixed to a vehicle’s dashboard or center console in a way that does not hinder the driver’s view of the road. The driver’s hand may only be used to activate or deactivate a feature or function on the device with the motion of a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger, but not while holding it. The law does not apply to manufacturer-installed systems. Child Safety Seats: This law requires a parent, legal guardian, or the driver of a motor vehicle to properly secure a child who is younger than 2 years of age in an appropriate rear-facing child passenger restraint system, unless the child weighs 40 or more pounds or is 40 or more inches in height (3 feet, 3 inches). Epi-pens: More places will be able to treat allergy attacks by having epinephrine auto-injectors on hand, which allows pharmacies to dispense the devices to colleges, private businesses and other venues that have a plan in place for using Epi-Pens. Rape and Sexual Assault Cases: After public outrage over the lenient sentencing of former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner, Governor Jerry Brown signed


Shannon Reeves

Staff Writer

Elroy Sailor

name has surfaced as a possible choice for chief of the Small Business Administration. The Georgia-based jewelry store owner is the former chair of the Gwinnett County GOP and a board director for the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority. •Lynne Patton, a member of the Donald Trump circle since 2009, she serves as vice president of the Eric Trump Foundation and as a senior assistant to Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump. •Katrina Pierson, a Tea Party activist and communications consultant served as national spokesperson for Donald Trump presidential campaign and serves as a senior adviser on the Trump Transition team. •Shannon Reeves, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Alabama A & M University, will advise the RNC on statistical data analysis and AfricanAmerican voter identification for the Party. He is a prolific fundraiser, civic leader and grassroots organizer who formerly served as National Director of State and Local Development for the RNC. Previously, he was elected Secretary of the California Republican Party, as well as President and Executive Director of the Oakland, California chapter of the NAACP. •Gerard Robinson, a resident fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute who served as Florida education commissioner is one of the people Trump tapped to head up his education Obamacare continued to page 26

California Gets Tough With New Slate of Laws for 2017 ith the dropping of the ball in Times Square, the New Year rings in a new slate of laws and this year California is cracking down on everything from assault weapons and racial inequities in the workplace to child (and even dog) safety, background checks on Uber and Lyft drivers and those convicted of sexual assault. Don’t even think about touching that cell phone in the car. The good news is those of you who were making $10 an hour at companies with more than 26 employees will see your wage increase to $10.50. Here are just some of the laws that will be on the books—and enforceable—as of January 1. Wage Differential: The law that prevents an employer from paying any of its employees at wage rates less than rates paid to employees of the opposite sex for substantially similar work is now expanded to include wage differences based on an employee’s race or ethnicity for substantially similar work. Assault Weapons: California bars purchasing, semi-automatic, centerfire rifles or semi-automatic pistols that lack a fixed magazine and have one of a number of features that include a protruding pistol grip or a folding or telescoping stock. If you already own one, you’ll need to register it with the California Department of Justice.

News Briefs


into law a pair of bills that would both expand the definition of "rape" as well as enforce mandatory jail time to those convicted of sexual assault. Assembly Bill 2888 prohibits judges from sentencing convicted offenders with probation after they sexually assault someone who is unconscious or intoxicated, while AB 701 expands the legal definition of rape to include nonconsensual sexual assault. California law originally only defined rape as "an act of sexual intercourse." Right to Rescue Pets: California’s Good Samaritan Law protects citizens from civil liability for actions taken reasonably and in good faith to remove an animal from a vehicle under the circumstances where in animal is in danger. Digital Assets in Death: Assembly Bill 691 authorizes and provides guidelines for a deceased individual’s personal representative to access and manage their digital assets and electronic communications. “In a digital world, much of our most valuable information is stored online,” stated Majority Leader Calderon. “Whether it’s via social media or email, the digital assets we “own” are today’s version of the photo albums, videos and hand-written journals of yesterday. The new method of storing information digitally has also raised questions about how we treat our personal information after we die.”

The King Legacy: How the Southland Is Celebrating It's been nearly 50 years since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. died on April 4, 1968, but his legacy lives on annually the third Monday in January, and from museum events to parades, there is no shortage of ways to remember the civil rights hero. The southland’s flagship celebration is the 32nd Annual Kingdom Day Parade, the largest parade in the country celebrating Dr. King. This year’s theme is "Now More Than Ever, We All Must Work Together". The parade route starts at 11:00 a.m. along Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. and Western. The Martin Luther King Jr. Festival at Leimert Park Village will run from 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. and feature food trucks, musical performances, veteran and employment services as well as counseling on health and wellness issues. Other events include the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Breakfast and Celebration in Pasadena; the Zimmer Children’s Museum’s “Dreaming Our Way to a Better World”; the City of Long Beach’s Martin Luther King Peace & Unity Parade Celebration and festival; the California African American Museum’s Annual “Cake For King” Celebration. Capping off the day’s events is SCLC’s Annual King Legacy Awards & Benefit Gala. King Day is also known as a day of service and L.A. Works provides an opportunity for more than a thousand community and corporate volunteers to give back with their annual Day of Service otherwise known as “A day on, not a day off” to help cleanup and beautify the Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area. Call (323) 224-6510 for more information.

Obama Signs Upgraded Emmett Till Act Into Law A bill named in honor of Emmett Till, the 14-year old Black teen whose lynching in 1955 sparked public backlash across the nation, has been signed into law by President Barack Obama. The Emmett Till Act will make it possible for civil rights cold cases that took place prior to 1970 to be reopened, investigated and prosecuted. The legislation was originally passed into law in 2008. The upgraded version signed by Obama last month eliminates the restrictions on cases that occurred prior to 1970 and will allow ongoing investigations conducted by the FBI surrounding civil rights cases. Under the revised bill, groups would receive funding to help solve civil rights cases. Those responsible for the lynching of Till were set free by an all-white jury even after publicly admitting they killed him. The 14year old Chicago native was visiting relatives in Mississippi when he spoke to a 21-year old, married white woman, who would later allege that he flirted with her. Nights later the woman’s husband and brother abducted the teen from Till’s great uncle’s house. They beat beat, mutilated, and shot him, then threw his body in the River.

What’s Race Got To Do With It?


Donald Trump once called the In an interview with Roll Trump's Victory: Rev. Al Sharpton "a con man," Call, Rangel said, "Hard meaning that Sharpton plays Even Charlie 'Race workers, for a variety of Card' Rangel the race card less out of sincerity reasons, have seen economDoesn't Blame and more as a method to make ic and social advancement 'Whitelash' demands and extract concessions. ceilings put on their ambiBut has there ever been a bigger legisla- tions." He continued: "The old thing, if you tive con man than the soon-to-be-retired work hard in this country, you can get Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., currently the ahead. Well, the misconduct of Wall Street, second-longest serving member of the the recession, globalization, inventions, sciHouse. His glossary of race baiting is ence, technology, have really put a damper exhaustive. Just a few examples: on middle-class peoIn criticizing the Republican-run house, ple to advance as rapRangel said, "It's not 'spic' or 'n-----' any- idly as they have in more. (Instead) they say, 'Let's cut taxes.'" the past." In accusing the then-President of Rangel added: "It's racism, Rangel said "George (W.) Bush is the middle class that our Bull Connor" (referring to the racist the jobs come from. If Southern lawman who sicced dogs and people don't have disturned water hoses on civil rights posable income, if marchers). they're not able to In accusing the Republican Party in purchase the basics, if Larry Elder general of racism, Rangel said, "Everything small businesses can't hire people, then you we believe in, everything we believe in, have a problem. And we did have a problem (Republicans) hate. They don't disagree -- during the election, and we still have it." they hate. ... Some of them believe that What?! Even "race card" Rangel sized slavery isn't over and that they won the up his party's election loss as one in which Civil War." the middle class felt economically beleaOn the tea party, Rangel said: "(Obama) guered? He didn't say "whitelash," as really thought—and maybe it was the CNN's Van Jones did. He didn't blame it on water they drink at Harvard -- that he adverse reactions to "a black president" as could deal with the tea party. They are Jones did. He didn't rant about how Trump mean, racist people. Now why do I say pitched his message as an attaboy to redthat? Because in those red states, they're necks, Klansmen and the Aryan the same slaveholding states—they had the Brotherhood. Confederate flag. They became Years ago, Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., Dixiecrats—they had the Confederate flag. invited me for lunch in the House cafeteria They're now the tea party." at the U.S. Capitol. Shortly after we sat And: "(The tea party) is the same group down, Rangel, with his trademark flashy we faced in the South with those white pocket square, came in. Dreier leaped up crackers and the dogs and the police. They and walked over to him, and the two greetdidn't care about how they looked. It was ed each other like fraternity brothers who just fierce indifference to human life that had taken a blood oath. caused America to say enough is enough. 'I I asked Dreier to explain the affection, don't want to see it and I am not a part of given the race-card rhetoric Rangel uses it.' What the hell?! If you have to bomb lit- against Republicans. I gave examples. tle kids and send dogs out against human Dreier rolled his eyes and said: "Oh, that's beings, give me a break." just Charlie being Charlie. Nobody takes ‪‪‪ Yet as the clock winds down on his that stuff seriously." "Yeah," I said, career, Rangel is free—free to tell the truth "nobody except the voters in his district." about "race." Rangel, in assessing why As to Clinton vs. Trump, Rangel, at one Hillary Clinton lost the race to Donald time, would have whipped out the race card Trump, rejects the analysis advanced by and, with a straight face, shouted, "White the losing Clinton camp. At the Harvard supremacy!" He would have pounced on post-election symposium, top Clinton aides Trump's comment that Mexicans are accused Trump campaign manager "rapists"; that he called an Indiana-born Kellyanne Conway of blatantly courting federal judge of Mexican descent "a America's white racists. But Rangel argues Mexican"; that Trump allegedly "mocked" a that root cause is middle-class economic handicapped reporter; and on and on. No anxiety.‪‪‪ matter that such a characterization of His takeaway? It's the economy, stupid. Elder continued to page 22

Headlines From Africa Botswana: Efforts to shed its tax haven label prove fruitless as the nation continues to be blacklisted as an uncooperative tax jurisdiction, excluded from the international business community. Burundi: Burundi's parliament has passed a law imposing strict controls on international non-governmental organizations after President Pierre Nkurunziza accused such groups of backing an insurrection against him. The law will force international charities and rights groups to keep their accounts in foreign currency at the central bank, with a third of their annual budget to be placed there before the government agrees to cooperate with them. Cameroon: Thousands of teachers and lawyers in English-speaking regions of Cameroon strike because of government attempts to marginalize them by imposing the French language in schools and courts. The roughly five million Cameroonians who speak English say their language and culture have been stifled for decades, adding that official documents are often published in French.

Congo: The U.S. and European Union announced sanctions against nine Congolese officials accused of playing a role in the violent repression of recent years in the hopes of deterring further abuses and prompting President Kabila’s governing coalition to reach a deal with opponents that will pave the way for elections to take place as soon as possible. The sanctions include travel restrictions and asset freezes. Djibouti: Saudi plans to open a military base have raised concerns among Egyptian officials, as strained relations between Egypt and Saudi Arabia show little sign of improving. Ethiopia: Ethiopian authorities disclosed the release of some 9,800 people detained under six- month state of emergency during which anti-government protests were banned and restrictions placed on movement and on the use of social media and some conventional media. Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said the government was undergoing a period of self-exam-


A look at current news from the continent of Africa ination following the crisis. Ghana: In a surprise upset for incumbent President John Dramani Mahama, voters turned out strongly for opposition candidate Nana Akufo-Addo, who earned 54% of the vote and whose campaign for the presidency gave hope to thousands of jobless Ghanaians. Kenya: Community leaders are breaking promises made just months ago to end the practice with public ceremonies celebrating female genital mutilation (FGM) going unchallenged by authorities in some areas of Kenya. Over the past month hundreds of girls have undergone FGM, while some witnessed groups of men (some armed) going door-to-door harassing the families of uncircumcised girls. Mali: Malian and European Union officials signed a deal to expedite the return of migrants to the North African nation. Upwards of 10,000 Malian migrants have illegally entered Europe since 2015. The deal includes projects focused on cutting the tide of irregular migration from Mali and the creation of jobs for young Malians. Rwanda: New technologies make Rwanda a frontrunner in enhancing regional trade. The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report placed Rwanda at position 56 globally, making it the most attractive East African country to foreign investors. Sierra Leone: A recent string of high-profile murders have raised serious questions about the ability of the Koroma government in running the country, as well as the capacity of the police in maintaining law and order in the capital Freetown. Somalia: Somalia has decided to delay its presidential election for a fourth time amid allegations of fraud and intimidation and al-Shabab Islamic extremists opposed to Western-style democracy. Uganda: Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has advised his South Sudanese counterpart, Salva Kiir to ensure early elections are held to give power to people in the war-torn nation. Aid workers say half-a-million refugees from volatile South Sudan continue to fill sprawling camps in northwestern Uganda.

L.A. Focus/January 2017

Chad: Eight million in Africa's Lake Chad basin face starvation and alarming rates of child malnutrition in a crisis aid agencies say has been overlooked. The root of the problem is a disappearing Lake Chad—the region’s biggest source of food, which has shrunk to a fraction of its size due to a variety of reasons including climate changes.

When Donald Trump accessing the resources it prolaunched his presidential The Black Middle vides. Class Is About to campaign with a racist This all-white-everyGet Trumped tirade against Mexicans, he thing approach to economic began the short process of renormalizing sustainability may have been fine (it wasthe racist sentiments that white people n’t) when we had a government conhad been taught to hide since integration strained by things like anti-discrimination started 60 years ago. He literally made it laws and notions of superficial fairness. cool for white America to be openly racist But that was before a candidate who was again: In just over a year, his campaign fully endorsed by white nationalist groups and election have drastically undermined won the election and created a direct line more than five of communication between white decades of integrated supremacists and the White House. racial “progress.” Now, because of the renewed surge of Now, as Trump openly hostile racism stoked by Trump’s fills key administra- campaign, this economic model means tion positions with that the black community will be one of white nationalist- the least prepared for what will come next. sympathizing power Before Trump’s campaign, racism at brokers like Steve work typically showed up as microaggresBannon as chief sions: the “commonplace daily indignities, Lurie Daniel strategist and Jeff whether intentional or unintentional, that Favors Sessions for attorney communicate racial slights and insults general, it is clear that the black middle toward people of color.” class is in for a very harsh, rude awakenIt’s not that white people ever stopped ing. Because everything we’ve been taught being racist, but a delicate web of political about “success” in this society and nearly correctness, the fear of being called a every avenue we’ve used to achieve that “racist” (which many hate more than actusuccess are now threatened by the same al racism) and a legal system that explicit racism that Trump rode into the espoused a commitment to multiculturalWhite House. ism helped to keep those public displays of Making white people feel comfortable racism down to a level that most black has always played a role in our survival. people could tolerate. During segregation, keeping white discomIn order for this system to work, howevfort at bay meant avoiding or minimizing er, black professionals had to play their the racial violence of angry white mobs. part. Gaining access to white spaces and But when integration began, black eco- resources required us to leave our blacknomic success began to be measured by ness at home when we went to work, how well we could integrate into white attended work functions or otherwise society, which meant that making white interacted with white people. Each day, people comfortable was now one of the we put on “the mask”: the face we show most viable paths to black economic sus- white co-workers to prove we’re not angry, tainability. That was a mistake. aggressive or any other word used to We see this phenomenon earliest in describe an emotional black person who schools. Black students who excel at mak- makes white people uncomfortable. ing white teachers comfortable tend to be But none of that will matter in a Trump the students who can show their intelli- era because the president-elect’s campaign gence in ways that white people can easily has empowered the white community to recognize. It doesn’t mean that they actu- finally be honest about how they really ally are any smarter than the other black feel when it comes to race. If Jeff Sessions students, but that their teachers (80 per- is confirmed as attorney general, his racist cent of whom are white women) just feel ideology will be in charge of the Justice they are different (i.e., less threatening) Department’s Civil Rights Division. A from the rest. These students get access to Trump-era EEOC will be in charge of evalgifted-and-talented classes and opportuni- uating claims of workplace discrimination. ties reserved for “special” black children This means the legal framework that who show “promise.” This system repli- helps to keep workplace racism in check cates itself throughout higher education will vanish. and the workforce. Once civil rights protections at work As a result, our entire economic-success fall, there will be no safety net wide model relies on centering whiteness and Daniel Favors continued to page 22




t’s hard to believe that Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas had no plans of being in public office given the ease with which he has traversed L.A. County’s political and civic intersections, engaging and impacting the approximately 2 million residents he has represented since he was elected supervisor of the Second District in 2008, and in the process becoming the most powerful black elected official in the Southland. “His success is driven by his understanding of the intersection between political power and societal change,” observes Kerman Maddox, CEO of Dakota Communications, one of the city’s foremost public policy consulting firms. “You can't make real change in people's lives unless powerful institutions believe you have power. Nobody conveys real or perceived power to improve their community better than Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas and over the past twenty-five years nobody has been more effective at solving major, big picture policy issues or problems that affect real people. Whether it's Martin Luther King Hospital, the Crenshaw Light Rail Line or the fight to reduce homelessness [Supervisor] Mark Ridley Thomas has successfully fought to improve people's lives.” Yet, while the 62-year-old politician has distinguished himself as a fierce advocate, he realized long ago that his biggest strength has come from engaging the community. “Elected officials can do a lot,” he said, “they cannot do everything, but they can do a whole lot more than they tell you that they can do. That’s one of the principles of the Empowerment Congress.” For the past 24 years, the Empowerment Congress—considered Los Angeles County’s most successful experiment in neighborhoodbased civic engagement—has brought focus on prominent community issues that align with various policy areas. The program of community partners was founded by RidleyThomas in the aftermath of the beating of Rodney King, and the wave of destruction that swept through the city after the L.A. police officers responsible were acquitted. It was later formalized into the Empowerment Congress, with the motto Educate, Engage, Empower and will celebrate its 25th year on January 14, 2017. “I do not like elected officials who complain about what they cannot do, and that’s one of the principles of the Empowerment Congress,” said Ridley-Thomas. “I believe that if you expect the

Contributor best, you get the best most of the time. “There’s no substitute for hard work. All these things that I have described” continued Ridley-Thomas, “each of them has required a lot of work and attention. “And that is why I try to stay true to my discipline. I try to think of the issues in terms of a moral agency. I’m committed to supporting people.” Attorney and frequent CNN guest commentator Areva Martin is just one of those people. “What I find most impressive is his commitment to indigenous leadership. First time I met him and his team, I expressed to him my concern about the support that the African American and Latino autism communities was receiving and the fact that I go to the Valley and I see a tremendous amount of support from elected officials, be it the federal level, the state and the local level. I didn’t see that amount of support happening in South Los Angeles.” He had just been elected to the Supervisor’s seat—and within months I was meeting with his office and we talked about the need not just to bring resources into the South LA community but also to promote and grow a cadre of grassroots leaders that could go out and be advocates around the broader issue of disability rights. The most impressive thing for me is he didn’t just say it, there was actual action, planning, follow up and follow through behind it because it’s very easy once a person gets into power is to lose touch with their constituents and not deliver. But he is accountable to his constituents and I believe the Empowerment Congress is his way staying accountable. In Ridley-Thomas’s view, understanding the enormous impact public policy has on community’s remains paramount. He said because it often translates into jobs, housing, and health care. The responsibility underscored Ridley-Thomas for leading these efforts means it is critical that people in government have a sense of fairness because it has much to do with decision-making. He once scolded a white colleague during a city council meeting for calling him “curly”—a racially charged epithet. The then newly elected Councilman Ridley-Thomas shifted in his seat, and responded loudly: "My name is Mark Ridley-Thomas . . . and what you said just now has very serious implications.



Left: Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas being interviewed by KABC’s Marc Brown; Center: Avis Ridley-Thomas; Right: Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas with Former Mayor Richard Riordan

going to help that university get that work done because it is important. “It means good paying jobs, training young people up and down the ladder,” he said.” And so the smart way to do things is to leverage our asset, not just intellectual property but real estate, too. We can make something significant happen.” Last year, city officials welcomed the return of NFL football back to L.A. with the start of construction on a new 80,000-seat stadium complex. Ridley-Thomas noted that negotiating with the National Football League wasn’t an easy task. NFL owners changed their mind every other day about what they want to change their mind about he said. “I have to tell you that there has been no project that I have worked on that was much harder than negotiating with the national football league,” Ridley-Thomas reiterated. “But for me, it was about economic development, not about sports— a renaissance for the community.” He predicted over a thousand minimum wage jobs and union jobs coming to the region. Reflecting back on his illustrious career, RidleyThomas is fond of the decade he spent as executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which he says, provided a tremendous learning opportunity. “I’m deeply indebted to the board and the staff of SCLC of Greater Los Angeles for affording a 26-year-old young man an opportunity to step forward and provide leadership to learn to be a steward and advance the social good through non-violent actions,” he said. It was there that the Manual Arts High S c h o o l graduate first began to develop police-community partnerships and promote citizen engagement in restorative justice to enhance mutual understanding and shared

responsibility. “Police departments in the 21st century cannot do its work well without an independent surveillance body and the county of L.A. is about to step into the 21st century with a civilian oversight body,” Ridley-Thomas said. “It is ironic that we find ourselves now in more policecommunity conflict centered around the lethal use of force.” He believes a great amount of work and effort in improving community-police relations is essential partly because such efforts serve as an important dynamic in the community, as does the way technology is dramatically revolutionizing our society and how people—particularly the young adults—think and communicate. Evoking the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, ‘We ought to never let our technology gets too far in front of our theology,’ Ridley-Thomas says, “He was essentially trying to say to us that values matter and capacity has to be informed by our values and not the other way around. “Those are some of the challenges that have been of critical importance to me.” With the exception, that is, of family for the happily married father of two who recently welcomed his first grandson, Duke. “I am very grateful to an extraordinary grandmother,” he said of the woman he credits with helping him to become the man he is today. “My grandmother who was alive when I took this office, said to me, ‘the task you’ve once begun, never leave it until it's done. Be it either great or small, do it well or not at all.’” Ridley-Thomas noted he’d learned that family matters in a significant way. That is his first duty and obligation,” he pointedly added were loved ones, saving the greatest praise for his wife. “I just want to thank her for her ideas, for leaving me alone when it needs to be the case, and for making it to 37 years of marriage.” Accomplishments aside, RidleyThomas only wishes to do more. “I wish that I had more energy so that I can work harder and doubt our work is ever done. Therefore, our investment must be in those who can and will carried it forward and hopefully they will build on the foundation and make change happen in new and exciting ways.” “I believe his legacy is going to speak volumes,” Martin said. “When you look around South L.A., you see so many people leading non-profit organizations, in elected office, and in leadership positions in this county—in this city—and it’s all because of some role he’s played in helping to promote, encourage, support their leadership. And because of his commitment to building leadership and leaving something behind, once he’s out of office, what we’re going to be able to see in South Los Angeles are organizations and businesses that are thriving because he invested in them and he caused others to invest in them.”

L.A. Focus/January 2017

"Don't ever say that again," he exclaimed. Ridley-Thomas, who began his career in politics in 1991 has maintained a consistent message throughout his more than two decades of elected public service: tackle the underlying issues affecting marginalized communities. His other notable accomplishments include serving on the L.A City Council for nearly a dozen years, and departing as Council President Pro-Tempore. He later served two terms in the California State Assembly, where he chaired the Assembly Democratic Caucus. His legislative work addressed a broad range of issues with implications for economic and workforce development, health care, public safety, education, budget accountability, consumer protection and civic participation. “I think it's important in a variety of ways for people to serve. [But] not just as an office holder. There are other ways in which people can contribute in the nonprofit sector,” Ridley-Thomas said. “Empowerment is the theme that let's people know that they can make positive change through personal and collective action and it has worked well for us for 25 years--a full quarter of a century,” Ridley-Thomas said. “The very concept of being empowered inspires individuals to do more than they may have thought they could. Coupled with education and engagement, empowerment helps us take it to another level.” To his hard-core supporters, Ridley-Thomas can bring disparate forces together for the betterment of one of the L.A.’s toughest, most ungovernable counties, leaving his critics with little more than perks—like his use of the county’s vehicle resources— to raise as issues. “There comes a time when you can push, and you have to be standing in the gap,” explained RidleyThomas, “so that you can do what needs to be done with your whole armor of guard because your detractors and haters will show up. And so, I’m grateful that I’ve just been able to stand.” The supervisor was a driving force in getting the Crenshaw-LAX Transit line upgraded from a bus line to a rail line—an accomplishment pundits acknowledged would lead to having the greatest potential economic impact in the history of the black community. Through his leadership, collaboration and fueled by his dogged determination, Ridley-Thomas played a critical role in erecting a new, modern medical facility for the more than 1 million residents of South L.A.—including Compton, Inglewood, and Lynwood—considered some of the most medically underserved areas of the U.S. Working with the board, Ridley-Thomas promised to bring a quality facility to the community when King/Drew hospital closed its doors nearly a decade ago. “[L.A.] County can do a lot and then some,” a confident Ridley-Thomas declared. “That’s why you have the Martin Luther King community hospital now. “I refused to accept that they couldn’t build that hospital.” Ridley-Thomas also said he was excited about what he called phase two, a new bio-medical research institute, located on the Harbor-UCLA campus, expected to open in 2017. “There is a consortium that can blow the biomedical research out of the park,” said Ridley-Thomas. “It simply needs to be unleashed, and I’m determined that I am


MoneyMatters How Much Will My Medicare Cost In 2017? Not long ago, I had dinner with a group of friends from college. One of the big topics of conversation was Medicare, for which we’ll all be eligible in the next several years. And one of the biggest questions about Medicare was, “How much is it going to cost me?” Like private health insurance, Medicare has premiums, deductibles, and co-pays. These costs can – and often do – change from year to year. What you actually pay depends on your work history, income, and inflation. Only about one percent of people with Medicare pay a monthly premium for Medicare Part A, which covers inpatient hospitalization, skilled nursing care, and some home health services. That’s because they paid Medicare paycheck deductions for 40 quarters or longer during their working lives. Most people do, however, pay a monthly premium for Medicare Part B, which covers doctor fees, outpatient treatment, durable medical equipment, and other items. Part B premiums are rising for next year, but for most people, the increase won’t be very much. The law protects most seniors from Part B premium hikes if the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in their Social Security benefit doesn’t go up in a given year. Since the Social Security COLA for 2017 will be 0.3 percent, about 70 percent of Medicare beneficiaries will pay an average Part B premium of $109 per month in 2017. That’s up from $104.90 for the past four years. The remaining 30% of Medicare’s 58 million beneficiaries will pay the standard Part B premium of $134 for 2017, a 10% increase over the 2016 premium of $121.80. This smaller group is not protected under the statutory “hold harmless” provision linked to the Social Security COLA. It includes people who don’t receive Social Security benefits; enroll in Part B for the first time in 2017; are directly billed for their Part B premium; are eligible for


both Medicare and Medicaid and have their premiums paid by a state agency; and pay higher premiums based on their higher incomes. This year, as in the past, the government has worked to lessen projected increases for them, while maintaining a prudent level of reserves to protect against unexpected costs. The Department of Health and Human Services will work with Congress to explores budget-neutral solutions to challenges created by the “hold harmless” provision. Part B also has an annual deductible, which will rise to $183 (compared with $166 in 2016). After your deductible is met, you typically pay 20 percent of the Medicareapproved amount for most doctor services (including most doctor services while you're a hospital inpatient), outpatient therapy, and durable medical equipment. The Part A deductible, which you pay when admitted to the hospital, will be $1,316 per benefit period in 2017, up from $1,288 in 2016. This covers your share of costs for the first 60 days of Medicarecovered inpatient hospital care in a benefit period. People with Medicare pay coinsurance of $329 per day for the 61st through 90th day of hospitalization ($322 in 2016) in a benefit period, and $658 per day for lifetime reserve days ($644 in in 2016). For beneficiaries in skilled nursing facilities, the coinsurance for days 21 through 100 in a benefit period will be $164.50 in 2017 (versus $161 in 2016). Since 2007, higher-income people with Medicare have paid higher Part B premiums. These income-indexed rates affect about five percent of people with Medicare. So, for example, a person with Medicare who files an individual tax return showing an income between $85,000 and $107,000 Money Matters continued to page 26

On the Money Shondaland Power Shonda Rhimes sure knows how to make the best of a good thing. The 46-year-old TV mogul’s Shondaland empire just got a little larger while teaming up with Archipelago Botanicals for the launch of a six-piece collection of candles that pay homage to her TV hits (Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy) as well as her book, The Year of Yes. Available in variety of scents, the candles retail for $45 each. Rhimes, who is worth a reported $120 million, also said yes to a master class online that would give aspiring writers her secrets for just $90. Just two of her four TV properties— Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy— account for about 5% of ABC’s total ad revenue at upwards of $300 million a season. Fact is, together with her other shows—How To Get Away With Murder and The Catch—Rhimes dominates the 18-49 prime time female demographic. The Chicago native is also generous with cast members. Grey’s Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo earns a reported $350k per episode. Chandra Wilson takes home $125K per episode as does James Pickens. Scandal star Kerry Washington reportedly rakes in $150K per episode.

Biz NewsBriefs Bounce TV Acquires Trumpet Awards

Bounce TV has acquired all assets of The Trumpet Awards, the prestigious annual event celebrating African-American achievements and contributions, in an agreement with The Trumpet Awards Foundation announced last month. Bounce TV, the fastestgrowing African-American network on television, will now own, produce and world premiere the starstudded event annually, syndicating it to television stations around the country and internationally.

Black Lives Matter Launches Black Business Site

Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors has announced that the organization is teaming with advertising giant J. Walter Thompson to list every business in the nation owned by blacks by category and zip code. The google-powered Backing Black Business site wants to make it easier for African Americans to identify blackowned businesses to patronize. “Black-owned business have long been a staple in the Black community providing jobs, economic security and somewhere for us to go and feel seen and safe,” Cullors stated.

TV Academy Gets First Black CEO

Hayma “Screech” Washington has been elected as chairman and CEO of The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, also known as the Television Academy. The former Walt Disney Co. executive—who won seven Emmys as an executive producer for “The Amazing Race”—is the first African-American to hold the position of CEO in the organization’s 70 years of existence.

Tuesday (January TBD) 6:30-9:00pm Upcoming EVEnts: creating Your 2017 Business social media calendar Wed., January 11, 6:30pm - 8:30pm Business plan in a Day Sat., January 14, 9:00am - 3:30pm End of the Year tax seminar Thurs., January 19, 6:30pm – 8:30pm

L.A. Focus/January 2017

Upcoming EntrEprEnEUrial training programs level i: intro to Entrepreneurship 4 weeks (Saturdays 9:30am-12:30pm) January 7 – 28, February 4 –25 & March 4 – 25 level ii: Business plan Writing Workshops 8 Weeks Thurs, January 5, 9:30am-12:30pm Sat., January 14, 9:30am-12:30pm

Set to celebrate its 25th Anniversary, The Trumpet Awards will world premiere on Bounce TV on Sunday, Jan. 29 at 9:00 p.m. The black-tie ceremony will be held in Atlanta on January 21. Xernona Clayton, Founder and Executive Producer of the Trumpet Awards, will become Chairman Emeritus and continue to play an active role in the event as President/CEO of the Trumpet Awards Foundation. “After 25 years, I felt it was a good time to find a strategic partner to take The Trumpet Awards into the future,” Clayton said. “Bounce TV is the ideal custodian to continue to enhance the level of excellence that is our standard.” Originally presented by Turner Broadcasting in 1993, The Trumpet Awards were created to herald the accomplishments of Black Americans who have succeeded against immense odds. The event has been televised annually and distributed internationally to over 185 countries around the world.


INSIDE HO L LY W OOD with Neily Dickerson "Sunny days everybody loves them, but can you stand the rain?” These are lyrics made famous by New Edition referring to a romantic relationship. But January 24th - 26th, the BET Network television event The New Edition Story will help fans see how these lyrics are appropriate and applicable in the relationship between New Edition band members Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky, Mike, Ralph, and Johnny. I had an opportunity to screen the premiere episode of the film (thank you Luis and Keith), and I loved it!

From the first scene I was drawn in and set to watch this special 3-day series. Director Chris Robinson brings the story of one of R&B’s top male groups to life and from the first beat gives us an inside look at the group to whom we have felt personally connected. The New Edition all-star cast includes Bryshere Y. Gray, Elijah Kelley, Luke James, Keith Powers, Algee Smith, Woody McClain, Dante Hoagland, Caleb McLaughlin, Jahi Winston, Myles Tr u i t t

and Tyler Williams as New Edition. La La Anthony, Yvette Nicole Brown, Monica Calhoun, Lisa Nicole Carson, and Sandi McCree play the mothers of the group while Wood Harris, Michael Rapaport, Faizon Love, Duane Martin, Tank, and Bre-Z portray the men who gave the group industry direction. Each character giving us special moments that we’ve experienced in films like, "The Color Purple," "What’s Love Got To Do With It?" and "The Five Heartbeats.” It became clear that that the actors took their performances personal and knew they were on the verge of making an instant classic that would be appreciated for years to come. As the New Edition cast members evolved from boys to men they morph into the group that delivered hit after hit while going through the hard knocks of the music industry, and triumphing. Be sure to set every device you own to remind you to watch BET’s The New Edition Story.


Sleepless January 13

XXX: Return of Xander January 20

Mary Jane Is Back


When actress Gabrielle Union filed a lawsuit against BET in October, there was much speculation as to whether or not BET’s signature drama would survive. Union maintained that producers of the show had broken their contractual obligations when they failed to provide a break between the fourth and fifth season after the network decided to instead shoot backto-back thus cutting costs. The actress sought $3 million in damages and the stipulation that there would not be any more than 13 episodes per season. But all is now apparently well as BET Networks has announced that all parties have come to an amicable agreement (no one is talking terms) and the new season of Being Mary Jane begins on January 10.

Big Honors for Denzel

Could a third Oscar be in the works for Denzel Washington? Well, if the raves he’s receiving for his work in the screen adaptation of August Wilson’s “Fences” is any indication, the force may be with him. Already Washington has raked up Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe Awards and not just for his acting but for his directing. And if that wasn’t exciting enough, the American Society Of Cinematographers announced that the actor will receive one of its highest honors, the Board Of Governors

100 Streets January 20

Award. Past winners include Harrison Ford, Barbra Streisand, Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese.

The Biggest Winner This Awards Season Could Be Mahershala Ali You may not know how to pronounce his name now, but chances are you will not only know the name but the man behind it as award season shifts into full gear. The 42-year old actor — whose 2016 credits include “Hidden Figures,” “Free State of Jones”, “House of Cards” and “Luke Cage”—has racked up Golden Globe and SAG nominations for his role as a paternal drug dealer who takes a young boy under his wing in “Moonlight”. He’s already picked up a best supporting-actor win at the Critics’ Choice Awards and is set to receive the B r e a k t h r o u g h Performance Award at the 2017 Palm S p r i n g s International F i l m Festival A w a r d s Gala. All of which is generating a great deal of buzz that could land the actor his first Oscar nomination. That,

A Dog’s Purpose January 27 in itself, could mark the biggest breakthrough.

Stock Soars As Oprah Shrinks Weight Watchers stock is once again soaring as Oprah Winfrey has announced she’s lost 40 pounds since starting the program. A new ad campaign reveals the transformation. “Weight Watchers is easier than any other program I’ve ever been on. It’s a lifestyle, a way of eating, and a way of living that’s so freeing,” Winfrey said in a press release from the company. “You never feel like you are on a diet and it works.” “I believe others who are looking to make a change will be as inspired as I am about the stories we are sharing in this new campaign.”

Briefly: Speculation is swirling about the possible return of Kim Zolciak to Real Housewives of Atlanta. When asked about it, Zolciak has said that she wouldn’t be opposed to returning, adding that she has good relationships with most of the girls. She’s set to make an appearance this season at Sheree Whitfield’s homecoming…One time arch rival Nene Leakes is still celebrating the successful grand opening of her clothing store, Swagg Boutique in the heard of Atlanta’s exclusive Buckhead community. Leakes teamed up with Teresa Caldwell, the mother of Bow Wow, in the venture.


Janelle Monae

Hometown: Kansas City, Kansas Big Acting Break: Moonlight Current Project: Hidden Figures

Grammy nominated singer Janelle Monae parlayed her music success to the big screen last year, making her debut in the critically acclaimed independent film, “Moonlight”. But it is her portrayal of NASA’s first black female aeronautical engineer Mary Jackson in “Hidden Figures” —alongside Octavia Spencer, Kevin Costner and Taraji P. Henson—that is turning heads in Hollywood. Q. When did you decide to make the jump to acting? A: A lot of people may not know this, but I studied acting. I've always been in the theater world and I'm a writer and screenwriter as well. I've never looked at myself as an actor, but more so a storyteller and I want to tell unique, meaningful, universal stories in unforgettable ways. Q: Your character in the film, Mary Jackson, is smart, independent, not afraid to speak out—what do you feel that you share with Mary? A: Being the youngest in that trio, she represented a new generation of women. Just like my generation now, Mary wasn’t going to sit back and allow anyone to discriminate against her because of the color of her skin or because of her gender. Mary and I both use the word “justice” a lot. Q: Was it difficult to shoot the scenes involving racism—particularly when you were stopped by a racist white police officer on your way to work? A: It was heavy. I had to ask myself, “How am I going to respond to this man pulling us over?” How would these women have responded back then? How would Janelle Monáe have responded in the 1960s? The Janelle Monáe today would have been upset, and the police officer definitely would have known that. But back then, black people were getting lynched for speaking out against injustice. I had to take all of that into consideration. As three women in that moment, we had to calibrate our response. Q: Many people of color have criticized Hollywood for producing a steady stream of slave movies in the past few years, including 2016’s The Birth of a Nation. As a role model for young people, was it important for you to be a part of telling a different kind of story? A: I wanted to honor these women. They’re pioneers. These are women who changed the world—American heroes. But because of historical circumstances, their stories were never told. We all felt a responsibility to these women who opened up doors for my generation. Q: Was there anything about your character you wish had made it into the movie, but didn’t? A: Yes. My character was the first African-American female engineer at NASA. But later on she hacked into the computer and discovered that women and minorities were being paid significantly less than their counterparts. After knowing this, she decided to take a position in NASA’s human resources department to help advance the careers of women and minorities.

Calendar of events

Ongoing Exhibition: Genevieve Gaignard: Smell the Roses (Through February 19, 2017) The first museum exhibition of Los Angeles artist Genevieve Gaignard, who uses installation, photographic self-portraiture, and sculpture to explore race, femininity, and class. 10am–5pm Free CA African American Museum 600 State Drive–Exposition Park Contact: (213) 744-7432 18th Annual Downtown On Ice (Through January 19) Annual outdoor skating rink featuring a variety of free activities, including youth programs, special events, and live music. Open daily (Times vary) $9 – Admission; $4 – Skate Rental Pershing Square 532 South Olive Street Contact: (213) 847-5970

Wednesday, January 4 “Ron McCurdy’s The Langston Hughes Project” Featuring the Ron McCurdy Quartet 8pm • $25 Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts 9390 North Santa Monica Blvd Tickets: (310) 746-4000

Saturday, January 7 Money Mastermind Network An afternoon of financial mapping & strategic planning Sponsored by RISE Financial 11am-3pm • Free 4060 South Figueroa Street Information: (323) 546-HIRED Dream It..See It...Do It! Vision Board Party 2017 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM PST The Living Room at Faithful Central Bible 400 West Florence Avenue www.faithfulcentral In Concert: Freda Payne 8pm • $45 Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts 9390 North Santa Monica Blvd Tickets: (310) 746-4000

L.A. Focus/January 2017


Thursday, January 12 Annual SCLC-SC Interfaith Prayer Breakfast Keynote Speaker: Rev. Kelvin Sauls 8am – 10am • $25 Holman United Methodist Church 3320 W Adams Blvd Information: (213) 268-3082

Friday, January 13 Sharing The Dream Awards Luncheon

Honorees include Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, “Power” Creator Courtney Kemp and Chef Govind Armstrong (Post & Beam) MC: Pat Harvey Presented by the MLK Community Health Foundation 11:00am -2pm Individual Tickets: $150 Dorothy Chandler Pavilion–Grand Hall 135 North Grand Avenue Contact: (213) 622-2344 In Concert: Vanessa Williams 8pm • $55 - $95 Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts 12700 Center Court Drive • Cerritos Contact: (800) 300-4345

Sunday, January 8 “A Conversation With B. Slade” 8pm • $25 Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts 9390 North Santa Monica Blvd Tickets: (310) 746-4000

Wednesday, January 11 2017 LA Art Show (Through Sunday, Jan. 15) Modern & Contemporary Art

Viola Davis stunned at the recent Critic’s Choice Awards in Los Angeles

n Moore o Shemar d f n o a e y r m ie a the prem Bill Bell arpet at ounce Back. the red c B vie, The their mo

11am–7pm • Sun: 11am-5pm $15-35 LA Convention Center 1201 S. Figueroa Street Contact: (561) 822-5440

unga and son David Ot Jennifer Hudson . g” emiere of “Sin jr. at the L.A. pr

EvENT SPOTLIGHT Thursday, January 12 City of Refuge’s 2017 Winter Revival (Through Sunday, January 29) January 12-13/7pm— Pastor Kimberly Ray-Gavin; January 15/6pm–Bishop Kenneth Ulmer; January 1920—Pastor Jamal Bryant; January 22—Pastor Melvin Wade; January 26-27—Bishop Marvin Sapp; January 29—Bishop Clarence McClendon 14527 S. San Pedro Street Gardena Information: (310) 516-1433

Rev. Jesse Richard L Jackson is joined b awson an d his wife, y Tina Knowles.

Bryshere Y. Gray was dapper at the Paley Center screening of BET “The New Edition Story” last month.

Terry Crews is on cloud nine at the L.A. premiere for “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”

Octavia Spencer, Taraji P. Henson and Janelle Monae strike a pose at the New York City premiere of “Hidden Figures” In Concert: War $38 – 68 • 9pm The Canyon 28912 Roadside Drive Agoura Hills Contact: (818) 8795016/(888) 645-5006 24th Annual African American Film Marketplace & S.E. Manly Short Film Showcase “A Great Day in Black Hollywood” 7:30PM—Opening Film Screening, Discussion and Reception Opening Night $25 Raleigh Studios 5300 Melrose Avenue

Saturday, January 14 24th Annual Empowerment Congress Summit Workshop topics include: criminal justice reform, gentrification, homelessness and equity in education 9am–1pm • Free USC Bovard Auditorium Register: (213) 346-3246

In Concert: The Best of Doo-Wop Vol. II (Lineup includes The Teenagers, The Fleetwoods, Jimmy Charles & Brian Hyland 8pm • $35 - $75 Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts 12700 Center Court Drive Cerritos Contact: (800) 300-4345 http://www.cerritoscenter.c om In Concert: The Walls Group (Latitude Tour) 7pm 5200 S. Central Avenue In Concert: Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (ICYOLA) “A Celebration of the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” 7:30pm • Free Information: (213) 2683082

Giveaway Keynote Speaker: Dr. Rosie Milligan 9am – 11:30am • Free 1430 W. Manchester Avenue Information: (323) 7526525 29th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Peace & Unity Parade Vendors, crafts, food, music, dance, health pavilion, carnival rides & games. 10:30am–6pm • Parade begins at Martin Luther King Jr. Av & Anaheim St. Celebration at MLK Park 1950 Lemon Ave Long Beach Contact: (562) 570-6816

Sunday, January 15 Dance Sundays with Debbie Allen & Friends Hip-hop master Chantel Heath will lead ‘Break the Floor Hip Hop 12:00pm – 2:00pm • Free 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd Beverly Hills Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts ays

Southern Saint Paul Church Presents “100 Christian Men In Concert” Featuring “The Holy Homies” (Pastors: Lamar Simmons, Xavier Thompson, Miqual Broadous and Rodney Howard) 4PM 4678 W. Adams Blvd Contact: (323) 731-2703

Monday, January 16 Martin Luther King Day Celebration Features family drop-in art activities, entertainment, award winning food trucks and from 1pm – 3pm continuous reading of Martin Luther King Jr. speeches 10pm – 5pm California Afro American Museum•Exposition Park 600 State Drive RSVP: (213) 744-7432 32nd Annual Kingdom Day Parade Featuring 150 floats and marching bands televised live on ABC-7. 9am–1pm Martin Luther King Blvd./Western Ave. to Crenshaw Blvd./Vernon Ave.

Festival at Leimert Park Info: (323) 934-3683 • (844) 454-6432 SCLC-SC King Legacy Awards Gala Honorees include Anne Marie-Johnson, Bob Schoonover, Rev. Kelvin Sauls, and Rev. Dr. William Monroe Campbell $200 • 5pm Reception/6pm Dinner Sheraton Gateway Hotel 6101 W Century Blvd Information: (213) 2683082

Wednesday, January 18 People’s Choice Awards See your favorite stars from movies, music and TV 6pm • $55–$175 Nokia Theatre-LA Live 777 Chick Hearn Court

Friday, January 20 In Concert: Morris Day & The Time 9pm • $58 - 99 Saban Theatre 8440 Wilshire Blvd Beverly Hills

around los angeles The Power of Love Christian Fellowship 2017 Business Prayer Breakfast & Community Day Features Business Expo, Entertainment, Health Forum, Car Show and Food

Drumline: A high-octane musical roller-coaster ride celebrating Hip Hop, Soul, Gospel, and Jazz and showstyle marching bands. 8pm • $45 - $85 Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts 12700 Center Court Drive Cerritos Contact: (800) 300-4345

Saturday, January 28 In Concert: Jody Watley Featuring Shalimar Reloaded 9pm • $35 The Roxy 9009 West Sunset Blvd

Sunday, January 29 In Concert: Jacob Lattimore 8:30pm • $17 The Roxy 9009 West Sunset Blvd

wing at the preNaomie Harris was glo auty”. miere of “Collateral Be

It’s a family night out for Bill Bellamy, wife Kristen and children, Bailey and Baron, at the premiere of The Bounce Back.

Denzel Washington an d wife Pauletta Washington at the pre miere of his movie “Fences”.

L.A. Focus/January 2017

s out to support Rachelle Aytes turn at The buddy Shemar Moore e. ier em Bounce Back pr

Saturday, January 21

2nd Annual R&B Rewind Fest Headliners include Jodeci, Blackstreet, En Vogue, Ginuwine, SWV & Jon B., 8pm • $62–$275 Nokia Theatre-LA Live 777 Chick Hearn Court


Re d Carpet Style

JANELLE MONAE simply gorgeous in this long black & white draped Nicci Hou dress

ENIKO PARRISH is fabulous in this long black front slit dress

The red carpet was red hot at the 22nd Annual Criticâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Choice Awards, which took place at the Barker Hanger in Santa Monica last month.

VIOLA DAVIS is stunning in this light blue Michael Kors dress, with Irene Neuwirth earrings

SUSAN KELECHI WATSON in a sheer blue flowing bedazzled Tadashi Shoji

KERRY WASHINGTON Giving attitude in a Elie Saab black see-thru star embellished lace mini dress

Eye On Gospel Getting Bigger Every Day Teen sensation Jekalyn Carr closed out 2016 spending 30 consecutive weeks in the Top 5 on Billboard’s Gospel Airplay chart with her #1 hit single “You’re Bigger”. The single debuted in the Top 5 on June 6th and landed at #1 on September 14th spending four non-consecutive weeks in that position. Last month, the West Memphis, Arkansas native received a Grammy nomination in the category of Best Gospel Performance/Song for “You’re Bigger”. This is Carr’s first Grammy nod, capping off a remarkable year of firsts for the 19year old prophetic powerhouse singer. Earlier this month Billboard Magazine released its 2016 “Year-End” charts and named “You’re Bigger” as the 2nd most played Gospel song at radio this year and also claimed six other top positions in the Top 15 throughout several Gospel charts including Gospel Airplay Artists (#5), Hot Gospel Songs Artists (#6), Top Gospel Artists (#8), Hot Gospel Songs (#8), Gospel Digital Songs Artist (#9) and Gospel Digital Songs charts (#11). Additionally, “You’re Bigger” spent four nonconsecutive weeks on Billboard’s Gospel Digital Songs chart. “ Yo u ’ r e Bigger” is the first official single

from Carr’s third album, The Life Project (Lunjeal Music Group/eOne) which debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Gospel Albums and iTunes Top 200 Digital Christian/Gospel Albums charts. The album also made a significant impact on Billboard’s Combined Christian/Gospel Albums chart (#6), Billboard’s Overall Top Albums Chart (#108) and landed in the Top 40 on iTunes Top 200 Pop Albums Chart. Carr received her first Stellar at the age of sixteen for the album, Greater Is Coming and had released two CDs by her 18th birthday. In 2015, she held her first live recording for her third CD, "The Life Project". Carr's father, Allen Carr, who wrote both “Greater Is Coming” and “It's Gonna Happen”, the lead singles from her first two albums is also president of Lunjeal Music Group, her label home. In 2014, Carr— who also packs a powerful sermon and designed a line of apparel and caps —was named to Ebony Magazine’s Power 100.

Kirk Franklin and Shirley Caesar Lead List of Gospel Grammy Nominees Multi-platinum selling gospel artist Kirk Franklin and First Lady of Gospel, Shirley Caesar top the list of this years gospel Grammy nominees with two nominations each. Breakout artists Travis Greene, Tim Bowman Jr. and Todd Dulaney all snagged nominations as well. Rounding out this years list of gospel Grammy nominees are Jekalyn Carr, Tamela Mann, Hezekiah Walker and William Murphy... Congratulations are also in order for NAACP Image Award (Outstanding Gospel Album) nominees: Livre’— Jericho: Tribe of Joshua ; Myron Butler —Myron Butler & Levi On Purpose; Tamela Mann— One Way; Donnie McClurkin—The Journey (Live) and Fred Hammond –Worship Journal Live.

Gospel Lays To Rest One of Its Greats Last month, the gospel community mourned the death of iconic quartet trailblazer Joe Ligon, founder and lead singer for the three time Grammy Award winning Mighty Clouds of Joy. The L.A. native—who was laid to rest in Beaumont, Texas after being eulogized by Rev. Jesse Jackson—was 80. No cause of death was specified for the artist who founded the Mighty Clouds of Joy in the 1950s with several classmates at Jefferson High School.

Styling themselves after the Temptations, they broke with gospel tradition, adding bass, drums and keyboards to their sound and striking gold with a disco hit, “Mighty High”. Other career highlights include opening for the Rolling Stones and Aretha Franklin and the distinction of being the first gospel group to appear on Soul Train.

It’s Her Time For the last two years Cheryl Fortune’s life has been overshadowed by a nightmare that went viral two years ago when her husband, Grammy nominated singer James Fortune was arrested for assaulting her with a bar stool. The couple split and in March of last year, the singer pled guilty to the charges and was sentenced to five days in jail and five years of probation, and faces up to 10 years in prison if he violates it. In the meantime, Cheryl Fortune, who handled background vocals, co-writing and vocal production on such projects as Live Through It, Identity, Encore and Transformation, (while co-writing the Billboard #1 smash hit single “I Trust You”) went on to do background vocals for other artists and toured with Kirk Franklin. Now, the Houston based recording artist is set to embark on her solo recording career with the release of her Lucius B. Hoskins produced debut single “Fighters” set to impact gospel radio January 2017. “With this single I created an anthem for women that would offer a sense of hope, strength and boldness,” said Cheryl, who hopes to use her voice to help battered and broken women in overcoming and surviving abuse and other of life’s challenges.

Briefly: Ruth La’Ontra wed married longtime boyfriend, Kashif Horton… Dove and Stellar Award winner and Gospel Legend Dottie Peoples has released “Cry Out To Jesus”, her first single from the upcoming album Gospel Songs and featured on her current compilation Songs Of Inspiration. “This is a very personal song for me” Dottie confesses. “I lost my dear mother this year and it put my faith to the test, I really had to lean on Jesus to get through it. This song speaks of the importance of that faith through hardships, whether it’s loss, loneliness, pain or addiction, you can turn to Jesus for His grace and forgiveness, mercy and healing, He will meet you wherever you are–cry out to Jesus”.

ChurchNews Pastor Sherman Gordon Appointed to Key Post in Global United Fellowship he Global United Fellowship under the leadership of Bishop Neil C. Ellis, Presiding Prelate has appointed Dr. Sherman A. Gordon, Senior Pastor of Family of Faith Christian Center (F.O.F.C.C.) in Long Beach as leader of the South Pacific Province, which encompasses the states of California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Hawaii. Said Gordon, “ I am honored to be part of Global United Fellowship and proud to serve and join the international body of spiritual leaders committed to developing pastors and churches around the globe.” In his post, Gordon will implement the five-fold vision of Bishop Neil C. Ellis “to Unite, Equip, Enhance, Resurrect, and Build” the body of Christ. Rebuilding and restoring lives across generations, gender, race, culture and ethnicity, Gordon organized Family of Faith Christian Center in 2010. Maintaining that members are not joining a church, but instead they are joining a family, he has seen the church grow by leaps and bounds. “The church,” he says, “stresses kinship over membership.”


Amen L.A. (Affirming Ministry Enlightening Nations) 1455 W. 94th St. Los Angeles, CA 90047 (323) 229-9351 • Rev. Dr. DiAnn L. Johnson Sunday Morning Worship: 9:30am-10:30am PTP / Preach the word- Teach the word - practice the word

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

Bethel Missionary Baptist Church of South L.A. 10905 S. Compton Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90059 (323) 566.5286 Pastor Reginald A. Pope Sunday School: 9:30am Morning Worship: 8am • 11am Children’s Church: 11am (2nd/4th Sundays) Evangelism Training/Bible Study/Independent Prayer: (Mon): 7:29pm Mobile Prayer/Bible Study: (Wed) 11am Book by Book Bible Study (Wed.): 6:30pm Bethesda Temple Church Apostolic Faith 4909 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90043 (323) 299-2591 Interim Pastor Robert Lockett Sunday School: 9:40am Morning Worship: 11am Evening Worship: 6pm Bible Study (Wed): 7pm Prayer (Sat): 7am Evening Prayer (Mon.): 6:30pm

Bishop Neil Ellis prays for Gordon at installation service.

Pastor Michael Fisher Announces His Engagement In the ballroom of the Torrance Marriott before a crowd of 400 or so members at annual Christmas gathering for the Greater Zion Church Family, Senior Pastor Michael Fisher formally announced his engagement to Marnessa Metters. Metters, the daughter of retired Pastor Michael J. Metters (Faithway Missionary Baptist Church) works for the San Bernadino Sheriff’s department. Her sister, Margina is married to Pastor Kevin Stafford. The two met in 1999 while Fisher was in his sophomore year at Cal State Long Beach. “Having been friends since 1999 and having seen each other grow, I now feel like I have someone who has my best interest at heart and who can navigate this journey with me. She has a heart and a passion for battered women and single mothers,” Fisher adds of his fiance´, who is the single mom to ten-year old daughter, Aryia. He proposed the night before on the 71st floor of the US Bank building in downtown Los Angeles amongst family and close friends. Fisher has served as senior pastor of the church since taking the reins from his father, Pastor Emeritus Jerome Fisher 11 years ago. The couple is set to wed on Saturday, September 16, 2017. It will be the first marriage for both.

Crenshaw Christian Center 7901 South Vermont, Los Angeles, CA 90044 (323) 758-3777 • F: (323)565-4231 • Rev. Frederick Price Jr. Sunday Service: 10am Bible Study (Tue): 11am & 7pm Tue. Night Kidz Unlocked: 7pm Tue. Night Bible Study (Teens): 7pm Alcohol & Drug Abuse Program (Wed): 7pm Intercessory Prayer (Wed.): 7:30pm Prayer & Praise (Thurs.): 6:30pm 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: 10am Worship: 8am, 10am, Noon Teen Church (2nd Sundays):Noon,Allen House Wed. Prayer Service: Noon Wed. Bible Study: 7pm Radio: 10:30am on KJLH-102.3FM First AME is the oldest Black Church in the City Grace Temple Baptist Church 7017 South Gramercy Place, Los Angeles, CA 90047 (323) 971-8192 Bishop Miquail M. Broadous Sr., Senior Pastor Sunday School: 9am Morning Worship: 10:00am Wednesday Worship: 6:45pm E-Mail: Grace United Methodist Church 4112 West Slauson Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90043 (323) 294-6653 • F: (323) 294-8753 • Rev. Pastor Paul A. Hill • Early Morning Worship: 7:45am Sunday School: 9:45am Morning Worship: 10:45am Wed. Bible Study: Noon & 7pm Fri. Alcoholic Anonymous: 7pm Tues. Prayer Fellowship: 6:30pm Super Seniors (Thurs/Bi-Monthly): 10:30am Follow us on Facebook

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

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

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

Holman United Methodist Church 3320 W. Adams Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90018 (323) 731-7285 • F: (323) 731-2609 • Rev. Kelvin Sauls

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: 10am Early Worship: 8am Morning Worship: 10am Mon. Centering Prayer/Meditation: 6:30pm Mon. Overeaters Anonymous: 7pm Wed. Bible Study & Eucharist: 7pm Wed. Alcoholic Anonymous: 7:pm 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: 8am Prayer Meeting: 10:30am Morning Worship: 11am Wed. Afternoon Bible Study: 1pm Wed. Prayer Meeting: 6pm Wed. Evening Bible Study: 7pm View Pastor McKnight’s Sermons on YouTube

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

Sunday School: 8:00, 9:45 & 11am Jazz for Soul 2nd & 4th Thur: 6:30 pm Early Worship: 8am Morning Worship: 11am Bible Study (Thurs.): Noon Sun. Radio: KJLH 102.3FM: 11am 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: 9am Morning Worship: 10:30am & 12:30pm Wed. Bible Study: noon & 6:30pm Prayer Meeting: 6pm Follow us on Twitter @dacrossculture McCarty Memorial Christian Church 4101 West Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90018 (323) 731-4131 Pastor Edward Anderson Sunday School: 9:30am Morning Worship: 10:45am Bible Study: Noon, Tuesdays

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): 7pm Bible Study (Wed.): 8pm

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: 8am, 11am Discipleship Hour (Sun): 9:37am Noonday Prayer (Mon): Noon Noonday Bible Study (Tue): 12:00pm Tuesday Night in the Truth: 7:15pm 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: 8am Sunday School: 9:30am Mid Morning Worship: 11am Tues. Bible Study: 10am & 7pm Meeting/Bible Study: 6:30pm–8pm First Sun. Communion: 8am & 11 am Baptism First Sunday

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

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

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

“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: 8am Sunday School: 9:30 am Morning Worship: 11am Tuesday Prayer and Bible Band: 11am 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: 7pm

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

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: 8am & 11am Wednesday Bible Study & Mid Week Worship: Noon & 7pm Prayer Meeting: 6:30pm

First Lady Files Michelle Porter Greater Ebenezer MBC With her husband, DeNon A. Porter’s appointment as senior pastor at Greater Ebenezer Baptist Church, Michelle Porter takes on the role as first lady at one of L.A.’s largest Baptist congregations. “I’m just grateful the Lord has blessed my husband and I’m excited about He is going to do through my husband and myself in terms of blessing the church and the community.” With her first priority being her relationship with the Lord, it is a position the Baltimore, Maryland native takes seriously. At the same time, most important to her is “being a strong partner for my husband in the ministry really supporting him as the Lord needs and guides him.” “Each woman has to be their own individual and we’re not here to wear big hats. You know how well we dress or what purse what shoes we have on from week to week but this is really about the Lord--being serious in our relationship with the Lord being serious about staying in the word, ministering to other people, really being of service to the church to the community.” Being of service to the community is something she does on a daily basis as Vice-President of Advanced Services at the National History Museum of Los Angeles County where she manages information for the non-profit. She met her husband when they were both undergraduate students at Syracuse University and sang together in a gospel choir. Today, the mother of four (ranging in age from 6-25), sings in one of the church’s five choirs and plays a keyrole in the women’s ministry. 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: 8am Church School Hour: 10:15am Tuesday Hour of Power: 7pm 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: 8am Morning Worship: 10am Tues. Bible Study: 11am Wed. Evangelism Class: 6:30pm First Sun. Holy Communion Service: 4pm

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 & 7pm Sunday Broadcast: 7pm

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

Southern Saint Paul Church 4678 West Adams Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90016 (323) 731-2703 • F: (323) 737-5202 • Rev. Xavier L. Thompson, Sr. Pastor L.I.F.E. Groups Sundays: 8:00am Saint Paul Campus:9:00am Baptism & Communion (First Sunday): 5pm Word Wednesday: 6:45pm “One Church For All Generations”

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: 9am Radio Broadcast KJLH FM: 9am Wed. Prayer & Bible Study: Noon-7pm UpLift Christian Fellowship 4745 W. Slauson Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90056 (310) 927-3476 Pastor Anthony Thompson Sunday Worship: 10am Bible Study Wednesday: 7pm

Worship Services: 8am & 11am Sunday School: 9:30am Prayer Meeting(WED): 6:30pm Bible Study(WED): 7pm & Noon The Church where “It pays to be nice”.

St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church 5017 S. Compton Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90011 (323) 231-1040 • Rev. Dr. Lovely Haynes Sunday Morning Worship: 8am & 11am Sunday School: 9:30am Mon-Wed: Prayer Bible Study: 6pm - 6:55 pm Mon. Night Bible Study: 7pm Tue Choir Rehersal Wednesday Prayer: Noon Wed. Exposition of Sunday School Lesson: 7pm • Wed. Prayer Meeting: 7pm Thurs. Evangelism: 7pm (enrollment required)

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: 8am Sunday Morning Worship: 9am Tues. Bible Study: 6:45pm “We have not walked this way before” Joshua 3:1-6

L.A. Focus/January 2017

New Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church 9537 South Vermont Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90044 (323) 755-1130 or 755-1139 • F: (323)755-8961 Rev. Melvin Hill, Pastor


Resurrection Church L.A. 1135 East Janis St. Carson, CA 90746 Office Address: 1143 East Janis St. Carson, 90746 (310) 626-4864 • Pastor Joseph Carlos Robinson

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

In Carson

Judson Baptist Church 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

Peace Apostolic Church 21224 Figueroa Street, Carson, CA 90745 (310) 212-5673 Suff. Bishop Howard A. Swancy Sunday School: 10am Morning Worship: 11:45am Evening Worship: 6:30pm Wed. Noon Day Bible Class: 12:30pm Wed. Bible Class: 7:30pm

Service times: 8am, 10am, 12:15pm Communion: every 5th Sunday Tuesday 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: 9am Morning Service: 10:45am Wed. Mid-Week Bible Study: 7pm

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: 9am, 11am & 5pm Wed. Bible Studies: Noon-7pm

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: 8am & 11:30am Sunday Evening Worship: 6:30pm Bible Studies: Wed. 7:30pm & Sat. 9am Food for Your Soul Radio & Television Ministry: KTYM 1460AM: Mon - Fri. 6:30am Church Channel: Tues. 5:30pm & Fri. 2:30pm

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

In Gardena

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

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

Pastor Profile: J. Benjamin Hardwick Church: Praises of Zion (“Praise City”) Years at church: 61 years since founding in 1955 Hometown: Los Angeles Office:President, Western Baptist State Convention Family: Married 58 years to wife Thelma, two adult children Reflecting back on founding the church at 24, how has the L.A. church community changed? There’s a vast difference in the quality of people. Members at that time were so loyal to the church but there’s a decline in the attendance of churches all over the nation. That’s a sad commentary. What it means it that we must work almost day and night with all kinds of programs and ministries that will catch the attention of all segments of our community. We have 30 ministries and services here, which range in scope from mental health and college prep to childcare in addition to our gym. You’re especially proud of one such program… You might remember the name Leonard Deadwyler [the case that sparked the Watts Riots in 1966]…they were members of my church. Johnny Cochran represented him and was my attorney at the time and we had to beg money to bury him. With all the national publicity from the riots, 5,000 people turned out for a march and people began sending money to their family. Every television camera was there, but at some point Johnny said to me something must happen in the black community and after some time, we came up with an insurance policy so that people could bury a loved one. Everyone who joined this insurance group—and it is still good today—received $15,000 to cover burial costs. We are the only black church to have this kind of ministry. You started the church at a time when activism was a huge part of the fabric of the black church, do you believe that is still as big a factor today? I’m concerned about that. I feel like that’s the church’s duty. Wherever there is a real need, I believe that the church ought to be a part of seeing that it is met. I’ve been in this community for a long time and I’ve seen the community change but instead of fighting it, we’ve embraced it and I’ve really advertised the church as “the east side church”. Does the shifting—or already shifted—demographics challenge what you’re doing here? Yes, it affects us and I’m concerned about it, but we also have people who drive long distances—from

Riverside and Fontana—and we have some members who now live in Sacramento who were in church last week. Many of our members have passed and you can’t replace them, so I thank God for the young people of this church. Every month we get gospel recording artist Malcolm Williams to come here from Chicago to draw young people and we open the gym up to neighborhood youth. Additionally, we had 9-10 Hispanics to join our church a few weeks ago, and we have an active social media ministry. Many of those taking part in our feeding program, mental health services and utilizing our gym are Hispanic. I’ve encouraged young preachers to get 501c3s and instead of moving or them coming to take over your church, they come to support your church. We are building a life center, senior citizen home and housing and we are going to keep buying houses until we control the neighborhood. That’s what I’ve been trying to get people to do years ago, don’t move, improve. Yours is a more traditional congregation, it is more challenging to outreach to youth? To get young people in your church you must do one of two things. You lower the standard of the church to get them or you stand still and win them over to what the real church is for. Now I’ll be criticized for that, but I’m telling you there’s a lot of things going on in the church that years ago you would have been condemned and caused some to be put out of the church. Young people dress a certain way, they live together… Do you think young people want the tradition that churches like yours has to offer? Well I believe this: that you don’t have to yield to modern technology to get young people in your church. I still think you can stand firmly on the word of God and if your ministry is Christ centered you can make it. I’m old but I think young and that’s the policy, but it’s about ministry. We have the gymnasium, family preservation with the county, a foster family unit, childcare center, and adoption facility and we prepare our young people for the SAT. And we are getting ready to build. The L.A. Lakers just donated $85,000 that is earmarked to update our gym. You were privileged to know Martin Luther King who died at just 39 years of age, what do you think about the young pastors coming up now? Can you imagine that the nation in a few weeks will recognize the works that he [Dr. King] has produced for this nation? Everywhere he’s a treasure and I listen to his Pastor continued to page 26

speeches now and it brings back memories. The church has been successful in every worthwhile movement. We have the influence and the resources and if we could live up to the potential and be more progressive in that vein, the black church could make so much more of a difference. I just wish more young ministers would think more about the people than themselves. Do you think it’s necessary for pastors to be political today? Definitely. I think Martin would be kind of shocked at the involvement of the black church. This last election just crushed my spirit and I’m wondering will this nation ever recover? What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome? I had a stroke some years ago where I couldn’t speak for nine days and I still can’t speak as clearly as I used to, but they told me I would never speak again so if I can just utter a word I’m grateful. And the highlight of your six decades in ministry? Helping people for over 60 years. When I see young people who I know are making it because some of the programs at this church. Every year we give 10 scholarships for $4000 and between that we give even more funding. We’ve helped so many of our youth to go to college and get scholarships. A young fellow I know j u s t received his doctorate through this program. I

From the Pulpit: Greater Ebenezer MBC Making The New Year Count—Psalm 90:10-17 here are many different ways to approach a new year. Some engage in the tradition of New Year’s resolutions, which usually involve a lot of good intentions but very little follow through. “I am going to lose weight… I am going to get out of debt… I am going to find a mate… I am going to start a business…” The New Year is an exciting time of new beginnings and fresh starts. Some get so excited at the prospect of a new year that they begin to proclaim that this year is “their year.” If you’re like me, you can remember last year around this time, when 2016 was “my year.” And a year before that when 2015 was “my year.” And when 2007 was “my year.” And when 1994 was “my year.” As we consider this text, prayerfully we will discover a way of approaching this New Year with a new perspective on what we hope to see happen in our lives over the next 365 days. The first thing we need to recognize is we are living on God’s time. Moses, the author of this psalm, begins by considering the eternal existence of God, declaring that the Lord has been “our dwelling place in all generations” and that “from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” After meditating on that glorious reality, he turns his attention to the temporality of man. Living on God’s time means that our time is limited. This in and of itself is a deeply troubling idea for many because we love to feel like we are in control of our lives. We want to be in the words of the poet, “the master of our fate” and “captain of our soul.” Even when it comes to how long we live, we think we can control that. We run and


stretch, kickbox and Zumba, purge and cleanse, juice and detox. We P90X and “Sweat to the Oldies” and we do all of this thinking we can somehow determine our own longevity. Now, as important as it is we take care of our bodies, and as desirable as it is that we maintain a healthy diet and make sure we get some exercise every day, none of that changes the reality that our times are in God’s hands, and ultimately He is the One who determines how long we stay here. He goes on to express the fact that not only is our time limited, but our times are hard. He says that if by strength we make fourscore years—to 80 years old— “yet is their strength, labor and sorrow.” One of the things I love about the Bible is it does not try to sugarcoat life. It does not give us a false view of life as one unbroken stream of happiness. Life is not easy. Life is good—but it’s not easy. Life is a blessing, but it is not easy. Not only is life hard, but it’s short. As our Pastor Emeritus, Dr. Solomon Drake would say, “life at its longest, is short.” It is soon cut off, and we fly away. It is in light of this sobering reality that Moses makes the request in verse 12 of our text. He says, “Teach us to number our days...” The psalmist asks God to “teach” us to number our days, because our natural tendency is to not number our days—to not consider how fleeting, how precious, how wonderful our days are, even the hard days. So Lord, teach us to number our days. Lord, teach us to value our days and help us to recognize that all of our days are numbered. All of us are living on borrowed time. But not only do we live on God’s time,

Victory Institutional Baptist Church 4712 West El Segundo Blvd., Hawthorne, CA 90250 (310) 263-7073 • Pastor Richard Williams, III Sunday Morning Worship: 9am Sunday Evening Worship: 6pm Wed. Mid-Week Worship: 7pm Bible Study Tuesday: Noon & 7pm

but we linger by God’s mercy. I need to recognize that nothing I do is going to keep me here. Nothing I can accomplish or achieve is going to lighten the load when life gets hard. What I need is mercy and God’s unfailing love. I need the help and kindness of a God who is not obligated to help or be kind to me. I also need for God not to treat me as my sins deserve. What I need is mercy. Mercy is what meets our needs. Mercy is what suits our case. Mercy is what satisfies us. It was mercy that kept you all night long. It was mercy that prevented your house from burning down around you in your sleep. You and I are living by God’s mercy—that’s why Jeremiah said in Lamentations 3:22 “It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. The only thing that has carried us these few days into this New Year is the mercy of God. I don’t know if you know it or not, but you’ve already done enough in these few days to be consumed. In these few days you’ve already said enough to be condemned. In these few days you’ve already thought enough to be destroyed by the holy wrath of God. But we linger by G o d ’ s mercy. If we want to m a k e t h i s N e w Pastor DeNon Porter

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

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 & 7pm Wednesday Pathway: 7pm Thurs Bible Study: 10am Sat Marriage & Family Prayer: 7:30am

First Church of God Center of Hope 9550 Crenshaw Blvd., Inglewood, CA 90305 • (323) 7571804 Pastor Geremy L. Dixon

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: 7am & 10am Wed. Mid-Week Service: 7pm

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: 10am Morning Services: 11:45am Evening Service: 7pm Wed. Lock & Load Prayer: 7pm Wed. Bible Study: 7:30pm 3rd Friday Youth Night: 7:30pm KYTYM 1460AM (Sunday): 11:30am

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

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

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

In Irvine

Christ Our Redeemer AME Church 45 Tesla, Irvine, CA 92618 (949) 955-0014 • F:(949) 955-0021 • Pastor Mark E. Whitlock, II

Sunday Worship: 8am, 10:30am New Generation Praise Service: 10:30am Sun. Bible Univ.: 9:30am Tues. Interactive Bible Study: 7pm Wed. Pastor's Bible Study: Noon, 7pm Thurs. Bible Study: 7pm Fri. Singles Bible Study (1st Fri): 7pm

PASTORAL VACANCY Greater Temple of God Christian Fellowship Inc. is currently accepting applications for a pastor. Greater Temple has been a cornerstone for over 49 years in the South Central L.A./Watts community. We are seeking a man of God in accordance with Titus 1:7: “For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quicktempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain” and 1 Timothy 3:2 “An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach.” The Pastor will lead bible study, work closely with the deacons, trustees, and other committees. Applicants may request an application by email at: Or by mail to: Greater Temple Of God Christian Fellowship Post Office Box 512096 Los Angeles, CA 90059

L.A. Focus/January 2017

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

Morning Worship: 8am & 11am Wed. Mid-Week Service: Noon Wed. Teaching Ministry: 7pm 1st Sunday Communion 5th Sunday Baptism

Year count, not only must we recognize that we are living on God’s time and are lingering by God’s mercy. We must also have a longing for God’s glory. The psalmist says that this life is limited and it’s hard. I’m only here by God’s mercy. So let me see God’s work in my life. Let His glory be manifested through me. I don’t know what you are pursuing today, but if it is anything short of the glory of God, you are wasting your time. We must say, “Lord, get the glory out of our life.” That’s how we make the New Year count. When we submit ourselves completely to the will of our Holy God and say, “I turn it all over to You—all of my dreams, all of my aspirations, all of my desires, all of my problems, all of my pitfalls, all of my issues, all of my fears, I turn it all over to You. Whatever it is, use it for Your glory God. I can tell you right now that 2017 is not your year. 2017 is the Lord’s year. Every year is God’s year because we are living on God’s time.


In Long Beach

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: 8am, 9:30am, 11:30am WednesdayBible Study: Noon

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: 7pm Wed Youth & Young Adult Ministry: 7pm

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: 11am Evening Worship: 6:30pm Wed. Intercessory Prayer: 7pm Wed. Pastoral teaching adults: 7:30pm Wed. Youth Ministry Boot-Camp; Youth Bible Study: 7pm & 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 1st & 5th Sunday Worship: 9am Sunday School/New Member Classes:8am Live Streaming on NuPhilly AppNuPhilly website: 9am 2nd thru 4th Sunday Worship:7:30 am &10:00am•Sunday School New Member Classes: 9am Live Streaming on the NuPhilly App/website: 7:30am Pastor’s Bible Study: Wednesday Eve 7pm Mid-Week Bible Study: Thursday 12:00 noon

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

In Monrovia

Second Baptist Church 925 S. Shamrock Avenue • P.O. Box 479, Monrovia, CA 91017 (626) 358-2136 • F: (626) 303-2477 Bishop W.M. Larue Dillard, Phd.

L.A. Focus/January 2017


First AME Santa Monica 1823 Michigan Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90404 (310) 450-0331 Pastor Rueben Ford

In Pasadena Bethlehem Church 1550 North Fair Oaks Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91103 (626) 794-5211 • F: (626) 794-6592 Pastor Christopher A. Bourne Sunday School: 9am Sunday Worship: 10am Tuesday Bible Study: 7pm Mid-day Worship Thursday: Noon

In Santa Monica

Sunday School: 9:30am Sunday Worship: 11am Bible Study: Thursday 6pm

Spirit of Zion Fellowship Church 10853 Victory Blvd. North Hollywood, CA 91601 (805) 517-1907 • Pastor E.V. Hill II

In van Nuys

Sunday Worship: 1pm Children's Church: 1pm

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

The only option the black community will have left requires us to center black people as our solution and re-create a culturally grounded economic system based on meeting our own needs. Blacks are one of the largest buying groups, spending over $1 trillion annually. To protect our community Lurie Daniel Favor continued from page 8 from the threats that loom, we must turn that spending power into job and wealth enough to protect black workers or our generators. economic security. Author Maggie Anderson (Our Black Remember, even under integration, Year: One Family’s Quest to Buy Black in white-owned corporations hired as few America’s Racially Divided Economy) statblacks as the law required. Those same ed that 1 million jobs could be created if companies, that can barely tolerate us, black households with incomes of $75,000 soon won’t have to hire any of us at all. or more increased spending with blackMalcolm X was prophetic when he owned businesses from 3 percent to ten persaid: “The white man is too intelligent to cent. This is far better than any governlet someone else come and gain control of mental policy could ever hope to promise or the economy of his community. But you achieve. will let anybody come in and control the A Trump presidency means that the economy of the community—control the days of relying on government for legal prohousing; control the education; control tections from racism are over. But if we the jobs; control the businesses—under take this opportunity to re-create sustainthe pretext that you want to integrate.”

Pastor continued from page 22 only wish we could do more. There is a sense of belonging to other people and knowing that you have given your best and see it become a reality in someone else’s life. It’s the satisfaction that comes with truly helping somebody.

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: 10am Bible Study Wednesday: 7pm Intercessory Prayer (Fourth Wed.): 7pm Christians Uniting To Make A Difference -Eph. 4:13

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: 9am & 11:15am Bible Study Wednesday: 7pm Intercessory Prayer Tuesday : 7pm Intercessory Prayer Sunday: 8am - 8:45am Intercessory Prayer Thursday: 11:30pm - 12:30pm

able black streams of income, job and wealth creation, we may be able to advance farther than many dreamed imaginable. Thankfully, as Marcus Garvey noted, “When all else fails to organize the people, conditions will.” This new age of open racism may be just the mass organizing moment that allows our community to thrive. Lurie Daniel Favors is an author and attorney and the general counsel at a racial-justice law center in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can follow her on Twitter. Money Matters continued from page 13 will pay a Part B premium of $187.50 per month next year. Some people choose to get their benefits through privately-operated Medicare Advantage health plans, or purchase a Medicare Part D plan to help cover their prescription drug costs. Many of these plans carry their own monthly premiums. For more info, visit, or call 1-800-633-4227.

Larry Elder continued from page 8 Trump's statements would have been either the worst possible interpretation, taken out of context or flat-out untrue. That's how Rangel rolled. But free from the pressures of getting reelected, Rangel told the truth. The charge that Trump is racist, sexist, homophobic and Islamophobic is bogus. And the voters saw through it. Rangel knows this and said so. His implicit message: Race is no longer a major factor in America. Now we know. Rangel, throughout his career, cynically played the race card to stoke anger to retain his Harlem seat. It is the very definition of a con man. The real question is why it worked for so long. Larry Elder is a best-selling author and nationally syndicated radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, visit Follow Larry on Twitter @larryelder. Trump continued from page 6 transition team. Robinson was also president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options. Recent work and writings focus on school choice, race and criminal justice reform. Elroy Sailor, a special adviser to Reince Priebus, served as Senior Advisor and Director of Strategic Programs for Rand Paul for President, 2016; national surrogate for George W. Bush’s presidential campaign, 2000 and 2004; and as a national strategist for several U.S. House mid-term elections. He is also co-founder of J.C. Watts & Companies, one of the largest African American-owned government relations firms in Washington, D.C. Rev. Darrell Scott, senior pastor and cofounder of the New Spirit Revival Center in Cleveland Heights, will serve on the transition team's executive committee. During the campaign, Scott was CEO of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump, and served as an official Trump campaign surrogate.

Through the Storm


From The End of the Road To The Life of His Dreams

oday, Ben Tankard is living his dreams. His reality TV show, Thicker Than Water, has had three successful seasons on Bravo TV following the lives of Tankard, wife Jewel and their six children. Dubbed “the godfather of Gospel jazz,” the Grammynominated recording artist has 21 albums and 14 Stellar Awards to his credit. Off screen—and stage—he is senior pastor of the Nashville-based Destiny Center and an established author with two books to his credit, including his latest release, The Full Tank Life. On top of all that, he is an in-demand motivational speaker with 100-150 appearances per year all across the country, most popular with those who want to get a little of what he’s been able to attain in his successful career. But getting what Tankard’s got means surviving against a great many odds, not the least of which was being born dirt poor. So poor that at one point the family lived in an abandoned movie theater. “I use to have to shovel chicken manure on a chicken farm so that the people who came to collect the eggs wouldn’t have to step in it,” Tankard recalls. “Because we didn’t have running water, I had to go to school smelling like chicken poop. So people called me names like chicken stank or would say what’s playing at the movie theatre tonight.” His escape was creating a world in his head where he saw himself living in a mansion, having a beautiful wife, children and never having to go without. “I thought that my way out of the ghetto was pro basketball,” Tankard continues. “Being 6’6 by the time you are in the sixth grade everybody starts prophesying to you about playing ball, but I really had music in my heart. “Long story short, when I graduating from high school I had 30 scholarship offers for basketball and 35 scholarship offers

Mary Magdalene

Missionary Baptist Church MMMBC, A Los Angeles based church deeply committed to the practice and teachings of Jesus Christ. Is seeking a spiritually mature and creative full-time pastor to lead a growing congregation toward a higher level of worship and broader community engagement.

Please forward cover letter and resume to: MMMBC@MARYMAGDALENEMBC.ORG

for band. I wanted to take the band scholarship, but my parents said, ‘son you’re black, you’re tall, we’re poor, play ball. So I took the basketball scholarship with the idea that I could go pro and then come back and get my family out of the hood. Well, I did make to pro but I got injured the last day of camp and they cut me from my team before ever getting to play a game. “I was so devastated that I remember saying, “it would be so cool if I could just go to sleep and never wake up.” That’s how I felt. Having left college to go pro, I had no degrees to fall back on. All my eggs were in this one basket and now this basket gets turned over and I didn’t know what to do.” That’s what he says drove him back to church where something miraculous happened. “I accepted the Lord as my savior and in the same service the minister put oil on my hands and tells me to go to the piano and I began to play the piano like a professional jazz musician, though I’ve never had a lesson as a piano player.” Fact is with every setback for Tankard has come a breakthrough. “After the NBA experience, I worked as a dogcatcher while I was waiting on my music to take off. On my lunch break everyday I would go to the music store and play the keyboard with my uniform on and the dog truck with the dogs in it outside. One day a customer told the storeowner, ‘I’ll take the keyboard the dogcatcher is playing. That happened over and over until the storeowner hired me as a keyboard demonstrator. That was my first real music job.” Tankard was on his way, ultimately landing a record deal and position as a record label executive. Things were going well. He’d signed Yolanda Adams to the label and had produced a string of hit records himself. “In the middle of that,” Tankard reveals, “I go through a divorce, both of my parents die within a year of each other and my flying instructor gets killed in an airplane crash. All in one year. I had to make the decision if I was going to love again, fly again or live again.” It was during this time that he was introduced to Pastor Creflo Dollar, who would become a mentor. “He said “Ben, when you go places to play don’t demand a certain amount of money, it will teach you how to play. Just go in and say pay for my plane or my expenses. It’s philosophy I have come to adopt and with it God has given me a mansion, homes in three states, eight cars and two airplanes so you can’t beat God’s giving,” says Tankard, who will hit the road this year with Joel Osteen’s Tour of Hope. It is one of many philosophies Tankard has come to adopt and to include in his book, The Full Tank Life, which he says is more about getting full than getting rich. “I’ve adopted what I call “the high five of goal setting.” What that means is if you have an opportunity to

“The Conversation” Hosted by Kimberly West Williams and“The Matriarch Society”

February 25, 2017 10am - 3pm 4101 E. Willow St•Long Beach

Ladies, join us as we salute out “Single Mothers” Features: Brunch, entertainment, awards, networking, Free Gifts & Live D.J. special guest: Comedian Ramona Stephens, Evangelist Gaynelle Dawson and Message in the Ministry go to for registration Early Bird Special $35.00 until January 31, 2017

LISA COLLINS Editor In Chief

spend five minutes with someone, you should be able to tell them what you are expecting or believing God to happen in your life within the next five hours days, weeks, months and years. If you cannot tell that person what’s happening within the next five hours, days, months, weeks, in your life then you are not thinking about your life enough.” Instead Tankard advised that people spend less time on their cell phones or checking social media and concentrate on their own future rather than reading about someone else’s present. “I also include in the book what I call the “self-aligned by 7:59”[am],” Tankard notes. “I did some study of successful people and found that a great many of them accomplish more before eight or nine in the morning than a lot of other people accomplish all day. Some of the things they do I put in the book, like get up and don’t begin your day with social media or checking emails.” Instead, Tankard has his own daily regimen and it starts with prayer and praise. “Take five minutes to say, ‘God thank you for waking me up this morning, I’m going to have a great day.’ You pray and praise, eat and exercise then go to a quiet place where you can dream and reflect,” Tankard adds. “Write out a script on how you would like your life to go. “I read a study some years ago on graduating seniors who wrote out their goals. Just 10% of them actually had written goals. Ten years later they interviewed the same people and the 10% that wrote out their goals earned an average of 500% more than the 90% who didn’t write down their goals. So my motto is people who don’t write their goals end up working for people who do.” Tankard, on the other hand, is a man in control of his destiny who now wants to help others find their destinies. “It’s like driving and the low fuel light came on and it doesn’t matter what car you are driving but when that fuel light comes on it changes your ride. I believe that a lot of us have gotten that low fuel light in our lives meaning different challenges or an emptiness, meaning that we’re at the end of the road. There is a bumper sticker that reads: “Where do you find God? At the end of the road.”


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W L.A. Focus/January 2017

hen it comes to getting in shape, the New Year is the most exciting time for me. Like everyone else, I set New Year resolutions and challenge myself to be my absolute best. However, it hasn’t always been easy. There was a time, like most of you, when I lost sight of my goals within the first thirty days. It was a repetitive game I would play every year. I would start out the New Year strong, going to the gym every morning and eating wheat grass and vegetables. Then three weeks into my new workout regimen I would stop, lose focus and start doing something totally different. Someone would ask me to meet for coffee and with no hesitation, like I had nothing to do, I would say yes. I would make myself available to help others with unimportant activities. It was like I was sabotaging my own success. The truth of the matter is, I was burned out, tired and could not keep up the regimen I’d created for myself. I have since learned strategies to staying focused that have resulted in me staying in shape and performing well in other areas of my life. One of the first things I learned was to change the way I set goals. Every year I would make the mistake of setting unrealistic New Year’s resolutions. It wasn’t until I started setting more realistic goals that I began to have success. Being realistic is important to achieving your long-


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A New Year A New You

Dawn Strozier

term goals. Start slow. Exercise doesn’t always have to be a formal activity. Simply increasing the level of intensity in your everyday routine such as housework, grocery shopping or playing with the kids, can make a world of difference. For example, doing housework can be great cardiovascular exercise. It does not require extra time out of your day or a huge commitment and it is a great way to get started. If you’re serious about getting in shape, I cannot stress enough the importance of tracking your progress, and I don’t mean just stepping on the scale every morning and hoping it hasn’t gone up. I’m talking about a plan that allows you to find and stay on the right path. When I started tracking my body composition and food intake it allowed me to get a clear view of what was working and what wasn’t with my training. Most importantly after a few weeks if I wasn’t getting the results I wanted, I knew I needed to make some adjustments. To this day, I

monitor my progress and switch up my workouts whenever I’m not getting the results I want. Most importantly, successfully reaching your fitness goals will be determined by how well you understand the 80/20 rule. 80% of your success depends on your ability to make healthy diet choices. The other 20% is your workout. Making healthy choices isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. Choosing healthier foods will provide your muscles with the nutrients they need to make new muscle tissue and restore your glycogen levels. When I first started training, the biggest mistake I made was not providing my body with the high quality protein it needed. After months of working hard and experiencing very little muscle gain, I realized I had to start feed my body properly and it was then I started to see a change in my appearance. Finally, find your why. There should be a reason why you’re doing what you’re doing. Having an end goal is a great way to stay motivated and focused throughout the year. Why is getting in shape important? When I identified my why it was like a light bulb went off. My “why” was so strong, I started waking up without an alarm clock and my enthusiasm for going to the gym was intensified 110%. Your “why” is your power to staying focused and find your new you.

Finding Your Pretty with Drini Get seen in 2017 with amazing skin and great makeup! There are so many reasons to get fancified throughout the year….birthdays, anniversaries, vacations, Holidays, etc. Cosmetic stores, drugstores and department stores have an array of affordable options to enhance your look. Here are 5 products I believe every woman should own and use if not daily or weekly, then at least for those special occasions:

Drini Marie Pro Makeup Artist & Licensed Esthetician 310-388-1355 Facebook: Instagram: @MissDrini Twitter: @MissDrini

The Eyes Have it: What’s easiest for you to 1) apply? Do you prefer cream eye-shadows, eye-shadow sticks, loose pigments or powder shadows? I myself am a loose pigment girl because as a makeup artist, I can ensure you that a little loose pigment goes a long way. Lightly mist the tip of your eye-shadow brush and place into pigment for intensified color and vitality. Happy eyes save lives and are perfect for date night, girls night out and makeup play time!! 2) Lip Service: So you love a red or deep, rich lip color but are afraid to wear it throughout the year for fear it’s too much. Well it’s not! All that’s needed with a bold lip is a soft makeup look (i.e., mascara, rouge and a little face powder). My go-to’s are lip stains because you can talk, eat and smooch without transferring! 3) Wake up and Conceal: Concealer is the most effective way to hide blemishes and dark circles and bright-

en eyes. I know for me, as SOON as I apply a dab of concealer under my eyes, it’s like an instant eye -lift. Liquid concealers are my current fave because they tend to adhere better to the skin and keep eyes crease-free throughout the day. 4) Cheat Cheek: During cold months, you should keep skin as hydrated as possible, and that goes for our cosmetics as well. Cream blushes are great because they’re pigmented, buildable and hydrating and serve dual purposes because you can use them as a soft tint for lips. I know, I know, who doesn’t love multi-use products…….you’re welcome ☺ ! 5) Lashed: You love the look of false lashes or individual lashes, but don’t have the time to apply or the money to buy? No worries. All you need is a VERY black, lengthening mascara that will add definition and volume to your existing lashes. Benefit’s They’re Real mascara is my very best friend. I absolutely, NEVER leave the house without mascara because mascara makes me look awake! I love this one particularly because I can apply a thin coat for every day, or apply several coats for added drama without leaving a clunky mess. There is no better time than the New Year to add a little more glam to your makeup routine! Happy New Year dolls!







“TO WEAVE OR NOT TO WEAVE”—THAT IS THE QUESTION Mintel, a global market research company, reports that, “Nearly six out of 10 consumers wear wigs, weaves, or extensions, which enables them to switch up their look.” Huffington Post reports, “Wigs and weaves may still be a part of Black hair culture because hair versatility is somewhat intrinsic to the culture. Many Black women change their hairstyles frequently, no matter what the texture. Fake hair allows for an even larger pool of hairstyle options and when used correctly, can give one’s real hair a break from manipulation and hence mitigate breakage. “ (Huff Post, January 2014)

influx of loc extensions, even worn by men. Men are also weaving in flat tops and at times beards.

I once worked an event as a panel member while wearing a curly weave. I was asked by an audience member if there was any Black pride in wearing Indian hair. She noted historical figures in Black history who wore their natural hair. Another audience member cited that my generation didn’t equate hair with a cultural statement, with which I agree. I personally love the options a weave gives me, including the option to take it out and shave my head to start over as I’ve recently done. I shared with the audience member that no matter what my hairstyle, when you look at me, you know I’m Black. A hairstyle won’t allow me to deny my culture. A protective weave style, as mentioned by Huff Post, is increasingly popular even among righteous natural hair wearers. We are also experiencing weaves for natural hair with the

The costly nature of weaves can cause hair damage. How? By leaving in the weave too long in order to stretch out the time in between new installations. This causes the weight of the weave and the braids underneath to cause undo stress on the hair, which for some can cause traction alopecia. This is the mechanical pulling out of the hair from the root, which can cause irreparable damage to the hair, specifically the edges of the hairline. At the salon, we encourage the regular maintenance of the weave and the timely removal and conditioning of the natural hair underneath.

In speaking to Deidre Jackson, stylist at Salon Studios Los Angeles and owner of Tymless Hair Extensions, her hairline is meant to offer affordable luxury in a time when extensions are a monetary sacrifice. The trend she believes will continue as long as the stylist is educated on the dangers of poor weaving techniques and maintenance. The consumer will also need education in her opinion as she quotes, “too much of anything is not good.”

So the question is: to weave or not to weave? If you wear a weave are

you abandoning your roots? I think not with the cultural disposition to changing our look, or the use of weaves by some women to transition from relaxed to natural hair. Does your man love you with a weave? I’ve been told my male clients at my cigar lounge, “I don’t care as long as it looks good.”

Behind The Beauty with Nichol Goff

Nicole Goff is the owner/operator of Runway Lashes Cosmetic & Beauty Spa, a full service salon offering eyelashes, hair care and styling, eyebrows, nails, pedicures, makeup, waxing and massages. They are located at 5589 W. Manchester Avenue in Inglewood. For more information, call (424) 702-5580



L.A. Focus/January 2017

rian White is not one to waste words. The film and television actor who has been paired on screen with powerhouse talents as Angela Bassett, Teraji P. Henson, Tyler Perry and Kerry Washington says he governs about every facet of his life with two defining core values: “honesty and integrity.” Having played opposite Henson in the 2009 film I Can Do Bad All by Myself, White, 41, hasn’t done too bad establishing himself in Hollywood. His filmography lists key roles in movies such as: The Family Stone, Daddy’s Little Girl, Stomp the Yard, Mr. 3000 which starred the late Bernie Mac, among others. Televison watchers will likely remember White from the UPN sitcom Moesha, or his more recent roles in Chicago Fire, Scandal, and TNT’s Men of A Certain Age. A Boston native, White comes from a family of achievers. His father JoJo White was a three-time championship professional basketball player for the Boston Celtics from 1969 – 1981. His grandparents attained great wealth in the 1940s as owners of 18 mortuaries, a golf course, and a fleet of Cadillacs. Even before getting his break in Hollywood (as a featured extra in The Best Man), White played professional football for the New England Patriots and professional lacrosse for the Boston Blazers. A torn hamstring forced him to retire early. In between his pro sports stint and acting, White worked as New York stockbroker on Wall Street where he learned several lessons about gaining and sustaining wealth. “I come from a faith-based Christian family and raised with the belief that all of our blessings are [because of] the grace of God.” White’s mother is an avid churchgoer, his paternal grandfather was a traveling preacher–who founded a Baptist church in St. Louis, Missouri–and he has an uncle and a cousin who are both pastors as well. “The role models and examples I always had in church were humble folks, all about the Word [and] helping people...,” he explained. “These were the ones who taught me the importance of faith, hard work and integrity.” With the potential of becoming Hollywood’s next leading man, White’s on-screen work spans an array of motifs. He’s most notably cast in roles as the desirable lover


Brian White

in projects (Only for One Night, Mr. & Mrs. Jones, And Then There Was You) that are laced with steamy kissing and romance scenes alongside woman who are not usually married to the character he portrays. White said he accepts some of the questionable characters because of the film’s subject matter and how it sets the stage for important conversation. “I begged Tyler Perry for a year-and-a-half to play that role (Randy in I Can Do Bad All by Myself) because of the message,” he says. “I did it to try to get closer to the truth about what it is that attracts women to bad boys and to put out a cautionary tale against those who really are bad boys. I also wanted to be on the speaking tour with Tyler to have the opportunity to go to schools and radio stations to talk about these topics. Regardless if I’m playing a good character or a bad [guy] I stand by the message of each project I’ve been in.” White placed an explanation on his personal website stating, “My goal is to seek roles with which I feel a strong personal connection and see some social significance. Ideally, my work will inspire discussion among [the project’s] viewing audience. My promise to myself—whether the platform be film, TV or theater, is to attempt to seek out material that is challenging: mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.” In remaining true to that challenge, White accepted a leading role in Media, a riveting made-for-television drama slated to air this year on TV One. “My character (Michael Jones) is the one who doesn’t want to be a part of the dirty family business,” describes White. “He wants to be a quote unquote clean politician.” With more than a half-dozen new film and TV projects in the making, nothing is more priority than being a man of his word to the two ladies he keeps as close to him as his schedule will allow. Paula Da SilvaWhite, his wife of six years and their almost three-year-old daughter Layla, he says are “evidence of the grace of God.” “Paula is my very best friend. She’s me if I were a woman. From the moment I met her God showed me that this person was special…I remember waking up after we fell asleep watching a movie and a voice said to me, ‘That’s your wife!’” Although some will still consider him relatively new at being head of household, White is determined to succeed as a dedicated family man. He shared how, in part, what motivates him is the fact that even though his parents divorced before he entered kindergarten, he never felt like a victim of their separation because they meticulously ensured his father remained an integral part of his upbringing

and his mother only spoke positively of his dad. White is the oldest of six children – the only boy with five younger sisters. He celebrates his mother for the job she did as a single parent, but he also confessed that having no other male in the house “was a blessing and a lot of work!” “I had to come home quite a few at times and lay down the law–being that big brother and protector,” he said. “One of the biggest blessings in my entire life was learning how to use words. I grew up in a house full of women and I’m the eldest so I had to use restraint. I had

I was struggling with whether I wanted to be cool or just be down for a ride. All of sudden I hear this voice, and it’s God saying, ‘Boy get out of the car.’ I said, ‘Stop, guys, I got to go.’ They pulled over,I got out and caught the bus home. All the young men got arrested that night and two of them are now dead...”

to learn how to communicate with five vastly different personalities and that really prepared me for life.” In his youth, White demonstrated a lot promise in sports. He had professional athletes and coaches for mentors who stressed the value in earning a good education first. Those influences would prove important to the Dartmouth College graduate, but they didn’t deter him from wrong choices. White reflects on what he calls his “boys in the hood moment” when as a freshman a few fellow high school peers invited him for car ride. “I was struggling with whether I wanted to be cool or just be down for a ride,” he said. “All of sudden I hear this voice, and it’s God saying, ‘Boy get out of the car.’ I said, “Stop, stop, guys, I got to go.” They pulled over, I got out and caught the bus home.” According to White, all the young men got arrested that night and two of them are now dead. “I didn’t have many friends like that, but I was just in the wrong car on the wrong night,” he exhales. “By the saving grace of God I heard that voice and listened to it above and beyond the music that was bumping in the car.” White continues, “There have been several moments when God has spoken to me loud and clear and saved me from making huge, huge, mistakes. Saving grace is God looking out for you.” Looking back at his youth White believes that it was God preparing him to become the husband, father and public figure he is today—and why he’s a such a hardliner for truth. “I think anybody and everyone I have ever interacted with, they might not like me, but they trust me and they know I’m going to tell them the truth,” White insists. “People know what they are going to get when they get Brian White. Everyday. Consistently. 247. I think I’m overly honest, which has bitten me in the butt, but has enabled me to get to where I currently am in Hollywood.”

L.A. Focus On The Word January 2017  
L.A. Focus On The Word January 2017