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CHURCH NEWS: First AME Wins FIve Year Battle Over Control of CDC PAGE



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Cocoa Brown

Sometimes your destiny finds you.” That, in a nutshell, >> is how Farah “Cocoa” Brown says she came to be one of TV’s most talented comics...


UPFRONT: Gas Tax and Vehicle Fees Could Benefit Minority Businesses



The Black Leadership AIDS Crisis Coalition (BLACC), is an initiative of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) developed to create a coalition of AfricanAmerican cultural influencers and health advocates who will promote sexual health and revolutionize outreach to the African-American community on the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

With locations in over 38 countries worldwideâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;including the U.S., Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe, AHF provides medical care and/or services to more than 800,000 individuals around the globe. In addition to promoting STD/HIV prevention, testing and treatment regardless of oneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s availability to pay through its international network of healthcare centers, AHF pharmacies and mobile testing units, AHF is committed to being a global voice for sexual health and wellness through ongoing media and public awareness campaigns that grab attention and authentically connect with target audiences. Stay connected at

For more information, contact Chair of AHF BLACC Faith Committee:

World AIDS Day is December 1, 2017


L.A. Focus Publications

November 2017

Left: Representative Karen Bass, Tracey Alston and Dr. Ian Smith at the First Ladies Health Initiative; Middle: The Living Legends Foundation Honorees (l-r) Larry Jackson, Tyrone Williams, Don Jackson, Morace Landy, Varnell Johnson, Steve Crumbley. Standing: (l-r) Brad Davidson, LLF founder Ray Harris, Siedah Garrett, MonicaAlexander, Kendall Minter, Patricia Shields, Jon Platt, Miller London, Skip Dillard, Tony Gray, Sam Weaver, Colleen Wilson, A.J. Savage, LLF Chairman David C. Linton, Kathi Moore, Marcus Grant, C.C. Evans; Right: Maxine Waters poses with Jesse Jackson at his 72nd birthday gala at the Beverly Hilton.





Who Pays What in Taxes?

From The Editor “The Trump Effect” Gas Tax and Vehicle Fees Bump May Benefit State’s Black and Minority Business Owners/New NAACP President Renews Call for Moratorium on Charter Schools/BAPAC Elects New President

7 8

Head to Head Debating The Weinstein Effect

Headlines From Africa Money Matters Cutting the Cord to Save Money

Biz News Briefs NAACP Issues Travel Advisory for American Airlines The Reef Gets Green Light Go-Ahead

On The Money

Freezing Credit to Protect Your Identity


Feature Story

The War Against Black Women Under Trump Administration


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Inside Hollywood Can’t Get Enough of Gabrielle Union Family Matters

One On One Tessa Thompson

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CeCe Winans Named Gospel Artist of The Year/To Receive Spirit Award at First Ladies High Tea Marvin Sapp Gets Close Mary Mary Star Defends Vote for Trump, (But Doesn’t Stand With Him)

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Commentary The Highest Gas Tax Increase in the State’s History Was No Treat


alifornia braces for the enactment of the highest gasoline tax in the state’s history; a combined 0.32 cents per gallon (12 cents on gasoline and 20 cents on diesel gas) on November 1, 2017, making it’s gas prices the second highest in the nation. November 1 is also the date that the seasonal surcharge for California’s reformulated gasoline summer blend ends, which would have amounted to a saving of several extra cents per gallon for Californians. As such, we will not feel the full impact of this increase right away. However, like a ton of bricks, the new gas tax increase will eventually work out to approximately $1,200 less discretionary income per family. In addition to the current annual vehicle licensing fee, Californians will also see a new transportation improvement fee, ranging from $25 to $175 effective January 1, 2018. Also, zero-emission vehicles will be accessed an additional $100 road improvement fee, effective July 1, 2020. These taxes could not come at a worst time as President Trump proposes to cut California Community Block Grant Funds for housing, job training, education, pre-disaster mitigation, and counterterrorism funding to California, placing an even greater strain on California’s volatile revenues, disproportionate spending growth, mounting debts, and inadequate infrastructure, such as water. Moreover, these regressive taxes contribute to poverty and economic, academic, and health disparities. A Federal Reserve Board of Governors’ 2015 report found that state excise and sales taxes on gas and goods increase income inequality because even though these are consumed by the rich and poor alike, poorer households tend to pay greater shares of their income on these taxes. Is there no end? Over the past eight years California has enacted $244 billion in new taxes and fees according to Board of Equalization Member Jerome Horton. A Tax Foundation study that compared the 50 states across the major tax types that make up a state tax burden found that California is first in the nation for: the highest marginal individual income tax rate at 13.3%; the highest tax rate for the middle class at 9.3%; and the highest statewide sales tax rate at 7.25%. Because California has the highest income and sales taxes in the nation, the proposed elimination of federal deductions for state and local taxes will hit California’s middle income and poor the hardest. Not to mention the proposed federal reductions to Medicaid and Medicare, Community Development Block Grant funds, and other job creation and poverty prevention programs—all to fund a tax cut for the wealthiest.

From the Editor “The Trump Effect”



Disagreement escalates into dehumanization. Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions — forgetting the image of God we should see in each other.” Just last month, Javier Corralez, an Amherst College political science professor, wrote an op-ed for the New York Times, characterizing the president’s agenda as “polarize and conquer.” “The president of the United States”, he wrote, “is now certifiably our “hater in chief.” Lashing out at people is what he seems to do best and enjoy most. Twitter, we now know, is his weapon of choice.” Efforts to get Trump to stop tweeting and start leading have failed. Among those targeted have been black women. In April, it was former national security adviser Susan Rice. In September, the president called for the firing of ESPN’s Jemele Hill. Last month, he targeted the grieving wife of fallen U.S. Green Beret soldier, implying she’d lied, while full on attacking the family’s friend and advocate, Florida Congresswoman Federica Wilson, calling her “wacky” as his Chief of Staff John Kelly subsequently referred to her as an “empty barrel”. The Washington Post reported, “In Trump’s response to Myeshia Johnson, many black women see a pattern”. That troubling pattern is examined in this month’s feature story from Jasmyne Cannick, an L.A.-based political commentator whose view from the front lines of what’s happening in Los Angeles is always compelling. As always, there’s lots of political news and inspiring testimony. But as we prepare for Thanksgiving later this month, I wanted to thank all of you for your continued support. I spoke last week at an event and shared my brother’s story. A successful dancer on Broadway in 2002—performing in the cast of “Aida”, starring Toni Braxton—he was admitted in critical condition with cryptococcal meningitis, a complication of HIV. Just like that, his career was over and in the near yearlong battle to save his life, his wife left him. While he’d survived the physical crisis and had a supportive network that included family, best friend Lenny Kravitz and the fervent prayers of a host of prayer warriors, he became so despondent at one point that he’d planned to throw himself in front of a train. It was only when he began to look at others around him who were worse off that he began to count his blessings. Today, 15 years later, he’s living his best life and offers positive daily affirmations on his social media. Keep the faith.

L.A. Focus/November 2017

iving under a president who has no filter comes with its own jarring set of consequences, not the least of which is the rise of animus across the nation, be it Democratic against Republican, haves against have nots, or more strikingly the rise in hatred broken down across racial lines. By all accounts, with the rise of Donald’s Trump’s popularity has come an explosion of bigotry with news outlets across the country ripe with reports of hate fueled acts of violence and intimidation, racist taunts, cross burnings and even swastikas. Last month in New Hampshire, a biracial nine-year old was hospitalized after being strung up in a tree by classmates in what some have described as a racially motivated attempt at lynching. The L.A. Times reported in May, “There’s a virus in our country: The Trump Effect and rise of hate groups.” In June, the New York Times opined on “The Scope of Hate” in 2017 with the incidents cited including the vandalism of an L.A. home owned by LeBron James with racial slurs, prompting James to publicly state, “Hate in America, especially for African-Americans, is living every day.” The facts are alarming. Hate crimes in nine metropolitan cities rose more than 20% last year with Washington D.C. spiking at over 50%, fueled by the presidential campaign. That post election spike has persisted through 2017. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) documented 867 bias-related incidents in the 10 days following the presidential election, calling it a "national outbreak of hate," and "the predictable result of the campaign waged." Growing tension over Trump’s unfiltered war of words with anyone who comes against him or opposes his agenda is also reflected in the rise of acrimony and incivility in politics. Resistance movements are popping up around the country and calls for impeachment are on the rise. Billionaire Tom Steyer waged an open call for Trump’s impeachment with an aggressive TV ad campaign and a petition that has already garnered a million signatures. According to a new poll from Politico, 43% of Americans believe the president should be removed from office before 2020 when his term ends. With the deepening of polarization in American politics, U.S. News and World Reports dubbed Trump as the “most polarizing president”. “Instead of our politics reflecting our values, we’ve got politics infecting our communities,” stated former president Barack Obama at a gubernatorial campaign rally last month. “Instead of looking for ways to work together to get things done, we’ve got folks deliberately trying to make folks angry, to demonize people who have different ideas, to get the base all riled up because it provides a short-term tactical advantage.” Observed former president George W. Bush: “We have seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. At times, it can seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together. Argument turns too easily into animosity.

Because Californians are not aware of the cumulative effect of these allegedly wellmeaning tax increases, voters often lose sight of the devastating impacts they have. At the local level, in November 2016, voters passed 80% of the unprecedented 452 tax increases and 97% of the 184 bond measures placed on the ballot by California local governments and special districts. The high taxes are causing an exodus of the middle class and a perpetuation of poverty as 1 in 4 Californians live below the poverty line. According to the IRS, there is a larger net exodus of people 35 to 54 and among those making between $100,000 and $200,000 annually. California is quickly becoming the state of the “haves and have nots.” Housing alone absorbs up to 70% of the income for the poor and middle class Californians and the 405 freeway remains crowded because more people are working two jobs; and both parents and children often have to work to maintain a household in California. This makes the unemployment numbers 5.0% in California and 4.6 % in Los Angeles look good until you realize that unemployment among Blacks is 7.5%, for Latinos it is 6.3 %, and among Asians it is 3.3%. Additionally, income for California’s middle class and poor is declining. A 24/7 Wall Street study on “States Where the Middle Class Is Dying,” found that of the average pre-tax income earned by the middle 20% of earners in each state, California ranked first in the country for middle class income that declined the most. A subsequent analysis between 2010 and 2014 showed that the income among middle class California households continued to fall while the state’s top 20% of state earners grew by 5.6%. The middle class is moving closer to the bottom, not the middle. Sure, California taxes the richest 1%, but the impact on them is not as severe. Taxes are necessary for a safe community, quality schools, and a clean environment, and should be used to stimulate sustainable jobs. However, the majority of California’s new taxes and the proposed federal cuts will disproportionately affect California’s poor and middle class, whose communities are often impacted the most by crime, pollution, educational challenges, and unemployment. While the more affluent may benefit from the proposed state and federal tax policies; they will cause the vast majority of women and people of color, especially African Americans, to continue to suffer with less discretionary income, higher unemployment, excessive health disparities, substandard educational opportunities; greater homelessness, poor housing, excessive crime and more pollutants in our communities. Clearly these excessive taxes should not be placed on the shoulders of poor people.


UpFront Gas Tax and Vehicle Fees Bump May Benefit State’s Black and Minority Business Owners

looming hike on the price of gasoline and new vehicle registration fees that will pay for improving the Golden State’s crumbling roadways will send millions of dollars of infrastructure work to minority and women-owned agencies and firms. State Senator Steve Bradford, a Los Angeles-area legislator, said in an Aug. 17 interview with California Black Media that state leaders aim for 25 percent of funds from Senate Bill 1, a $52.4 billion transportation bill, to be awarded to Black, Hispanic, women, veteran and other minority-owned businesses that specialize in roadwork and tasks related to improving California’s ailing streets and highways. To fund the revitalization work, SB 1, also known as The Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, will increase the state gasoline tax from 12 to 30 cents a gallon over the next decade and create new vehicle license fees on traditional and zero-emission cars. Bradford said the state’s infrastructure has been neglected for 25 years, so improvement is needed, but the main benefit of the bill are the funds that will flow to businesses from traditionally disenfranchised backgrounds. “The part that got me to say ‘yes’ in voting for this was making sure that diversity was part of this program,” said Bradford, one of 11 members of the California Legislative Black Caucus. “We cannot continue to talk about the job opportunities and the economic growth it will bring if it doesn’t touch all sectors, all ethnic groups.” According to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the gas tax law will provide


L.A. Focus/November 2017

LOS ANGELES - Equitable education is a top priority for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which re-emphasized its call for a moratorium on charter school expansion during its California Hawaii 30th Annual State Convention at the LAX Marriott Hotel in Los Angeles Oct. 26-29. The NAACP contends that charter schools divert already-limited funds from public schools, without the same levels of oversight, civil rights protections, and transparency. It wants stronger oversight in governance and practice in the system. In California, of the 175,000 Black students who took the math test for 2017, six percent exceeded state standards, 13 percent met standards, 25 percent ‘nearly' met standards, and 56 percent did not, according to the California Department of Education. In English/Language Arts, 44 percent of the 175,000 Blacks tested did not meet state standards, while 25 percent nearly passed, 22 percent passed, and 9 percent exceeded them. During an invitation-only stakeholders meeting on Oct. 26, CBM sought new NAACP President Derrick Johnson's thoughts on calling for a moratorium on charter schools, when some families are finding success in these schools. While not all traditional schools are failing, Black children are suffering greatly in traditional schools, not


State Senator Steve Bradford with Governor Jerry Brown and GLAAACC President Angela Gibson an ongoing funding increase of about $1.8 billion annually for maintenance and reworking of California’s highway system, including $400 million for bridges and culverts. The new transportation act, aimed at tackling a mountainous sum or road repair backlog, will also direct monies to local jurisdictions. The price for a gallon of gas will jump up 12 cents beginning on Nov. 1 and add 20 cents per gallon to the tax on diesel under SB 1. The annual vehicle registration costs, at the start of 2018 will be $25 for cars worth under $5,000, $50 for cars worth between $5,000 and $25,000 and at least $175 for vehicles valued over $25,000. Also under the law, owners of zero-emission vehicles will have to pay a yearly $100 vehicle registration fee beginning in 2020. Bradford said he supported SB 1, signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in April, because of the work opportunities it will bring. “If we are going to ask drivers who uti-

New NAACP President Renews Call for Moratorium on Charter Schools


News Briefs


We began to notice a trend with charter schools. We're clear that anytime you put a profit motive behind the delivery of education there are individuals who would put profit above people,"

just from a lack of education, but from criminalization through various disciplinary measures (such as random backpack searches, suspensions, and expulsions), CBM noted. "The NAACP will continue to advocate for quality education for our children. We began to notice a trend with charter schools. We're clear that anytime you put a profit motive behind the delivery of education there are individuals who would put profit above people," Johnson replied. As a result, he said the organization's position is clear. It is calling for a moratorium on charter schools, because of the privatization of schools and the lack of transparency in their operations. Particularly, Johnson said, the NAACP is looking at the impact of how charters operate across the country, which varies under state laws. "You have scenarios like in Detroit, where the authorizing board, you have 16 of them. There is no standardization. There is no transparency in their governance. And in some cases, we found that

lize California roads to pay an extra 12 cents per gallon and promise billions of dollars for infrastructure,” he said, “some of that must reach minority trucking firms, minority engineering firms, real estate firms, architectural firms, all those types of services that will be needed to build and repair those roads.” Brown harped on how the bill would bolster businesses owned by minorities, women and veterans earlier this summer. The governor linked the push for more diversity in California infrastructure spending to a move toward general social equality in the U.S. “This work is part of the larger challenge of making a more equal society and that takes working on many fronts, and we’re going to do that with the money coming to our roads and bridges,” Brown said. Caltrans says the additional revenue will enable the repair of 17,000 lane miles of pavement, 500 bridges and 55,000 culGas tax continued to page 24

BAPAC Elects New President  Sacramento, Calif. – The Black American Political Association of California (BAPAC) elected a new interim president during their state convention held in Sacramento from October 20-21. San Diego Chapter president Dr. Willie P. Blair was selected to serve the nearly 40 year-old organization founded by the late Percy Pinkey, a longtime aide to U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein who created the organization when he and several other Blacks were appointees during Governor Jerry Brown first term. "It is truly my honor to have been recently elected as state president of BAPAC,” said Blair. “Our African American men and women of good conscious have longed for a statewide organization that would ensure that Black people participated fully and successfully in the economic, political, and social fabric of this nation's greatest state. They are now at the precipice of achieving that great vision and opportunity.” The conference—themed "Making An Impact in 2018"—references the founding mission of BAPAC and the importance of the Blacks involved with influencing public policy and politics. Convention goers had the opportunity to participate in workshops from Black Minds Matter, California's Cannabis Industry, Plight of Veterans, and Climate Change. BAPAC continued to page 24

Black Business Leaders To Form Super Pac To Effect Political Change Come 2018, a group of powerful black business execs and corporate leaders will be pooling their collective funds, resources and clout to become political players to effect change. The plan—to organize around core political and social issues—was the brainchild of Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris along with former attorney general Eric Holder Jr., who came up with the idea over dinner in the Hamptons. “What we’ve been doing is just writing checks for years, and we don’t know what happened” after the money was given,” said Infor CEO Charles Phillips, who is one of the organizers. “We’ve got to learn from the Koch brothers, do what they do, have them sign pledges.” Goals of the group include combating racism and promoting equality. Ten core leaders will meet twice monthly in New York City to build a super PAC that will both host events and run political ads. A federal PAC will be launched in order to support candidates (from either party who support their goals) as well as a 501(c)(4) group.

Colin Kaepernick Lands Book Deal; Could Soon Be Signed, Says Attorney Last month, Sports Illustrated reported that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick signed a book deal with Random House worth upwards of $1 million. But Kaepernick—who has been working the Know Your Rights campaign he started to raise awareness on self-empowerment and dealing with law enforcement—has not given up on football, even though he’s yet to be signed to a team halfway through the season. But according to his attorney, Mark Geragos, that could soon change. The attorney, who filed a collusion lawsuit against the NFL owners, alleging they conspired to keep him out of the league, believes that Kaepernick could be signed sooner than later. “I think somebody’s gonna sign him. I think the NFL has to come to their sense and realize every day that goes by just proves the collusion case even more,” Geragos said during a recent appearance on the Adam Carolla Show. Kaepernick was the first NFL player to kneel during the national anthem and is credited with the movement that has shaken up the NFL. Two teams had earlier expressed interest, but subsequently decided to pass. "If the NFL (as well as all professional sports leagues) is to remain a meritocracy, then principled and peaceful political protest which the owners themselves made great theatre imitating weeks ago - should not be punished and athletes should not be denied employment”, Geragos said in a statement released on social media last month.

Debating The Weinstein Effect

n the wake of the Harvey managed to push him away. Yes, Weinstein Weinstein scandal, former Not only did the left's social Secretary of State Hillary Accusers Are Brave - justice warriors refuse to - So Were Jones, Clinton, among others, support her feminist Gloria Willey and praised the Weinstein accusers Steinem actually defended Broaddrick for their "courage." For decades, Clinton! Days after Willey's Weinstein, a big Democratic appearance, Steinem wrote, donor who could make or break Hollywood "Even if (Willey's) allegations are true, the careers, apparently preyed on young President is not guilty of sexual harasswomen. Over 30 women have now come ment. ... (Willey) pushed him away, she forth, with five alleging rape. said, and it never hapBut where were Hollywood's social jus- pened again. In other tice warriors the last 30 years? words, President After all, Hollywood insiders call Clinton took 'no' for an Weinstein's behavior Hollywood's worst answer." Incredible. kept secret. The television series J u a n i t a "Entourage," based on the world of Broaddrick, on Hollywood agents, portrayed an obnoxious, "Dateline NBC," browbeating character, Harvey Weingard, accused Clinton of rapclearly based on Weinstein. On NBC's ing her when he was Larry Elder series "30 Rock," one character made the Arkansas attorney following joke: "I turned down intercourse general and a gubernatorial candidate: "I with Harvey Weinstein on no less than first pushed him away. I just told him 'no.' three occasions—out of five." ... He tries to kiss me again. He starts bitAt the 2013 Oscar awards show, host ing on my lip. ... And then he forced me Seth MacFarlane, after reading the names down on the bed. I just was very frightened. of the five nominees in the supporting I tried to get away from him. I told him 'no.' actress category, joked, "Congratulations. ... He wouldn't listen to me." You five ladies no longer have to pretend to Broaddrick also claims that two weeks be attracted to Harvey Weinstein." Today after the alleged rape, Hillary Clinton verMacFarlane says, "I couldn't resist the bally intimidated her. According to opportunity to take a hard swing in his Broaddrick, Hillary approached her at a direction," after his friend, actress Jessica political event: "She came over to me, took Barth, confided that she had been sexually ahold of my hand and said, 'I've heard so harassed by Weinstein in his hotel room in much about you and I've been dying to 2011. meet you. ... I just want you to know how So, many in the Hollywood industry much that Bill and I appreciate what you said and did nothing—until now. The do for him.' ... (Hillary Clinton) took ahold courageous women coming forward deserve of my hand and squeezed it and said, 'Do praise and encouragement for speaking you understand? Everything that you do.' I out. But where was this support for the could have passed out at that moment, and accusers of Bill and Hillary Clinton? I got my hand from hers and I left. ... She Former Arkansas staffer Paula Jones was just holding onto my hand. Because I accused then-governor and presidential had started to turn away from her and she candidate Bill Clinton of sexual harass- held onto my hand and she said, 'Do you ment. Clinton aide James Carville famous- understand? Everything that you do,' I ly said, "If you drag a hundred-dollar bill mean, cold chills went up my spine. That's through a trailer park, you never know the first time I became afraid of that what you'll find." Jones said she sought woman." help from the National Organization for What was the media's response to Women, but they refused to support her. Broaddrick's accusation? Kathleen Willey, on "60 Minutes," It appears that the only national described being a victim of alleged sexual reporter to ever ask Bill Clinton about battery by Clinton in the Oval Office. Broaddrick's allegations was Sam Willey, a Clinton campaign volunteer, says Donaldson. After Donaldson's question, that Clinton took her hand and placed it on Clinton said, "I have decided ... that I his aroused genitalia: "He touched my would allow all future questions to be breasts with his hand ... and then he whis- answered by my attorneys." Donaldson pered ... 'I've wanted to do this ever since I quickly tried again, asking the thenlaid eyes on you.' ... He took my hand, and President to "simply deny it." Clinton he put it ... on his genitals." Willey said she


Larry Elder continued to page 24

Headlines From Africa


Larry Elder continued to page 22

A look at current news from the continent of Africa Asian country's businesses were still thriving in Namibia. Nigeria: Bauchi State Water Board has denied rumors being circulated that it pumped out untreated water for public consumption, calling the rumor malicious, unfounded and untrue. General Manager (GM) of the Board, Engineer Aminu Aliyu Gital debunked the allegation in talks with journalists in his office. "I am inviting anybody to our water treatment plant to come and see how we treat our waters before pumping it to the public for domestic use," he said. Sierra Leone: The University of Oxford recently honored Christian Cole, its first black student with a plaque. Cole was from Sierra Leone and he studied Classics, and he was called to the Bar in 1883, becoming the first African barrister to practice Law in the English courts. In 1873 a 21year-old student from Waterloo, Sierra Leone became the first black student at Oxford University. His name was Christian Cole. In 2017, 144 years later, Cole is being honored with a plaque. Tanzania: President John Magufuli appointed Professor Florens Luoga as the new Bank of Tanzania (BoT) governor. The President revealed this during a ceremony to hand over certificates of appreciation to the members of the team that negotiated an agreement between the government and Barrick Gold Mining Corporation following a mineral export dispute. Prof. Luoga will take over from Professor Benno Ndulu, whose second five-year term expires in January 2018. Zambia: Lusaka has been hit by a cholera outbreak with the first signs of rain. The cholera incidences have reached 17 with two more cases reported in Lusaka's Kanyama Township. Cholera in Zambia is an annual problem although the public may be concerned that with the rain season barely commencing the capital city has already fallen. The affected are Chipata, Mazyopa, Kabanana and Kanyama Townships. Zimbabwe: Seventeen cases of typhoid have been confirmed at Matapi Flats in Mbare and authorities have since set up a 24-hour clinic to manage patients. The city's director for health services, Dr Prosper Chonzi, told ZBC News that 12 patients have since been transferred to Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospitals (BRIDH). "So far, we have confirmed 17 cases of typhoid," said Dr Chonzi.

L.A. Focus/November 2017

Angola: Angola's National Reserve Bank (BNA) sales reached 226.3 million Euros in one week, equivalent to 252.9 million U.S. dollars, the financial institution has announced. The source, which put at 85 percent the increase, stressed that the aforementioned amount was allotted to the operations of various sectors. The average US dollar exchange rate of the primary foreign exchange market was USD = AKZ 166,748 and EUR = AKZ 186,302. Cameroon: Cameroon's Anglophone crisis has entered a new and intensified phase. In order to prevent the outbreak of an armed uprising, Cameroon's president must go beyond superficial measures by urgently implementing key reforms and pursuing inclusive, highlevel dialogue mediated by the UN or African Union. Congo: The number people displaced internally by the conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo has doubled to 3,9 million in the past two years. Some 428 000 of these having been displaced in the past three months alone while over the past year, some 100 000 Congolese have fled to neighboring countries as refugees. With widespread militia activities as well as unrest and violence fueled by ethnic and political conflict affecting many areas, the risk of further displacement is high. Ethiopia: In the midst of a Forex currency crisis, the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) has devalued Birr by 15pc and raised the interest rate by two percentage points to seven percent. The devaluation pegs the Ethiopian Birr at 26.91 to the dollar, up from 23.40 Br on the official market. Liberia: Famous radio talk show host Henry Costa narrowly escaped mob action by angry traders on Mechlin Street in Central Monrovia whom he believes are members of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC). Mr. Sam Mannah, spokesman to Senator George Weah said he believes those who carried out the attack were aggrieved citizens expressing their disenchantment against Costa. Namibia: The Windhoek-based government confirmed that its last report to the United Nations on phasing out North Korean trade activities in Namibia was submitted on April 8, contrary to a report by North American news network CNN that claimed the

t has been one year since The abuser-in-chief the infamous Access Trump Is the Weinstein places disrespect for women Of the Federal Hollywood tape surfaced, at the center of all he does. Government, So When This administration has in which Donald Trump Will His Time Come? bragged about grabbing been one of toxic masculinity women “by the pu**y.” Since that time, and white male supremacy, with an oversexual harassment and assault allegations whelmingly white-male cabinet, except for have brought down media mogul Harvey a handful of token women, a few pathetic Weinstein and other powerful men such as Negroes and honorary whites. Bill O’Reilly, formerly of Fox News. Trump and his enablers assault But Trump was women every single day—in the Oval elected president, per- Office and in the West Wing, through their haps because of, and policies, and the statements coming from a not in spite of, his well- most misogynist pig of a president and the publicized record as a backwater lackeys who serve as his sexual abuser and mouthpieces. harasser. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Trump even reversed President Barack Obama’s guidewon a majority of lines on campus sexual assault investigawhite women voters, in tions, because she believes the old rules David A. Love an election where white “lacked basic elements of fairness” and skin solidarity was a clarion call. were skewed heavily in favor of female Apparently, whiteness meant far more to accusers. This weakening of sexual viomost of these voters than their self- lence protections for college rape victims is respect. Even today, a new poll found that only the tip of the iceberg. while 61 percent of Republicans and 69 The Department of Health and percent of Democrats believe the allega- Human Services has refused to allow a 17tions against Weinstein, only 18 percent of year old undocumented pregnant teen to Republicans say the claims against Trump have an abortion. The girl crossed the borare credible, versus 69 percent of der with Mexico and was detained by fedDemocrats. eral authorities in Texas. With one of the women accusing The White House has put together a Trump of sexual assault recently subpoe- wish list of extremist and ignorant policies naing his campaign, it is clear this issue is that amount to warfare against women’s not going away—not for Trump in particu- health and reproductive rights, including lar, and not for society in general. “Make slashes to federal funding for family planAmerica Great Again” has been a night- ning, teen pregnancy prevention and birth mare for women who are triggered by control for low-income women, in favor of Trump and all he encompasses. Other men bogus “fertility awareness,” known as the are beginning to topple over the weight of rhythm method, and abstinence-only edusexual violence allegations against them. cation. These programs prevent 1 million When will Trump’s turn come? unintended pregnancies, and eliminating The Steele dossier–compiled by them will be a setback for gender equity. British spy Christopher Steele, which is a Black women particularly bear the part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s brunt of Trump’s attacks, which is popular investigation—claims Russian intelligence among his racist and sexist supporters. We has compromised Trump through his “per- could not expect any less from those who verted sexual acts” which were arranged had eight years of practice denigrating and and monitored by Russia’s FSB, the new disrespecting the Obama family, including version of the KGB. “TRUMP’s unorthodox First Lady Michelle Obama, and their behavior in Russia over the years has pro- daughters Sasha and Malia. Sean Spicer vided the authorities there with enough told journalist April Ryan, “Stop shaking embarrassing material…to be able to your head,” while Trump called for ESPN blackmail him if they so wished,” the to fire Jemele Hill for calling him a white dossier said. supremacist, which he is. Last year, a woman filed a lawsuit And White House Chief of Staff John alleging Trump and convicted pedophile Kelly said he longs for the days when and billionaire Jeffrey Epstein raped her women were sacred, as he called Rep. when she was 13. The woman dropped the Federica Wilson an “empty barrel” and lawsuit on Nov. 4—just days before elec- lied about her role in an FBI building dedtion day– due to death threats.



On the Money

Cutting the Cord to Save Money


ith the costs of cable TV averaging $103 per month according to Fortune Magazine, many consumers have been finding relief by cutting the cord and investing in streaming services. For years, Comcast, Spectrum and Time Warner Cable have had a monopoly on premium channels with exclusive rights to channels such as AMC, History Channel or A&E. These days, there are more options and viewing doesn’t requires a cable subscription. Companies like DirecTV Now, fuboTV, Sling TV and PlayStation Vue offer various trimmed down bundles of cable channels over the Internet for prices as little as $20 per month. Also, hooking up a regular TV antennas can get viewers a high definition feed of local channels with the option to record the free programming with a HDHomeRun tuner , a TiVo OTA DVR or Tablo 2 tuner. There are a plethora of options for streaming. Consumers just need to know what’s out there. Internet speed, however, is a factor. Netflix and other similar streaming video services suggest downstream speeds of 5Mbps, but that’s not going to be sufficient, especially for those families that want to stream more than one program at a time. For services like Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon, a broadband plan with least 25Mbps is the best place to start. If you’re only going to be downloading 4K content from sites like FandangoNow or Ultraflix, 10Mbps will probably suffice. Either way, fast and reliable internet is key to avoid buffering while streaming. Costs start out at $35 to $100 for the fastest speeds. Among the most popular streaming services are: Dish Network’s Sling TV: Sling offers two basic channel packages, Sling Orange ($20/month) and Sling Blue ($25/month). PlayStation Vue: The basic channel package starts at $30 and tops out at $65 a month. There are no contracts

and there is a cloud DVR included. Some standalone channels can be added and a free 5-day trial is available. DirecTV NOW offers four streaming packages. The cheapest is Live a Little, which provides 60 plus channels for just $35. The priciest package tier is called Gotta Have It, and tops the channel count to over 120 for $70 per month. DirecTV Now also offers HBO and Cinemax for just $5. YouTube TV has a single streaming package at $35 per month for 45 channels. It includes all four major networks (ABC, NBC, Fox, and CBS) at a reasonable price. Local affiliate programming has expanded and is now reportedly available to almost fifty percent of customers. YouTube TV also has the widest number of sports channels for the money. Watching TV on the internet is also an option, but a dedicated streaming device is the way to go. For about $99, you can pick up a Roku. With thousands of available “channels,” Roku’s platform connects to virtually every major streaming service online like Hulu and Netflix. The Apple TV device is available for $69-$200. Amazon’s Fire TV, ($50-$140) is a popular option because many people modify or “jailbreak” the device so that premium channels and content can be viewed without a subscription. Even though this carries some legal issues, consumers don’t seem to mind. Chromecast, the wildly popular streaming dongle, doesn’t have a remote or on-screen menu, but it lets you use your smartphone or tablet to “cast” content at your TV. While the choices can be overwhelming, a new startup launching called offers an online utility that lets consumers input which channels they want then offers a price and feature comparisons.

The World’s Richest Black Woman Isn’t Oprah Winfrey Fewer than 1% of the world’s 2,043 billionaires are black. In fact, they number just ten, according to Forbes 2017 Billionaires list, and of course, Oprah Winfrey, is among them. But Winfrey is not the richest black woman in the world. That title goes to Isabel Dos Santos of Angola, who also happens to be Africa’s wealthiest woman. Worth a reported $3.1 billion, the 44-year old daughter of Angola president Jose Eduardo dos Santos, has significant stakes in the banking, cement, diamonds and telecom industries. Dos Santos, ranked at #7, is one of three women to make the list. 66-year old Folorunso Alakija, who serves as the vice chair of Nigeria’s Famfa Oil, is worth $1.61 billion, while Winfrey ranked #6 with $3 billion. Aside from Winfrey, the only other American blacks to make the list were Michael Jordan (#9) at $1.31 billion and Vista Equity Partner’s CEO Robert Smith (#5) with $2.5 billion. So just who is the richest black man in the world? Well, that title goes to 60-year old Nigerian businessman Aliko Dangote, who—with a reported net worth of $12.2 billion—is the wealthiest man in Africa.

Isabel dos Santos

Biz NewsBriefs

L.A. Focus/November 2017

NAACP Issues Travel Advisory for American Airlines


In response to growing concerns over its treatment of blacks, the nation’s largest social justice advocacy organization has issued a travel advisory warning blacks about their safety and well being when patronizing or traveling on American Airlines flights. Among the incidents they say suggest a corporate culture of racial insensitivity and possible racial bias include an African-American man being required to relinquish his purchased seats aboard a flight from Washington, D.C. to Raleigh-Durham, merely because he respond-

ed to disrespectful and discriminatory comments directed toward him by two unruly white passengers and an African-American woman booked first-class tickets for herself and a traveling companion only to have them switched to coach at the ticket counter, while her white companion remained assigned to a first-class seat. Historically, the NAACP has issued travel advisories when conditions on the ground pose a substantial risk of harm to black Americans. “All travelers must be guaranteed the right to travel without fear of threat, violence or harm,” stated Derrick Johnson, newly elected President and CEO of the NAACP. “The growing list of incidents suggesting racial bias reflects an unacceptable corporate culture and involves behavior that cannot be dismissed as normal or random. Until these and other concerns are addressed, this national travel advisory will stand.”

The Reef Gets Green Light Go-Ahead

A $1.2 billion development that would bring more than 1,444 residential units (including affordable housing,

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condominiums, apartments), a hotel, and 10,000-squarefeet of retail space, is now poised to move forward. That, with word from Los Angeles City Councilman Curren Price that two lawsuits holding up “The Reef” development in South Los Angeles have been settled. “I am thrilled that the developer of The Reef was able to work with the community to address concerns and resolve this litigation,” said Councilman Price. “For far too long, this area of the city has been ignored. The Reef will be a transformational project that brings much-needed economic development to the Ninth District.” The Reef project was unanimously approved by the Los Angeles City Council in November 2016. One month later, Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE) and the Golden State Environmental Justice Alliance filed lawsuits against the mixed-use project in Los Angeles Superior Court. The two cases were settled out of court. The Reef project will bring housing, a hotel and retail space to the existing Reef space on Washington Boulevard, where the LA Mart, Maker City LA and Magic Box house the gift and home furnishing wholesale community as well as a diverse creative environment.

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n responding to comments from political strategist John Thomas about Rep. Frederica Wilson blasting President Donald Trump for telling the pregnant widow of a Sgt. La David Johnson killed in Niger that her 25-year-old husband “knew what he signed up for” Los Angeles KFI 640 host Bill Handel said, “I’m far more upset with her because that is a cheap affectation–she’s a cheap sleazy–ah–Democrat whore is what she is. Okay–no excuse me–I’m being too generous to her.” When Thomas, to his credit, tried to correct Handel and tone down his rhetoric, Handel repeated the slur by saying, “I would add the word whore. There are a few other words I could throw in there but I want to stay working here.” That was Friday, October 20 and by the following Monday Handel’s comments had reverberated around the country. Instead of apologizing and walking back his comments, Handel double downed by repeating the slur and saying that he should have called Congresswoman Wilson a “media whore.” KFI 640, a flagship station of the iHeartMedia conglomerate formerly known as Clear Channel with 1.5 million listeners during any given weekday, has long been known for its host’s conservative points of view including disparaging remarks about women, people of color and immigrants. In 2012, the Black Media Alliance lead a campaign after two of their hosts--John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou of the John and Ken Show--referred to Whitney Houston as a “crack ho” just days after her overdose death. For that, the duo received a one week suspension--a first for them in their broadcast history with KFI. But the slap on the wrist that John and Ken received happened five years ago and since then Donald Sterling lost the Clippers for his racist remarks, syndicated talk show host Rush Limbaugh came under fire after he referred to Sandra Fluke as a “slut” and a “prostitute” for testifying on Capitol Hill about women’s access to contraception, Bill O’Reilly was ousted from Fox News, our now President Donald Trump angered a nation with by declaring that he could grab women by their private parts and movie mogul Harvey


Weinstein’s history of sexual harassment and abuse has ushered in a new wave of women’s empowerment. During an interview on 102.3 FM KJLH with Dominique DiPrima host of the Front Page with Dominique DiPrima heard weekdays before the Steve Harvey Morning Show, Congresswoman Maxine Waters weighed in on Handel’s comments. “It’s out of control and we feel it and that’s why, you know, I organized all of the women of the Black Caucus to speak up.” Waters continued, “We think this name calling is undermining and disparaging of Black women is escalated under the leadership of this president.” Congresswoman Waters is not alone. The group Color of Change, which orchestrated the ousting of former Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly has stepped up to challenge KFI about Handel’s comments. Boasting 1.2 million members, Color of Change launched a petition asking KFI’s parent company iHeartMedia Inc. to fire Bill Handel. "After exposing Trump’s appalling and disrespectful remarks to a Gold Star widow, Myeshia Johnson, whose husband, Sgt. La David Johnson, was killed in Niger earlier this month, Rep. Wilson was repeatedly targeted by Trump and his administration," the petition states. "Emboldened by Trump, right-wing radio hosts like Bill Handel made misogynistic and degrading attacks." Christine Pelosi, Chair of the California Democratic Women’s Caucus issued a resolution on behalf of the caucus calling for Handel’s firing. “The California Democratic Party Women's Caucus unequivocally uplifts American war hero La David Johnson's family in our prayers and supports his mentor, Congresswoman Wilson, in her demand for answers about his death for our country fighting Boko Haram in Niger and we demand that iHeartRadio fire Bill Handel for his hateful, outrageous, and unacceptable insults hurled at Congresswoman Wilson and urge all to cosign the Color of Change online petition,” the resolution states. The Caucus’ Vice-Chair Carolyn Fowler added, “Those invested in white supremacy do not recognize women of color’s right to exist. Bill Handel’s vile defam-

atory remarks denigrating Congressmember Wilson came easy and without fear of reprisal. Do those words reflect the views and character of KFI and iHeartMedia? Only Bill Handel’s immediate dismissal is the acceptable response to their listening audience.” Dr. Maulana Karenga and Larry Aubry, Co-Chairs of the Black Community, Clergy and Labor Alliance (BCCLA) issued the following statement in response to Handel’s comment: The Black Community, Clergy and Labor Alliance (BCCLA) condemns in the strongest terms the recent racist and sexist verbal assault on Congresswoman Frederica Wilson by KFI radio host Bill Handel. Using the racist and sexist slur “whore” with various other degrading descriptives multiple times to attack Rep. Wilson, he would not correct himself or be corrected even after being challenged by a fellow host. His vulgar and vicious slur and accompanying rant, represent a pattern of practice he and others have engaged in over the years on KFI AM 640 which is in urgent need of being addressed and ended. In response to the social media clapback, “AM Joy” with Joy Ann Reid on MSNBC received a statement from KFI program director Robin Bertolucci--the first since Handel’s comments were made public. “This term should not be used on KFI in any context, in any relation to any woman, even though it was never intended to be gender specific. We want to personally apologize to anyone who may have been offended by Handel’s comments,” Bertolucci said. Back in 2012 after the Whitney Houston “crack ho” comment, the Los Angeles City Council approved a resolution asking Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia) and KFI’s management to put an end to the racist and sexist slurs on its public airwaves. “It is our belief that corporate action must start at the top,” then Councilwoman Jan Perry wrote in her motion, which was seconded by the then Council’s two other African American council members, Bernard C. Parks and Herb Wesson Jr. In response Clear Channel said, they "support the LA City Council resolution regarding the need for diversity of personnel, inclusionary programming, and appro-

It isn't surprising that 45 has targeted Black women for attack,” commented human rights attorney and cofounder of of Justice Warriors 4 Black Lives Nana Gyamfi. “He's a bully and a racist. White supremacy is well aware of the powerful role Black women play in challenging its power structures, and it has historically sought to sap our power by intimidation and force. These racebaiting tactics against Black women have never worked and aren’t working now. We stay reclaiming our time.”

and force. These race-baiting tactics against Black women has never worked and it isn't working now. We stay reclaiming our time.” 102.3 KJLH personality and host of the Front Page Dominique DiPrima added, “The emboldening of hate against people of color, against Black people in particular and against Black women has been encouraged under President Trump--there’s no question about it. I think if it’s allowed to escalate it becomes not just unpleasant but also dangerous. We’ve seen a rise in hate crimes and those hate crimes--at least in L.A. County--the largest rise is among gay, Black and Jewish. So what does that tell you? That’s the neo-nazi agenda being put forth and emboldened by this current administration. From Congresswoman Maxine Waters being called to task about her hairstyle to Congresswoman Wilson being called a prostitute and clowned about her clothing choices--we’re seeing a new kind of disrespect. It’s reached a new level of intensity and a new level of inappropriateness.” Veteran journalist and video producer Isidra Person-Lynn reflected, “The man in the White House has opened the floodgates when he attacks outspoken African American women like journalist April Ryan, Rep. Frederica Wilson and others--especially the southland’s own Rep. Maxine Waters. That hateful climate has exploded into a frenzy with KFI host Bill Handel calling Frederica Wilson a whore, the most derogatory term you can call any woman. Little does he know, in these black women, he’s more than met his match.” Melina Abdullah, Chair of the Pan African Studies Department at Cal State L.A. and an organizer with the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter adds, “Trump's brand of extremist White supremacist sexism has been particularly injurious to Black women, who stand at the intersection of Blackness and womanhood. Trump trots out old tropes claiming Black women's ineptitude and simultaneous defiance, that not only harm Black women rhetorically and symbolically, as with the name-calling directed towards sports journalist Jemelle Hill and Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, but whips up his supporters into an even more dangerous frenzy.” Dr. Abdullah then points to KFI’s Bill Handel. “Bill Handel's sickening and vile assault on Congresswoman Wilson, whom he called a whore on the air. Jemelle Hill was suspended and receives daily hate mail and even death threats as a result of Trump's targeting, though not the firing he called for. This violent assault on Black women is also paralleled by a surge in hate crimes, targeting mostly Black people. Since Trump's election there’s been a 20 percent spike this year over last--the highest increase on record according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism. As a Black community and a society at large, we cannot afford to simply sit back and let this ride. This is about more than words. This is about the safety and security of Black women.” White House chief of staff John Kelly when asked recently if he needed to apologize to Rep. Wilson for she lied about securing "$20 million" in federal funding to build a new FBI field office in Miami during the dedication ceremony for the building in 2015, Kelly said no. A Sun Sentinel video of the building dedication ceremony showed that Wilson had not taken credit for the building's funding. "Oh, no. No. Never. Well, I'll apologize if I need to. But for something like that, absolutely not. I stand by my comments."

L.A. Focus/November 2017

priate on-air language across all media." But just five short years later their morning drive host Bill Handel refers to a sitting member of the House of Representatives who also happens to be a Black woman as “cheap, sleazy Democrat whore.” Today former Councilwoman Jan Perry reflects on the recent situation with Handel. “The same tired, hackneyed response from this talk show host is no surprise,” Perry said. “Congresswoman Wilson is disparaged and personally attacked for doing her job while incompetence is ignored. There are probably no words to change Handel’s heart or his mind but he should not go unchecked.” Los Angeles County Democratic Party Vice-Chair Bobbie Jean Anderson said, "Given the current political climate, I am not surprised that attacks on Black people, Black women in particular, are so prevalent. I am, however, committed to standing up to all who feel emboldened by the antics of the current POTUS. Handel is a disgrace and should be held accountable by his employers for his comments and blatant racist, misogynist rants.” “Bill Handel’s racially-motivated remarks about my colleague Congresswoman Frederica Wilson were degrading and repulsive,” said Congresswoman Karen Bass. “Handel deserves to lose his job as well as any planned accolades for his reporting.” The accolades Congresswoman Bass refers to is Handel’s November 2 induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame. Bass continued, “I’m proud of the grassroots efforts that continue to publicize this derogatory display of onair racism and call upon Mr. Handel to step down before he is forced to.” Bass was one of several women of the Congressional Black Caucus to publicly support Rep. Wilson in the face of growing criticism after WIlson said that in a call with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, Myeishia Johnson, President Trump did not know the fallen serviceman's name and had indicated that the soldier knew "what he signed up for." A statement signed by both Rep. Bass, Rep. Waters and other Black Congresswomen read in part: “Congresswoman Wilson is a woman of impeccable integrity and a dedicated public servant. She is a highly respected Member of Congress who has demonstrated extremely competent leadership on a number of important issues, and we are especially proud of her fearless and uncompromising leadership to fight for the release of nearly 300 Nigerian school girls who were kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram. “We were appalled by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s statements where he called Congresswoman Wilson an ‘empty barrel’ and accused her of taking credit for securing funding for a new FBI Building in Miramar, Florida that was named after two fallen FBI agents, Benjamin Grogan and Jerry Dove. A video of Congresswoman Wilson’s comments on that day has been released, and it provides indisputable proof that she never made any of the statements of which General Kelly falsely accused her. “General Kelly’s comments are reprehensible. Congresswoman Wilson’s integrity and credibility should not be challenged or undermined by such blatant lies. We, the women of the Congressional Black Caucus, proudly stand with Congresswoman Wilson and demand that General Kelly apologize to her without delay and take responsibility for his reckless and false statements.” Since Wilson’s comments about Trump she’s received death threats including an alleged threat made last week via Facebook. The post read, “Need ten good men to help carry out a lynching. Must have own horse and saddle. Rope will be provided,” and included a picture of Congresswoman Wilson. Wilson is reported to have missed at least 19 congressional votes because of the death threats. A recent NPR survey found that substantial numbers of African-Americans say they have been slurred or have been the target of insensitive or offensive comments or negative assumptions. "It isn't surprising that 45 has targeted Black women for attack,” commented human rights attorney and co-founder of of Justice Warriors 4 Black Lives Nana Gyamfi. “He's a bully and a racist. White supremacy is well aware of the powerful role Black women play in challenging its power structures, and it has historically sought to sap our power by intimidation


INSIDE HO L LY W OOD with Neily Dickerson As we close 2017 I’ve decided to write about movies I saw that were just “aiiiiight.” Now I know every movie can’t be great, but some are just not good at all. Number one on the list is “Mother.” I actually listed this film in my list of fall movies to see because when Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer and Ed Harris are among the cast of characters you can’t go wrong, right? Well, wrong!. The story was confusing, disconnected and misguided. Another movie that actually came out last year, but was talked about through the Spring of 2017 was “LaLa Land.” It was beautifully shot and I love Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, but I didn’t care for the movie. The script was great. Had they left out the singing this would have been a GREAT movie. I was really anticipating

“Guardian of The Galaxy Vol 2” and while it wasn’t bad it was a bit long. There are at least 15 minutes that could have been left on the editing floor. Another long movie that I really wanted to be good was “Blade Runner 2049.” It’s actually an okay movie, but there are at least 20 minutes that could have been cut for me. At one point, I started asking the people around me, “isn’t Harrison Ford in the movie?” He finally showed up, but we

could’ve seen him much sooner. I was really anticipating a fun time in “Rough Night& Snatched,” and “The House,” but neither offered any out-loud, laughable moments. Last but not least are “Sleepless” and “Kidnap.” These were talk-outloud movies because that’s exactly what I did. I fussed at Halle Berry and Jamie Foxx’s characters for not using more common sense. They know we don’t do that in those on-the-edge-ofyour-seat situations. In “Sleepless,” Foxx’s character, Vincent Downs, is a cop torn between the good and evil of the police force. Downs makes poor decisions that unnecessarily get his son kidnapped. On that note, Halle Berry’s “Kidnap” should have been better developed. Halle Berry, plays a black mother in a film whose child is Inside Hollywood continued to page 22


Q&A Tessa Thompson Tessa Thompson Hometown: Los Angeles Big Break: Selma Current Project: South Dakota (2017), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Annihilation (2018), Sorry to Bother You (2018)

Roman J Israel, Esq. November 3

Thor: Ragnarok November 3

Last Flag Flying November 3

ed that it would happen. The holdup: reportedly Will Smith’s schedule.

“Being Mary Jane” may be winding down with a two-hour finale movie next year, but Gabrielle Union is anything but. Presently, she’s on a book tour to promote her new book, “We’re Going to Need More Wine,” a collection of essays about sexuality, race, beauty, Hollywood, and what it means to be a modern woman. In her fourth outing as a producer, she has teamed with filmmaker Will Packer for “Breaking In”, a film in which she stars as a woman who fights to protect her family during a home invasion. Union is also teaming with LeBron James to exec produce a comedy series for ABC, titled “White Dave” and based on the life of director David E. Talbert (First Sunday, Almost Christmas, Baggage Claim). The ABC series will center in on a black teen raised in an all-white neighborhood who suffers culture shock when his mom remarries and they relocate to an all-black neighborhood. Also in the works is a TV series built around the character she played in Bad Boys II as the love interest of Will Smith, the sister of Martin Lawrence’s character, and an undercover DEA agent. And in case you're wondering about the possibility of a “Bad Boys 3”, I wouldn’t take any bets on it. It was pulled from Sony’s 2018 release schedule over the summer, leading Martin Lawrence to say he doubt-

Casting News


Can’t Get Enough of Gabrielle Union

Issa Rae, who is currently filming “The Hate U Give” with Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Anthony Mackie and Common, just inked a deal with HBO for a drama centering on an African-American family living in Los Angeles in the early and turbulent 1990s…Tyler Perry once again proved his worth at the box office debuting at number one with his “Boo 2! A Madea Hollyween” which closed out the month with a twoweek take upwards of $35 million. But his l a t e s t announced project will take on a more serious tone as he has been pegged to play Colin Powell in a forthcoming movie about former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney. The film—which is currently in production— s t a r s Christian Bale as Chaney with Steve Carell as former.

The Star November 17

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld…Jamie Foxx has been tapped to costar in Signal Hill, a drama keying in on the 1981 Signal Hill police brutality case famously litigated by the late Johnnie Cochran. Foxx will play Black Panther Geromino Pratt, who was imprisoned unjustly for 27 years before his conviction was overturned. Anthony Mackie will star as Cochran.

Family Matters In the latest twist in her contentious divorce battle, Mary J. Blige, who is reportedly in debt to the tune of $11+ million is asking her estranged husband, Kendu Isaacs to pay his half, which would amount to nearly $6 million. Blige is also fighting spousal support, arguing that Isaacs is unwilling to do anything to support himself. Blige had been ordered to pay Isaacs $30,000 a month…In addition to full custody of her four-year-old son, Tamar Braxton—who recently filed for divorce from her husband, Vincent Herbert—is asking that she not be required to pay spousal support. Their drama is set to play out on the upcoming season of the WE tv show, Braxton Family Values. The couple, who had been married for nine years, were rumored to have had problems for some time and were experiencing some financial troubles. Hebert, who recently lost over 100 pounds, was ordered by a court to repay $3.7 million to Sony stemming from a legal battle over a 2013 advance.

Incognito could best describe California native Tessa Thompson who, despite being born to famous singer and songwriter Marc Anthony Thompson, has been actively building an acting and music career for years. With an urge to master her craft, the budding actress enrolled in Santa Monica College where she made her debut theatrical appearance in the LA Women’s Shakespeare Company’s 2003 production “The Tempest”. She then transitioned to making television appearances and made her first feature film appearance as Scarlet in the 2006 remake of When a Stranger Calls. Since then, Tessa has been the singer who fell in love with Michael B. Jordan’s character in Creed, a college DJ in Dear White People and the strong, intergalactic woman in Thor. You played Sam in Dear White People. What was your initial reaction to reading the script and why was it important to do this movie? I was really excited to see a script that wanted to talk about these issues or at least begin a dialogue, not to answer any questions but ask a bunch of them in a way that’s also fun and enjoyable and it helps us to ease up a little bit and look each other in the eye and not be so adversarial, that’s why I was taken aback by the script. How do you feel about the obsession millennial’s have about getting likes, getting followers and having a platform to talk about their thoughts? I have a touch and go relationship with this especially since I have a little brother and sister and they are so steeped in this Internet culture. I think its like anything, it has its upside and it has its downside so the Internet daily breaks my heart and then renews it. Tell us about your role in the upcoming movie Thor. Who is Valkyrie? I play Valkyrie who is an elite. She’s a new exciting female character in the universe which I think fans (particularly women) are excited about which is great for me. In the context of these films its so excited because you get to see women that have a connection to a man in some way and in other film it is a reversal because Thor is actually a fan girl of Valkyrie. How has this movie impacted your views and relationship to technology? I think it's made me conscientious. It makes me think about our treatment of the earth. We're actively causing climate change when we don't consider the cost.

Making A Difference By 2003, Jackie Castillo had done very well for herself. She was happily married to a high-ranking UPS executive and successful on her own in corporate America. She’d even been openly acknowledged for her accomplishments and yet something was missing. “My soul was not full,” Castillo recalls. “All through my life, I’d been very much a giver. Community service was the norm—it’s the way I was raised.” So, Castillo—who would often stop by schools to spend time with young children who were mentally and physically impaired— had a conversation with her manager and told him she’d like to spend more time in the community. But her higher ups—who were laser focused on revenues—panned the idea. It was then she knew she was working for the wrong company. “I felt that the corporation should be more conscientious in the community and they were not.” More determined than discouraged, Castillo changed jobs and then got together with four friends to establish “Legacy Ladies,” a non-profit whose goal was to serve the community. “Our first project was to adopt the Harris family out of Birmingham, Alabama— the first African-American family to have sextuplets,” Harris notes. “We gave them $20,000 and helped them to get a vehicle and put money away for the kids to go to college. Their 1,600-square-foot house was transformed to over 4,000 square feet. The backyard looked like Disneyland and with all the publicity they were getting on everything from Good Morning America to the Oprah Winfrey Show, that really put Legacy Ladies on the map.” Today the organization—whose annual Torch Awards Gala honors those who’ve broken barriers and led the way— works to transform the lives of disenfranchised girls through academic programs with the goal of developing extraordinary thinkers, leaders and productive global citizens. At present, 40 African American females—10th through 12th grade—at Washington, Dorsey and Crenshaw High Schools take part in their From the School House to the White House Leadership Academy. Another leadership program—the Young Minds Matter Leadership Academy—targets elementary age schoolgirls. “Our goal is to develop confidence in these girls and help them to realize that where they are now is not where they’re going to end up,” Castillo states. “We try to create a vision greater than the classroom of who they can actually become.” The girls have to do their part as well “They have to show up and perform,” Castillo continues. “It’s very regimented. They have to wear uniforms, they write essays and they have to make sure their attendance is good, not only in our program, but if their absenteeism rate is high at their schools, they cannot be a part of the program.”

Jackie Castillo — Legacy Ladies “Some of these girls come from broken homes and have seen more than they need to see at their age, but with us there’s a safety net,” observes the Stockton, California native who worked in sales at the three major networks—ABC, NBC and CBS as well as in front of the camera in commercials and voiceovers. “I always tell them, ‘We have all gone through something in our lives. So, we go through the fire and we help them get through it as well. That’s what our logo is about. “These girls are so resilient and willing to learn, they just need to know they have someone who believes in them and reminds them that they have a purpose.” The results have been inspiring. “We’ve changed lives. We give out about $20,000 in scholarships annually and all the girls in our leadership program have gone off to college.” Castillo’s own community involvement began at ten years old as a Campfire girl and active member at her local church. “People,” she says, “spend too much time thinking how they are going to collaborate to do something. My thinking is just do it. Our philosophy has been real simple: to identify a problem, come up with a solution and then do whatever needs to be done.” To date the organization of about 11 women have sent somewhere in the neighborhood of 90 students to college. “What fills my soul is when they come back and have graduated,” Castillo reports. “A couple weeks ago two young girls (both sisters) who went through our program at different times called and said, ‘We are calling to say thank you because my sister is going to get her masters’ degree and I’m finishing up my senior year of college. “Another student who was a victim of incest persevered, went off to university, and at one point had to take time off to support a family member, but I recently saw her and she was still on track to complete her mission. She’d already graduated and I’ve already located three places she can work. This girl has the ability to change the world.” What’s most gratifying to Castillo is that a majority of the girls who’ve gone through Legacy Ladies programs want to pay it forward by helping others. “They will come to me and say Lady Jackie, ‘What can I do? Who can I help?’ What Legacy Ladies has tried to do is to offer hope,” said Castillo. It’s about us illuminating the pathway of leadership. That’s our focus.” For more information about Legacy Ladies, visit

Calendar of events

Ongoing Exhibition: We Wanted A Revolution: Black Radical Women 1965-85 Examines the political, social, cultural, and aesthetic priorities of women of color during the emergence of second-wave feminism. Artists represented include Elizabeth Catlett, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Loïs Mailou Jones, Barbara Jones-Hogu, Carolyn Lawrence, Samella Lewis, Alison Saar, Betye Saar, and Carrie Mae Weems Tues - Sat 10am-5:00pm; Sun 11am - 5pm Free • (Parking: $12) California African American Museum 600 State Drive Exposition Park (213) 744-7432 On Stage: “Hamilton” Check online for times/prices Hollywood Pantages Theatre 6233 Hollywood Blvd Contact: (323) 468-1770 BFit Yoga Class On the Macy’s Bridge Free • 9 -10:00am Saturdays Cardio Kick Class Free • 6:00pm Thursdays Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza 3650 West Martin Luther King Jr.

Blvd Information: (323) 290-6636

Wednesday, November 1 Glaaacc Hosts 2017 Small Business Entrepreneur Conference Panel discussions, best financial record keeping methods, building networks and alliances, capital and marketing strategies. 8am. – 3pm• Free LA Hotel Downtown 333 South Figueroa Los Angeles, CA. 90071 RSVP required. Register at Info: (213) 292-2197

Friday, November 3 In Concert: Joe 9pm • $58 - $89 The Saban 8440 Wilshire Blvd Beverly Hills Contact: (888) 645-5006

L.A. Focus/November 2017

Sunday, November 5 CAAM Book Club: In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens (Alice Walker) Discussion and discourse 7pm – 10pm • Free • (Parking: $12) California African American Museum 600 State Drive Exposition Park RSVP: (213) 7447432 www.caamuse- “Journey of a Champion” Bishop Kenneth Ulmer celebrates 35 years as pastor; 40 years of marriage and 70 years of life Special Guest: Bishop Noel Jones 5PM Faithful Central’s The Tabernacle 321 N. Eucalyptus Contact: (310) 330-8000 Walk to End Epilepsy Registration: $25 8:00am-Noon Rose Bowl 1001 Rose Bowl Drive Pasadena Information: (310) 670-2870 In Concert: Sinbad 9pm • $28 - $68 The Rose 254 E. Green Street

Saturday, November 4 Lecrae—All Things Work Together Tour (Food For The Hungry Volunteer) Free • 5pm – 10pm The Novo 800 W Olympic Blvd Contact: (213) 765-7015 The Real Estate Wealth Expo Featuring with Magic Johnson, Sylvester Stallone, Suze Orman

Zendaya attends the 55th New York Film Festival in N.Y.C.


and Tony Robbins “9 Self Made Millionaires Teach You How To Succeed” (Thru Sunday) Special performance by Pitbull 8AM – 6:45PM • $149 - $2,495 L.A. Convention Center 1201 S. Figueroa Street

r eening fo t the scr a ’ y n r e r e e w P allo Tyler Madea H ‘Boo 2! A

EVENT SPOTLIGHT Saturday, November 11 L.A. Focus’ 20th Annual First Ladies High Tea Honorees include Congresswoman Karen Bass, CeCe Winans, Wendy Raquel Robinson, First Ladies Regina Taylor, Cynthia Buelna, Patricia Swancy and Hosted by Dr. Bobby Jones & Apostle Beverly “Bam” Crawford $87.50 - $125 • 11AM – 1:30PM Beverly Hilton Hotel Information: (310) 677-6011

Jamie Fo xx at The Veuve Cli 8th Annu cquot Polo al Classic h Will Roger eld at s State H istoric Pa rk

e at Debbie Allen arriv Joe Morton and e' os Lo e M n 'Tur the screeening of

Jada Pinkett Smith and Jaden Smith at the Umami Burger x Jaden Smith Artist Series Launch Event

Actress Jada Pinkett Smith was honored with the Icon Award at the HBCU Power Awards at Morehouse College in Atlanta present by Will Packer Photo credit: Marcus Ingram

Chloe x Halle Bailey arrive at the 3rd Annual InStyle Awards

Pasadena Contact: (888) 645-5006

Monday, November 6 Church of God In Christ 110th Holy Convocation (Through November 14) Speakers include Bishop J. Delano Ellis, Pastor Joel Osteen, Bishop Marvin Sapp, Bishop Milton Hawkins, Mother Barbara McCoo Lewis and Presiding Bishop Charles Blake The America’s Center St. Louis Information: (901) 947-9322

Tuesday, November 7 In Concert: Bruno Mars (Through November 11) 7:00pm • $20-40 The Forum 3900 W. Manchester Blvd Information: (310) 330-7300 Activism Now Seminar With Angela Rye 7PM -9PM • Free (Parking: $12) California African American Museum

600 State Drive Exposition Park (213) 744-7432

Thursday, November 9 Los Angeles Career Fair (Dress your best and bring resumes) 11:00am-2:00pm Free entry: Registration is mandatory Holiday Inn Los AngelesIntl Airport 9901 La Cienega Blvd

Friday, November 10 Screening: Death By Delivery Examines the rising number of deaths of expectant mothers in the US 7pm – 10pm • Free • (Parking: $12) California African American Museum 600 State Drive Exposition Park RSVP: (213) 744-7432

Rev. Alvin Tunstill, Pastor 7PM • $100 Westin Los Angeles Airport 5400 W. Century Blvd Contact: (323) 735-0044

Saturday, November 11 Stepping In The Right Direction Black College Fair Sponsored by Long Beach Councilman Al Austin & Friends Bring your transcripts Free • 2PM – 6PM Long Beach Convention Center: Seaside Room 300 East Ocean Blvd Long Beach, 90802 Information: (626) 529-3802 Steppingintherightdirection .com Workout & Book Signing With Shaun T Hosted by 24 Hour Fitness 10AM – Noon • $29 Non-member much complete a waiver 24 Hour Fitness 5300 Lankershim Blvd #100 www.shaunttransform-

Friday, November 17 NAPW (National Association of Professional Women) Power Networking 2017 With NAPW President Star Jones 4PM-8PM • $99 City Club Los Angeles 555 So Flower Street Information: (866) 5406279 On Stage: The Hip Hop Nutcracker With Special Guest MC Kurtis Blow $45 - $85 • 7pm Dolby Theatre 6801 Hollywood Blvd Information: (323) 308-6300 FAME’s 7th Annual Golf Tournament, Table Games, and Dinner Party An event to celebrate and honor all military veterans 10:00am Montebello Golf Course 901 Via San Clemente

Montebello, 90640 Information: (323) 919-5179

Saturday, November 18 Real 92.3 The Real Show Featuring J. Cole, French Montana, Cardi B, Yo Gotti and more 7:30pm • $46-214 The Forum 3900 W. Manchester Blvd Information: (310) 330-7300 Musicians In Action Music Ministry 25th Annual Awards Gala $95 - 120 • 6pm Renaissance Airport Hotel 9620 Airport Blvd Contact: (323) 777-3213 Public Star Party Gaze at the stars Free • 2:00pm-9:45pm Griffith Observatory 2800 E. Observatory Road Information: (213) 473-0800

Featuring the top stars in the music industry $145 - $675 • 5pm 777 Chick Hearn Court (213) 763-6030

Thursday, November 23 “Thanksgiving Lunch” Enjoy Thanksgiving with the sea otters and the entire Aquarium family Adults $55 • Children 3-11 $27.50 11:00am-5:00pm Aquarium of the Pacific 100 Aquarium Way Long Beach Information: (562) 590-3100

Wednesday, November 29 Chris Rock’s Total Blackout Tour (Through December 2) $59.50 - $150 • 8pm Dolby Theatre 6801 Hollywood Blvd Information: (323) 308-6300

around los angeles Trinity Baptist Church 100th Anniversary Banquet

Actress Karrueche Tran at the premiere for TBS's 'Drop The Mic' and 'The Joker's Wild'

American Music Awards

Kenny Randy Jackson and ISINA the at s nd 'Babyface' Edmo sa Ca ici Un at la Ga Global Tessa Thompson attend s the Premiere Of Thor: Ra gnarok

L.A. Focus/November 2017

ante Broadus Snoop Dogg, wife Sh oadus at the Br ri and daughter Co 'Drop The Mic' premiere for TBS's ld' and 'The Joker's Wi

Sunday, November 19


Eye On Gospel CeCe Winans Named Gospel Artist of The Year/To Receive Spirit Award at First Ladies High Tea CeCe Winans was named “Gospel Artist of The Year” last month at the Gospel Music Association’s (GMA) Dove Awards. Winans was nominated for three GMA Dove Awards, Contemporary Gospel/Urban Worship Album of the Year for Let them Fall in Love; Contemporary Gospel/Urban Song of the Year, “Never Have To Be Alone,” and Gospel Artist of the Year and pocketed two out of three: Gospel Artist of the Year and Contemporary Gospel/Urban Worship Album of the Year. In addition to her nominations Winans’ son Alvin Love III and Tommy Sims also received a nod for Producer of the Year. “I am humbled by God’s kindness and faithfulness,” said Winans. “Winning is always about God being glorified! Let Them Fall in Love is a project I am proud of because people all over the world will fall in love with Jesus because of it.” The 48th Annual GMA Annual Dove Awards were held at Lipscomb University’s Allen Arena in Nashville, TN and aired exclusively on Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) on Sunday, October 22 at 8pm. The show reached over 100 million viewers in the U.S., plus global and multi-platform distribution. Winans is also set to receive the Spirit Award at the 20th Annual First Ladies High Tea held at the Beverly Hilton on Saturday, November 11 at the Beverly Hilton. Others being honored include Congresswoman Karen Bass and actress Wendy Raquel Robinson.

Marvin Sapp Gets Close Multiple award-winning Gospel music icon Marvin Sapp’s 11th solo album—entitled “Close”— debuted at #1 on the Billboard Gospel Albums chart, making it the fifth consecutive #1 album debut for the enduring preacher, songwriter and singer. The 10-track album continues Sapp’s signature “churchy but funky” musical style, with songs that

refresh, encourage, inspire and uplift. Sapp says: “It is a humbling experience when an album reaches #1. These songs are birthed out of my life and testimony. They are my lifeline to God. That God would use me to help provide a lifeline to so many others is remarkable. I am grateful to everyone who worked on this album, and to everyone who has purchased it. I hope it blesses you the way it continues to bless me.” Phil Thornton (Verity SVP & General Manager) says: “We are thrilled to celebrate Marvin Sapp on this latest album reaching #1. Marvin Sapp continues to be a guiding force sharing a timeless message that reaches across generations, with a vital voice and ministry that’s unparalleled.” Close reunites the Stellar Award-winning artist with longtime collaborator Aaron Lindsey. The album also features first-time production collaborations with Rodney Jerkins (“You and Me Together” feat. Erica Campbell and Izze Williams), Kirk Franklin (“Kind God”) and R. Kelly (“Listen”). “In this season, people need to understand that even though we go through situations, it’s not because of God forsaking us, He uses life challenges to ensure we are prepared for what He is about to walk us into”, said Sapp, who leads Lighthouse Full Life Center Church, with two locations serving Grand Rapids and Muskegon and oversees more than 100 churches in 19 states as a bishop within the Global United Fellowship.

Mary Mary Star Defends Vote for Trump, (But Doesn’t Stand With Him) Mary Mary’s Tina Campbell found herself talking a great deal more about the

L.A. Focus/November 2 017

Re d Carpet Style


TRACEE ELLIS ROSS in elegant dapper attire with a Louis Vuitton clutch.

REGINA KING looking stunning in her all white.

fact that she voted from Trump than the last season of WEtv’s Mary Mary reality show which they did press rounds to promote. Campbell and her sister, Erica recently appeared on “The Real” when the subject of Trump was brought up. Here is what Campbell had to say: “What I said is if during your campaign what you said appealed to me and it appealed to my Christian values more than the other candidate, then when it comes down to it, I chose based on my faith. “I didn’t really like either one of the candidates if I could just be honest. But it was two people that had a chance of winning, I voted based on my faith. Do I agree with everything that’s being done and being said? No.” “Do I promote and advocate that? No. And do I choose to give any of my time about my right to vote and my opinion behind it? Not at all, so next question.” Campbell who has always been somewhat of a maverick, believes that as a Christian, she is supposed to pay for the nation’s leaders. That, she says, “does not mean I agree with everything.” WEtv’s popular docu-series “Mary Mary” returned for its sixth and final season September 28th. The series, which chronicles the lives of Erica and Tina Campbell, sisters and members of the contemporary gospel group Mary Mary, will close out with six one hour-long episodes. “I’m so grateful to have shared the last several years of my life, personally and professionally, with all of the supporters of the viewers of our reality show,” said Tina. “I can’t possibly find the words to truly express my gratitude for this experience so I’ll just say thank you to everyone who made it happen and to everyone who watched it happen. It’s been great.” Campbell hit the road last month with her “It’s Still Personal Tour” in support of her “It’s Still Personal” album, which released September 29 and hit #4 on Billboard’s Top Gospel Albums Chart. Those joining Campbell on tour include Jekalyn Carr, The Walls, and sisters Thomasina “Goo Goo” Atkins and Erica Campbell.

Celebrities attend The 8th Annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic held at Will Rogers State Historic Park on October 14, 2017 in Pacific Palisades, California.

GARCELLE BEAUVAIS wearing a navy blue dress with low cut sleeves.

ASHLEY MADEKWE in a sheer long sleeve turtle neck tan gown.

JASMINE SAVOY BROWN rocking a strapless jump-suit with lace accents.

ChurchNews First AME Church Wins 5-Year Battle Over Community Development Arm


ast week, First AME Church announced that the five-year battle over control of its non-profit community development arm, FAME Assistance Corporation, has ended. On July 6, 2016, the court issued a judgment in favor of First AME Church, invalidating the 2012 changing of the bylaws, providing for the new pastor of First AME Church to serve as CEO; and allowing the church to elect new board members/directors to manage and operate the programs and services. The defendants, having lost the lawsuit in the lower court, filed an appeal. On October 10, 2017, the appellate court "fully affirmed" the judgment of the lower court, returning the assets of 325 units of low-income housing, a diverse portfolio of real estate, and an assortment of public benefits service programs back to the management and operation of First AME Church of Los Angeles. FAME Assistance Corporation was organized under the leadership of former pastor Rev. Cecil L. “Chip” Murray, after the 1992 rebellion, to provide services to the community. “Upon Rev. Murray’s retirement, a new pastoral administration was appointed to lead First AME Church and the FAME Corporations,” said Senior Pastor J. Edgar Boyd, surrounded by members of the leadership of First AME Church. “The new regime took the non-profit in a different direction, separating it from the local church, against the protocol of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. That pastor and his administration changed the bylaws of the non-profit corporations, effecting a separation of a diverse multi-million dollar public benefits corporation (FAC/FAME Housing) away from First African Methodist Episcopal Church of Los Angeles. Many of the corporations and departments were altered, gutted or decimated, resulting in a decrease in services and a loss of esteem within the community. “The confusion caused in the interim, created tremendous turmoil within both the church and the community,” he continued. “Upon my assignment as the new pastor of First AME Church, in October 2012, the church’s Board of Trustees filed an action in Superior Court to take back the non-profit arm and associated entities. The resulting cases and appeals led to four years and 10 months of litigation and court appearances.” In his final decision, L.A. Superior Court Judge Mark V. Mooney ruled that “the procedures used to amend the bylaws of FAME Assistance and FAME Housing on October 19 and 20, 2012, were unfair, unreasonable and not performed in good faith.” The church’s legal win came at a steep price. In addition to sizeable legal fees, the FAME Assistance headquarters were sold in a leaseback to avert an impending foreclosure. QUOTE from Pastor Boyd Here regarding price of legal wrangling and whether or not damages were assessed. “We want the businesses and community organizations with which we have had stellar relationships to know that we look forward to continuing our work with them. We also want the community to know that we will be rebuilding some of our programs and expanding others and we look forward to continuing our services to the community.” In national church news, 24/7 Wall St. released its listing of America’s 25 largest churches, based on average weekly attendees. Among its findings were that the majority of the mega churches were located in southern Sunbelt states, tended to be independent/non-denominational and appealed to a younger demographic, embracing state-ofthe-art technology with Bible apps, live-streamed sermons and active youth ministries. Little surprise that with an average weekly attendance of 43,500, Lakewood Church— pastored by Joel Osteen topped the list. Just one congregation led by a black pastor made the list, and that again comes as little surprise. Bishop T.D. Jakes’ Potters House—with an average weekly attendance of 16,140—it was ranked #25.

Agape Church of Los Angeles Worship Center Consolidated Plaza: 3725 Don Felipe Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90008 Corprate Office: 4602 Crenshaw Blvd, Suite 2A, Los Angeles, CA 90043 (323) 295-5571 Bishop Craig A. Worsham, Founder & Senior Pastor Sunday School: 10:00am Morning Worship: 11:00am Loving, Lifting & Liberating Humanity Through 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

First AME Church (FAME) 2270 South Harvard Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90018 (323) 735-1251 • F: (323) 735-3353 • Pastor J. Edgar Boyd, Senior Pastor/CEO Sunday School: 10:00am Worship: 8:00am, 10:00am, Noon Teen Church (2nd Sundays):Noon,Allen House Wed. Prayer Service: Noon Wed. Bible Study: 7:00pm Radio: 10:30am on KJLH-102.3FM First AME is the oldest Black Church in the City Grant AME Church 10435 S. Central Avenue • Los Angeles, CA 90002 (323) 564-1151 • F: (323) 564-5027 Rev. Dr. J. Arthur Rumph, Senior Pastor Sunday School: 8am Worship: 9:30am Wed. Bible Study: 11:30am •6pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday School: 10am Morning Worship: 9:15 am Bible Study (Tues): Noontime Pastor’s Bible Study( Tues): 7pm

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

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

Early Worship: 8am Sunday School: 9:30am Mid-Morning Worship: 11am Radio-KALI 900AM: Sun. 11-Noon, 7-8pm KTYM 1460AM Sundays: 5:30pm Bible Study (Tues, Wed & Thurs): 7pm Holman United Methodist Church 3320 W. Adams Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90018 (323) 731-7285 • F: (323) 731-2609 • Rev. Kelvin Sauls Sunday School: 9:30am(Youth) & 9:45(Adult) Sunday Worship: 8am and 11am Morning Worship: 11:00am Bible Study (Thurs.): Noon Sun. Radio: KJLH 102.3FM: 11:00am Praise and Worship: 2nd Wed’s 6:30pm-8:00pm Jazz for the Soul: 4th Wed’s 6:30pm-8:00pm Gather, Grow, Go and Live The Gospel Jesus Christ

Liberty Baptist Church 1500 West 51st Place, Los Angeles, CA 90062 (323) 295-3866 • F: (323) 295-0366 • E: Rev. Terry Lovell Brown Sr. Sunday Church School: 9:00am Morning Worship: 10:30am & 12:30pm Wed. Bible Study: noon & 6:30pm Prayer Meeting: 6:00pm Follow us on Twitter @dacrossculture Mt. Moriah Baptist Church of LA, Inc. 4269 S. Figueroa St. Los Angeles, CA 90037 (323) 846-1950 Rev. Melvin V. Wade, Sr. Sunday School: 8:15am Morning Worship: 9:45am Evening Worship: 6:30pm Mid-Week Worship (Wed): 7:00pm Bible Study (Wed.): 8:00pm

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

F: (323) 291-1133 • • Pastor George E. Hurtt, Pastor-Teacher Sunday Worship: 8:00am, 11:00am Discipleship Hour (Sun): 9:37am Noonday Prayer (Mon): Noon Noonday Bible Study (Tue): 12:00pm Tuesday Night in the Truth: Email: • Our Goal: To win more Christians & develop better Christians to the glory of God. (Matt. 28:18-20) Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church 1300 E. 50th Street Los Angeles, CA 90011 (323) 235-2103 • F: (323) 235-3177 • Dr. Edward V. Hill, II, Pastor Sunday Intercessory Prayer: 9:15am Morning Worship: 9:30am Children’s Church: 9:30am Sunday School: 11:30am Baptism: 2nd Sun. & Lord’s Supper: 1st. Sun. Tues. Pastor’s Bible Study: 6:30pm Wed. Noon-day Prayer: Noon

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

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

Sunday Worship: 9:00am, 11:00am & 1:00pm Wednesday Midweek Service: 8pm—View live streaming

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

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

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

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

St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church 5017 S. Compton Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90011 (323) 231-1040 • Rev. Dr. Lovely Haynes Sunday Morning Worship: 8:00am & 11:00am Sunday School: 9:30am Mon-Wed: Prayer Bible Study: 6:00 - 6:55 pm Mon. Night Bible Study: 7:00pm Tue Choir Rehersal Wednesday Prayer: Noon Wed. Exposition of Sunday School Lesson: 7pm Wed. Prayer Meeting: 7:00pm Thurs. Evangelism: 7:00pm (enrollment required)

St. Matthew Tabernacle of Praise “The S.T.O.P.” 1740 West 59th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90047 Mailing Address: P.O. Box 56608, Los Angeles, CA 90056 (323) 291-1115 • F: (323) 293-0471 Rev. C.Barry Greene, Pastor Sunday Worship Service: 8:00am PrayerLine: (Tuesday & Wednesday): 6:00am WordLine (Tuesday): 7:00pm ( (712) 775-7031 Access Code: 814352108) E:

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

Praises of Zion Baptist Church (“Praise City”) 8222 So. San Pedro Street, Los Angeles, CA 90003 (323) 750-1033 • F: (323) 750-5458 • Dr. J. Benjamin Hardwick, Sr. Pastor Early Morning Worship: 6:45am Educational Hour: 9:15am Mid-Morning Worship: 10:45am Wed. Bible Study: Noon & 7:00pm Sunday Morning Broadcast: 5:30am Live Streaming Sundays: 12:00pm

Southern Saint Paul Church 4678 West Adams Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90016 (323) 731-2703 • Rev. Xavier L. Thompson, Senior Pastor/Teacher L.I.F.E. Groups Sundays: 9:30am Morning Worship Service: 11:00am Baptism & Communion (First Sunday): 4:00pm Weekly Bible Enrichment Tuesdays: 7:00pm North Campus: 9:00am Wednesday Bible Enrichment: 7:00pm 11137 Herrick Av • Pacoima 91331 (818) 899-8031 •“Loving People Making Disciples”• Trinity Baptist Church 2040 West Jefferson Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90018 (323) 735-0044 • F: (323) 735-0219 Rev. Alvin Tunstill, Jr Sunday Worship: 7:30 & 10:30am Sunday Church School: 9:00am Radio Broadcast KJLH FM: 9:00am Wed. Prayer & Bible Study: Noon-7:00pm

L.A. Focus/November 2017

One Church International 614 N. La Brea Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90036 (818) 763-4521 • Sr. Pastor Toure’ Roberts

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


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

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

West Angeles Church of God In Christ 3045 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90016 (323) 733-8300 Bishop Charles E. Blake

Sunday School: 8:00am & 10:30am Early Worship: 8:00am Morning Worship: 11:00am Evening Worship (North Campus): 7:00pm Wed. Mid-Week Worship: 7:00pm Sun. Radio Broadcast KJLH 102.3FM: 10:00am

In Altadena

Lifeline Fellowship Christian Center 2556 N. Lake Ave., Altadena, CA 91001 (626) 797-3585 • F: (626) 797-3233 • Pastor Charles D. Dorsey Sunday School: 9:00am Early Worship (Glory Prayer): 8:00am Morning Worship: 10:30am Evening Worship (1st & 2nd Sun.): 5:00pm Wed. Bible Study: 7:00pm Peace Apostolic Church 21224 Figueroa Street, Carson, CA 90745 (310) 212-5673 Suff. Bishop Howard A. Swancy

In Carson

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

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

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

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

In Gardena

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

Pastor Profile: Pastor Adolphus Garnett Church: 54th Street Seventh-Day Adventist Hometown: Los Angeles California Family: Married to wife Carolyn 45 years, four daughters Education: Oakwood College Were you raised in church? I was pretty much involved in the church up until 16 at which time I decided to go out on my own and explore the world. Then at 21, I met my wife. We got married and I was determined that I wanted to raise my family in a Christian environment so we both joined the church, got re-baptized, and have been in the church ever since.

L.A. Focus/November 2017

When did you receive your call to the ministry? It was around 1978 and I was working at a respiratory therapist clinic in Torrance Memorial Hospital. I would go to patients’ bedside, give them breathing treatments and pray for them. Patients in the next cubicle would say, “Preacher, can you pray for me.’ I would say, I’m not a preacher but I will come and pray for you. I began to wake up preaching and I had never preached before. It was baffling to me and I shared it with my wife and she said ‘well, just pray about it.’ So I prayed and really thought nothing more of it. I was enjoying being a deacon and an elder, working as a respiratory therapist and my life with my growing family. Then in 1978, our church was holding some evangelistic events and I was faithfully attending. One evening I got off work and got there early. I walked into the tent and immediately there was a voice just as clear saying, ‘this is what I want you to do”. I didn’t feel the ministry was my calling, but the voice was very clear and I wanted to be an obedient child of God. I was hesitant, but I told my wife about what I thought the Lord was telling me to do and she said, ‘Oh no.’ It would inevitably mean that I would have to quit my job, sacrifice and start all over again which was rather terrifying both for her and me. So we discussed it and kind of brushed it off. And I’ll never forget the words of our pastor at the time. He said, ‘Ministry is not all it’s cracked up to be, so unless you have a burning desire in your heart, I wouldn’t bother.’ Well there was a burning desire in my heart. In 1979, our fourth child was born three months premature. The doctor told us she was not going to make it. My wife began to question the Lord and I thought how is it that you want me to go into ministry and you are getting ready to take my baby. Well, our baby survived. My wife came to me afterwards and said, “Do


you still have that burning desire?” I said yes and she said okay. Was this your first church? No. I started in pastoral ministry in 1984 and from then to now I’ve pastored eight or nine of our churches in the Los Angeles/San Fernando Valley area. How did you get to 54th Street Seventh-Day Adventist Church? When I left the office as the region director, the new region director came in and I was assigned to this. Currently we have approximately 150 members. We experienced a drop in membership prior to my getting here so we are in a rebuilding stage. What’s the difference between the Adventist belief and a Sunday church? As Seventh-Day Adventists, we believe that when Jesus Christ came, He died to fulfill the law and empower us to be obedient to the law. We don’t believe in righteousness by work. We believe in righteousness by faith. But as the scripture says, faith without work is dead and work without faith is dead. As a distinction, not better, not more important than anybody else but we feel that the message of the Sabbath is still binding. That's why the fourth commandment begins with remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. In it thou shalt not do any work. Unfortunately, men have accepted Sunday worship which was instituted by the Catholic church in Rome around 321A.D. There are only eight books that mention Sunday in the entire New Testament and none of them mention anything about this day becoming the Sabbath. That’s one of the things that we are different in the sense that we keep the Sabbath day holy, as God has called us. Not that we can’t worship on any other day we worship everyday but the commandment didn't say remember the Sabbath day to worship Him. It says to remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. What is your preaching style and from whom do you get your inspiration? I am a biblical preacher. My inspiration comes with visitation, where the members are. What’s going on in their private lives, not that I want to get too private, but I need to understand spiritually where they are as well as reading to understand the times that we are living now. What are the recurring themes in your sermons? That in everything we can trust God. We are living in a time where people do not trust God. They don't trust that God is the almighty— a very present help in the time of need. And when mankind stops depending on themselves, and put their trust in God, their lives can be much more wholesome and fulfilling and peaceful. But you can’t

trust somebody you don't know. You have to spend time building a relationship and that relationship ultimately translates trust. Not just by what we heard but it has to become an experiential knowledge of God. What are some of the challenges you have faced as pastor? One that I am facing right now is that we have an aging congregation and as they age you lose the vitality of the church. We don't have a large segment of young people, but we do have enough to get them involved in ministry. We believe that when you die the dead know is a sleep unto go and a death unto us. We can’t wake ourselves up, only God can. We want people to understand that when you die there is going to be a judgment which people do not what to discuss. How involved are you in the community? Not as much as I would like, but we have a food program every Saturday and we give out food just to say that we are not just interested in you spiritually but physically and people are receptive to that. We are working with the city to help the homeless. They have a program for people sleeping in their cars and RVs instead of being on the streets. They are asking faith groups to allow them access to parking lots so that it can get the homeless who have vehicles off the streets and into parking lots during the night. We also help seniors with their lawns and grocery store runs. Our men have even been involved in changing oil for seniors and single ladies to help then financially. What would you say was you g r e a t e s t strength? I am a people person. I enjoy engaging, helping people and sharing with people the work of Jesus Christ.

Marnessa Fisher Greater Zion Church

Early Worship: 8:30am Morning Worship: 9am & 11am Children’s Church: Both Services Word Power Wed.: 7-8pm

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

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

First Lady Files

The Liberty Church 14725 S. Gramercy Place, Gardena, CA 90249 (310) 715-8400 Pastor David W. Cross

In Hawthorne

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

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

It’s only been a few months since Marnessa Fisher married Michael Fisher, pastor of Greater Zion Church, and stepped into the role of first lady, but she’s already clear on what kind of pastor’s wife she will be. As the daughter of retired Pastor Michael J. Metters of Faithway Missionary Baptist Church, Fisher says growing up as in church shaped her views on ministry. “I wanted to do my own thing,” says Fisher, the third of three children. “I did not like growing up in a Christian home and being a PK (pastor’s kid). I did not like having all eyes on me. I did not like holding up the standard. I wanted to be me.” Being the best person that God has called her to be is a philosophy she holds fast to. “It’s important to be an individual. I am active in the women’s ministry. I do sing on the praise team. But I don’t want to become overwhelmed. I grew up in the church. I’ve been in every ministry that you can think of and I got burnt out. With the expectation of being a first lady, you can be called in different directions. Sometimes what people call you to is not what God has called you to and that’s why I don’t want to over extend myself.” She knows that as a first lady, people will look up to her, but it’s her desire that as they do that they see her looking to God. “I just pray that who I am and who God has called me to be they’ll see God in me and that ultimately is who they’ll be looking to.” Fisher works as a probation officer for San Bernardino County where she oversees programs that help convicts from become career criminals. “That is my passion—service. I am a servant of God…that’s who I am; I bring that with me. I’m not the sit down, wave and wear the hat and the lap scarf first lady. I am a worker bee. That’s who I am.

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

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

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

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

Rev. Wendy Howlett Sunday School: 8:30am Morning Worship: 9:30am Wed. Prayer & Bible Study: 7:00pm

Crusade Christian Faith Center 801 S. La Brea Avenue, Inglewood, CA 90301 (310) 330-8535 Bishop Virgil D. Patterson Sr. Wed. Mid-Week Service: 7:00pm Sunday School: 9:00am Sunday Worship: 10:30am

Faithful Central Bible Church 321 N. Eucalyptus Ave. Inglewood, CA 90301 (310) 330-8000 • F: (310) 330-8035 Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer, Ph.D. Senior Pastor/Teacher Services at The Tabernacle: Sunday Services: 7:00am, 9:30am & 11:45am Wed. Mid-Week Service: 7:00pm The Tabernacle is located at 321 N. Eucalyptus Ave., Inglewood First Church of God Center of Hope 9550 Crenshaw Blvd., Inglewood, CA 90305 (323) 757-1804 Pastor Geremy L. Dixon Morning Worship: 8:00am & 11:00am Wed. Mid-Week Service: Noon Wed. Teaching Ministry: 7:00pm 1st Sunday Communion 5th Sunday Baptism

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

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

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

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

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

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 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: 8:00am, 10:30am New Generation Praise Service: 10:30am Sun. Bible Univ.: 9:30am Tues. Interactive Bible Study: 7:00pm Wed. Pastor's Bible Study: Noon, 7:00pm Thurs. Bible Study: 7:00pm Fri. Singles Bible Study (1st Fri): 7:00pm Antioch Church of Long Beach 1535 Gundry Ave. Long Beach, CA 90813 (562) 591-8778 • F: (562) 599-6048 Pastor Wayne Chaney Jr.

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

In Long Beach

Worship Services: 8am, 9:30am, 11:30am Tuesday Youth Bible Study: 7:00pm WednesdayBible Study: Noon

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

Santa Monica

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

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


From the Pulpit: New Antioch Church of God in Christ Jesus Always Comes Through Luke 5:1-6


L.A. Focus/November 2017

et me begin by reminding you that all of us are believing God for something. For some of us, we’re believing Him for a healing in our physical body. For some of us, we’re believing for a blessing in our finances. The truth is that all of us are waiting on Jesus and we’re maintaining faith because we’re convinced that our Lord is about to come through. The need for Jesus to come through is what we find going on in Luke 5. The story opens talking about two experienced fishermen who had fished all night long and caught nothing. These men were skilled in the art of fishing. These men spent time on the sea for a living. But the problem they’re having is that what they’ve been trained and taught to do simply isn’t working. My question today is, what do you do when what you’ve been trained and taught to do, isn’t working? When you pray, but there is no change? When you’re faithful in tithing and giving but still can’t make ends meet? These fishermen have a problem because the one thing they know to do, isn’t working. But not only is their training not working, the Bible says, they got out of the boat and were cleaning their nets. That means, they had given up and were ready to call it a day. They said, “We’ve fished all night long and caught nothing.” Yes, these men had a problem because not only was the one thing they knew to do not working, but out of frustration they were ready to give up. But here’s what I love about Jesus—just when they were out of options; just when they had quit and walked away, Jesus comes through and fixes everything that’s wrong. Here’s the good news, He’s about to come through for you too. It doesn’t matter what you might be dealing with, the promises of God are valid and His word can be trusted. And if you’ll just hold on, He’s on the way. But notice this, He comes, but before the miracle could manifest spiritually there were some requirements naturally. The fishermen were worn out, tired, exhausted, ready to give up, but the text says when Jesus got in their boat that they got in the boat with Him. This is the exact place where they had experienced no success. This is the same place they had abandoned out of disappointment and frustration. Jesus told them, I’m here but now you need to come back. Saints, your blessing has come but you’ve got to get back in the boat. That means whatever God told you to do that you stopped because of frustration or feeling of failure, try it again. Whatever area of service God assigned you to but you quit because of people, go back. Nothing in your past is worth you missing out on the blessing God has for your future. But Jesus had to make some adjustments. When they got back in the boat, He said, “Now launch into the deep.” In other words, adjust your surroundings. Friends, as God advances you to new heights and new levels, don’t fight the adjustments He’s making in your life. Everybody who is with you on this level can’t go with you to your next level. And sometimes to take us further and deeper, He’s got to take us away from what’s comfortable, safe and familiar. Don’t fight it, it’s for your good. Finally, Jesus


Praises of Zion Awarded $5.6 Million in Damages Praises of Zion Baptist Church was awarded $5.6 million in damages when a California federal jury found that TransAmerica Life Insurance Co. breached the terms governing 2,400 life insurance policies for Los Angeles residents. Representatives for the church maintained that TransAmerica made repeated promises not to change the deduction and expense rates above certain maximums, but did, causing a $2.5 million total premium hike in 2015 and a projected $100 million premium hike over the life of the policies. A jury agreed that TransAmerica's rate changes were wrongful, finding that they’d breached the policy contract, the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and caused damages from those two breaches in the amount of $5.61 million. At issue were the monthly deduc-

this story next month).

tion rate and monthly expense charges of each policy. In 2014, TransAmerica delivered two renewal notices that upped the remittances by 62.5 and 64.8 percent, respectively. In one case, the monthly deduction jumped from $50.89 in policy year 2012–2013 to $569.08. “This outcome is a blessing to our community and all who believe in the promise of the program,” said Hardwick. “It gives rise to the belief that all of us – no matter what community you are from – have the right to be treated fairly.” (More on

Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church 980 Rio Grande Street, Pasadena, CA 91104 *Mailing Address: 1416 N. Mentor Ave. Pasadena, 91104 (626) 794-4875 • F: (626) 794-7815 Pastor W. Harrison Trotter Sunday School: 8:30am Sunday Worship: 10:00am Bible Study Wednesday: 7:00pm Intercessory Prayer (Fourth Wed.): 7:00pm Christians Uniting To Make A Difference -Eph. 4:13 Spirit of Zion Fellowship Church In Van Nuys 10853 Victory Blvd. North Hollywood, CA 91601 (805) 517-1907 • Pastor E.V. Hill II

Bishop T.D. Jakes’ New Book Encourages Entrepreneurship Bishop T.D. Jakes draws on lessons learned as a pastor, investor, author, producer and all-around entrepreneur in his new book titled, "Soar!: Build Your Vision from the Ground Up". Jakes’s business advice focuses primarily on using new media to grow businesses, developing a distinct voice before entering the marketplace and using the business version of the Golden Rule (treat customers as you would treat yourself) to design one’s website by improving on the sites of competitors. Although there are ways to make a business more competitive, Jakes stresses that business owners have to rely on faith and put in the work. “You can’t just play a role and dress the part,” Jakes urges. “You have to earn that right!”

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

In La Puente

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

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


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

Sunday Worship: 1:00pm Children's Church: 1:11pm

came through for those men but to receive the miracle, they had to walk in obedience. If you’re going to receive what God has for you, you’ve got to learn to walk in agreement with whatever He says. Jesus told the men, “Cast your nets on the other side, because you’re getting to catch something.” Logic said, we’ve been fishing all night and caught nothing. The body said, we’re tired, we’re worn out and we really don’t want to do this. But because they believed the words of Jesus, their response was, “Nevertheless at Thy word, we’ll obey.” And when they did it, their miracle and blessing was bigger than anything they imagined. Friends, go back to the place God called you to. There may have been hurts and disappointments but try it again for the sake of your blessing. Then, don’t be afraid as God makes changes in your life and in your surroundings. Remember His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. But finally, just say yes to His will. And if you do that, get ready for Jesus to come through with a blessing that is exceeding abundantly above all you can ask or think.

Pastor Jeffrey Lewis


David A. Love continued from page 7

ication. Wilson called the ambush killing of four U.S. soldiers in Niger Trump’s Benghazi. The congresswoman has also received death threats after criticizing Trump for reportedly telling the widow of Sgt. LaDavid Johnson–a fallen soldier who was ambushed in Niger–that he knew what he was getting into. But in the world of men such as Trump, who would believe anything a Black woman says? Donald J. Trump is a psychopath and an alleged rapist and pedophile who once called his daughter Ivanka

“voluptuous” and a “piece of ass,” and said he would be dating her if she weren’t his daughter. Anyone who thought Trump would be a great president for women–or that Ivanka and Melania would change this man–were naïve, unrealistic or simply not paying attention. If there is any justice, Trump—like other powerful men who abuse, harass and disrespect women— will have his comeuppance. Follow David A. Love on Twitter at @davidalove.

Through the Storm Jasmine Morton Robinson’s Season of Unnatural Grief


efore she became the First Lady at the Pilgrim's Hope Baptist Church in Los Angeles, Jasmine Morton-Robinson experienced what she calls “the most unnatural” grief any woman can endure—she lost her 13-month-old baby only hours after discovering there was anything wrong in the first place. Jasmine says Kai Ross, her first child, had not been a sickly baby in her first year of life. Though she had many ear infections, she didn’t suffer from any illnesses that were uncommon she added. Jasmine and her ex-husband were living in Riverdale, Georgia 15 years ago when they took Kai out of daycare because of a mild virus. “She picked up a virus, just a regular bug that babies get,” Jasmine says. “With a little diarrhea and all that. We pulled her out of daycare...we took her to the doctor. Of course, as they always say, there was nothing they could do.” Jasmine says she was instructed to let it pass. After a week, it appeared that the virus had. “We felt she was ready to go back to school,” Jasmine says. “About noon or so we got a call saying that she had a high fever. We rushed to pick her up from the daycare. She in fact had a fever. I called the doctor. “They said ‘oh, we’re about to close’ - just basically give her some Tylenol and if it gets worse, then go ahead and bring her to the hospital. So not knowing how serious it was..we gave her the Tylenol.” Jasmine says she woke up that night to her daughter suddenly vomiting, with diarrhea. She recalls seeing her child change as they rushed her to the hospital. “She was getting more and more out of herself on the ride there she was almost going unconscious.” The first sign that confirmed something was really wrong came when they entered the hospital - and the staff immediately took Kai to a back room. “They saw her condition and took us right to the back, no wait at all,” Jasmine says. “Absolutely (it alarmed me). You always have to sign in and wait, but I think they saw the fear on our faces, and she looked really like she was going down. “They put her on a table, looking at her, working on her...they were trying to get her back by whatever means necessary. She was still breathing but she was going down too fast. “They escorted us out. I remember calling my parents, Bishop Paul and Co-Pastor Debra Morton. I told them, ‘just pray. Kai is not looking good, just pray.’” But right at that moment, doctors came out to tell Jasmine that Kai had passed. “I was in a daze. I don't even remember them telling me once I came to myself, which took a while, that she became septic.” Jasmine says that doctors believe Kai became septic when the virus she had contracted somehow got into

I survived something catastrophic…that can change a state of mind forever. It definitely strengthened my walk with God because I needed Him more than ever to get me through it.”

her bloodstream. Being so young, her body was not strong enough to fight it off. Her darkest moment, Jasmine recalls, came when they left the hospital. “The ride back home was the absolute worst. I came with her and left without her. She was no longer with us. I remember going up to my room—thank God it was the only moment I had this thought—I was like ‘Lord, take me now. What can I do to get out of here?’ “God quickly said, ‘Jasmine you have to trust me. You know that all things work together.’ Of course, that didn’t happen instantly. But I think, had I not had my faith in God, that I probably would have tried to do something to hurt myself.” Kai’s funeral was held in New Orleans, but Jasmine also held a viewing in Atlanta before the service. “I remember having to get the dress...I think part of it was so that I could kind of get over the shock of it all. Before the public funeral. “Her body had to be flown to New Orleans. The ceremony was really beautiful. My dad did the eulogy and the church was full. I couldn’t have even made it through any of this without family, faith in God, all the love of the church members. Jasmine says her father initially reacted to Kai’s death by blaming himself. “My dad started looking at what he may have done wrong, that this was another attack of the enemy. There was so much blame, sadness,” Jasmine says. “Something this terrible shakes dad, when I told him to pray, he told me later that he didn't even have all happened in less than an hour.” But Jasmine says, in the 15 years since Kai died, she has learned how to grieve productively. “You never get over losing a child. I feel that it's one of the most unnatural things a person, a woman, a mother can go through. She ended up moving back to New Orleans to be closer to family (which includes her brother, Maroon 5 drummer P.J. Morton) and started working in ministry after some time. “Everyone handles grief differently. I did go to some grief classes but I did not connect with all of the

mothers there because many of them, their children had been gone 10 years, they had not touched their rooms, were in a state of depression—that was not my story. I more questioned the why and how, what I should do.” Jasmine says God helped her answer those questions. “I survived something catastrophic, that can cause permanent mental illness, that can change a state of mind forever. It definitely strengthened my walk with God because I needed Him more than ever to get me through it.” Jasmine says her past has given her experience that particularly helps her console and guide people as First Lady. “Even though it was so horrible, it encourages people that you can make it through anything. God won't give you anything more than you can handle.” The moral of Jasmine’s story, she says: joy comes back. “I didn’t see it then, I didn’t want to have any more kids, but it came back.” She now has two beautiful children, is married to Pastor Tyron Robinson, and is, to put it simply, happy. “I turn 40 this year and I am in best the season of my life.”

Church Seeking Pastor Calvary Resurrection Baptist Church 12416 S. Wilmington Avenue Compton Ca 90222 ContACtS: Rev. Walker - (310) 447-2551 or Deacon Stansberry - (310) 597-3357 Please mail your resume to P.o. Box 5349, Compton 90224 or email to:

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

BAPAC continued from page 6

Sacramento President Rory Kaufman said he stepped up to host the conference because he promised the late president that he would carry on the mission of the organization and bring the conference to the capital city. Our quality of life depends on our quality of leadership; we must bring back leadership and inspire our people to continue to participate in the democratic process,” said Rory Kaufman, Sacramento BAPAC president. BAPAC also works to ensure public safety to protect the rights of our citizens and support lawful rulings for every citizen in California, and promote cultural and heritage events to educate our people on our rich traditions and contributions to California history and its growth.

L.A. Focus/November 2017

Gas Tax continued from page 6

Caltrans must contact the agency’s Office of Business Economic Opportunity. However, the gas tax increase and new vehicle registration fees has its critics. An organization of conservative-leaning groups in San Luis Obispo County rallied last week outside of a county courthouse to launch a statewide signature drive to have the gas tax law repealed. And in May, gubernatorial candidate Assemblyman Travis Allen of Huntington Beach filed an initiative calling for the new law’s repeal. “Many Californians are living paycheck to paycheck and struggling just to make ends meet. Jerry Brown’s massive gas tax increase will add $2.50 every time we fill up our gas tanks, which hits our poor and working class Californians the hardest,” said Allen, who launched a website dedicated to repealing the tax. “Meanwhile, Sacramento’s special interests are lining up for their $52 billion payday with absolutely no concern on how this will impact California’s hard working families,” added Allen. Bradford said SB 1 is needed because California’s roads need to be improved and Californians need jobs. “Democrats and Republicans alike know that our infrastructure needs to be repaired,” he said.

verts by 2027. The money will also fix 7,700 traffic operating systems, like ramp meters, traffic cameras and electric highway message boards that help reduce highway congestion. Caltrans announced on Aug. 17 that in anticipation of the funds, the California Transportation Commissions authorized almost $690 million in funding to be put towards 32 major “fix-it first” projects will be started a year earlier. NAACP continued from page 6 Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty said the state’s roadways have many schools would open up, receive resources, needs, so his agency is not waiting for SB 1 and close, and parents are left holding the funding to come in. bag," Johnson stated. “The time to get to work is now and we He said that level of instability is found are lining up the projects,” he said. “SB 1 is in the majority of Black, Latino and poor a game changing investment for trans- neighborhoods. portation in California, and Caltrans is Johnson said there might be some best already putting that money to work across practices across the country with charter the state.” schools, and the NAACP knows there is Minority and women business owners that not a perfect system with public schools. want to bid on a SB 1 work through That said, it has long advocated for


quality education in the public school sector, but the 15-year emergence of the privatization of education is also a problem, he stated. "We will not be consistent with our mission if we didn't speak out as strongly against what's taking place in the privatization process of delivering education in the same vein that we have historically spoken out against the lack of quality in the public setting. That's why we've taken the position that we've taken," Johnson stated. Rev. K.W. Tulloss, president of the National Action Network Los Angeles Chapter agrees with the NAACP that equity in the overall funding of students per pupil is a worthy fight. Though his own children attend a charter school, Tulloss advocates for a cap, because he feels the Black community is too flooded with the sites. He said he is also against a two-tier system that pits charter vs. traditional, because every child matters. "I don't particularly agree with the NAACP stance in trying to point out the discrepancies of charter schools, because, when you do that, you talk about my children who attend charter schools. As a parent, I chose charter schools, because there's not a one-size-fits-all system," Tulloss said. "My child, I feel, is doing a great job in a charter school, Watts Learning Center, which is 70 percent African American students there," he added. On the political front, CBM also asked Johnson how he thinks the NAACP's switch from a 501(c)(3) non-partisan status to a 501(c)(4), allowing it to lobby or campaign politically, may impact its ability to not fall prey to the highest bidder. He replied the NAACP is a membership-based advocacy organization, with

strength in its local units across the country. They are already 501(c)(4), which means very few restrictions on policies, positions, how they inform the community, and political advocacy around certain measures, Johnson said. "The NAACP also has an internal policy that we don't endorse political parties or individual candidates," he said. But the national office has been restricted and limited on the type of support it could give to state conferences on certain ballot positions. "In order for us to have consistency, we're creating a (c)(4) so we'll have better alignment with our local units as they advocate for public policy, but we will retain our (c)(3) at the same time,” Johnson concluded. Larry Elder continued from page 7

responded, "There's been a statement made by my attorney. He speaks for me, and I think he spoke quite clearly." And that was that. Where were the Hollywood social justice warriors back then, when the accused was Bill Clinton? After all, Hillary Clinton once said that when women make allegations of abuse, "everyone should be believed at first until they are disbelieved based on evidence." Didn't Madeleine Albright, the first female secretary of state, repeatedly say, "There's a special place in hell for women who don't help each other!"? Based on the way the left treated Jones, Willey, Broaddrick and other Bill and Hillary Clinton accusers, that "special place" could get rather crowded. Larry Elder is a bestselling author and nationally syndicated radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, visit Follow Larry on Twitter @larryelder.

Chef her Christop y mer Montgo

os Angeles specializes in American, Gourmet Southern, Vegan, French and modern cuisine with an urban twist. Fusing the flavor of the streets with the skill and prestige of the culinary world, Chef Chris delivers a unique dining experience. A graduate of the Art Institute of New York’s Culinary Arts and Food Management program, Chris’s passion for cooking began in his family’s South Bronx restaurant at age 14. He created and embellished family recipes, turning them into culinary delights. Chef Chris has worked at Five Star restaurants, country clubs, studios and for private events from coast to coast. In 2016, he relo-


cated to Los Angeles and has started his own personal chef and catering business. Chef Chris’s fascination with ingredients and presentation of food has made him one of the mostsought after personal chefs in Los Angeles. “Cooking is my ministry,” says Chef Chris. ‘Nothing gives me more joy than to create and prepare wonderful and delicious food.” Chef Chris makes it easy to duplicate his healthy, tasty and aesthetically pleasing recipe, The Original Chef Chris’ Sweet Potato Pie in time for the holidays. Chef Christopher Montgomery – Personal Chef and Food consultant (347) 6449131

Original Ch ef Chris’ Sweet Potato Pie Ingredients: Pie Filling: 2 large sweet pota 6 oz., light brow toes n sugar 3 oz., melted butter 2 eggs 2 TBS vanilla extract 1 can evapor ated milk 1 TBS cinnam on

½ TBS nutmeg 1 tsp salt 2 TBS of self-ris ing flour 1 packet crea m cheese Graham Crack er Pie Crust 1 lb. graham cracker crum bs 4 oz. sugar 4 oz. melted bu tter


L.A. Focus/November 2017

Mix graham cracker crum bs and sugar Add melted b into mixing b utter and mix owl. until evenly b should be co lended. Crum mpletely mois bs te n 9-inch pie pa ed by the bu n. Bake at 35 tter. Pour into 0 fo Cool before a r 10 minutes dding pie fillin g Boil sweet p otatoes until soft. Drain, p mixer. Whip p eel and place otatoes, suga in r and cream blended. Add chee salt, cinnamo n and nutmeg se until well combined. Ad , flour until w d melted butt ell er, eggs and Pour into coo evaporated m led pie crusts. ilk. Bake at 375 yield – 2 pies for 30 minute s


SavingGrace Cocoa Brown

L.A. Focus/November 2017



ometimes your destiny finds you.” That, in a nutshell, is how Farah “Cocoa” Brown says she came to be one of TV’s most talented comics. For seven years, Brown co-starred on Tyler Perry’s “For Better Or Worse” as the fiery and boisterous Jennifer, but the credits for the actresscomedian who has been characterized as “nothing short of a force of a nature” go far beyond the show that ended its run on the Oprah Winfrey Network last year. In fact, it was the Newport News, Virginia native who, in part, inspired Tyler Perry’s 2014 film, Single Mom’s Club and who showed her range with her portrayal of “Queen Bee” in the award-winning FX TV series, American Crime Story (The People Vs. O.J. Simpson). While she currently has two film projects in the works, Brown is presently wowing audiences around the country in Je’Caryous Johnson’s stage remake of the popular 2001 movie “Two Can Play That Game”, based on the highly-rated movie of the same name, starring Vivica Fox, Morris Chestnut, Anthony Anderson, Gabrielle Union, Wendy Raquel Robinson and Monique. She’ll reprise the character played by Monique. “Before they even told me what role I was going for, I knew it was the role Monique had in the movie,” Brown said. “Because this is one of my favorite movies, being able to do a play on this is fun.” Ironically, while standup is where Brown got her start, she says she knew nothing of comedy growing up. “I never went to comedy shows other than sitting in my college dorm watching it with friends. Never did it cross my mind to be a standup comic.” That is until after graduating from VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University) and starting her first job as an advertising associate for Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus, she found herself sitting in her cubicle, bored. It was then she realized that as a creative person, it was not for her. A friend suggested she try her hand at comedy. “He saw something in me I didn’t even see because I did a lot of hosting and plays and I’d always end up playing comedic role. One day I was talking to him and I was telling him that I didn’t like this career choice and he introduced me to a guy who owns a comedy club in DC.” An opportunity to do open mike followed and Brown is honest enough to say that it didn’t go so well at first. “What I realized was that they weren’t liking the so-called

jokes that I had written. They don’t want you trying to make them laugh.” Instead, Brown found success and her own footing in retelling the gritty truth of her own hard-knock lessons in a way that not only drew audiences in but made them explode in laughter. And for that Brown was nicknamed by a cadre of female fans nationwide as “the truth”. But while standup comedy was a release, acting was her first love. “As soon as they say action,” Brown states, “I’m able to just step out of myself and be someone else, it’s one of the best feelings ever.” Despite her successes on shows like BET’s “Comic View” and “One Mic Stand”, and “Showtime at the Apollo”, breaking into acting wasn’t at all easy. “When I hear these comics and actresses who made it say, ‘you’ve got to do the work and believe in yourself,’ they always leave out that one manager or agent who believed in them and had the power to open those doors. I tell people that all the time that plenty of us do the work, but until someone of power opens those doors and blows you up, you are just going to keep spinning your wheels. Yes, you can get a lot of your own opportunities, but for the brass ring, it definitely takes someone of power to bring you there.” For Brown, that someone was Tyler Perry, who in 2011, cast her as “Jennifer” in “For Better Or Worse” and with that the chance to shape the character that would come to define her breakthrough success. “When we were working out the kinks of how I wanted Jennifer to be portrayed when we first started the show, I didn’t want her to come off as uneducated or unintelligent, I wanted her to be a woman who overcome some adversity—but she’s just a little rough around the edges.” Ironically, while for six years, Brown had embodied the character almost like a glove, she is just as clearly working to establish that the range of her talent extends beyond the sistergirl stereotype. “I think a whole lot of people were shocked when they saw me play Queen B on the people versus OJ.” The reality is she is not that much like “Jennifer” in real life. “Once my agent got to know me, she was like, ‘you’re really bougie’. I said, what? She said, ‘People really think you are this character who’s ghetto and over the top. Then I go no, she’s bougie.’ “I said to her, I grew up pretty refined in a pink and green bedroom,” Brown adds. “My mother is a firm believer that a lady knows how to act in whatever room she’s in, but I also

got to experience both sides of the spectrum. I’m the kind of chick that can throw an A-class tea party and then turn it into a spades party afterward.” Brown started acting in plays at the age of ten

My mother is so cocky with her faith that even growing up as a child she would just say God’s got it and just leave it. She was one of those quiet praying women, so I grew up as a child hearing Mahalia Jackson and her saying you got to have a relationship with God.”

and even then was confident in her talent. “Acting wasn’t a problem,” she says. “What threw my parents off was when I told them I wanted to become a standup comedian.” What has always helped to smooth things out was the cocky faith she says her Mom instilled in her. “My mother is so cocky with her faith that even growing up as a child she would just say God’s got it and just leave it,” Brown recalls. “She was one of those quiet praying women, so I grew up as a child hearing Mahalia Jackson and her saying you got to have a relationship with God. “I’ve always said that I’m cocky with my faith because I was traveling the world by myself— going to countries where I could not speak the language to tell jokes—and I wasn’t worried when I got off that plane and walked into clubs in cities I didn’t know. I’ve always felt like God had me and that God has a sense of humor because some of the things that happen I’m like, ‘okay Lord’. My fiveyear-old now says “really Lord?” That’s because Brown’s faith has been more than tested, particularly when she packed up and left Los Angeles to head back down south to Atlanta. “Everybody probably thought I was a fool to at the height of my career just move to Georgia where it’s almost like starting over,” Brown said. “I’m A-list, but there’s not that many A-list opportunities in Georgia. “At the time, I had big divorce and I really had an eye opening of who my friends really were through that divorce and becoming a single mom. I didn’t know anything about this single-parent thing. My parents celebrated 50 years of marriage. I realized God brought me to Atlanta to be closer to my family, but also to heal. So I know He is ordering my steps again. I just don’t know where he is taking me right now.” What she does know is she’s finally comfortable in her own skin. “I am in a good place now. I want audiences to connect with my story and in the course of that journey find their own. That is my inspiration, my peace. I am finally learning how to love myself and most importantly, I am not afraid to use my voice.”

L.A. Focus On The Word November 2017 Issue