L.A. Focus On The Word July 2016 Issue

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



j u ly





UPFRONT: Justice Dept Mandates Bias Training For Personnel PAGE   17

RED CARPET STYLE Beyonce Dazzles at CFDA Awards PAGE  26

Dolphin’s Of Hollywood Musical Reopens at Kirk Douglas Theater >> Today, record stores are a vanishing breed,

but before there was a Sam Goody, Tower Records or Virgin Megastore, there was Dolphins of Hollywood. In its heyday—1948 through 1958—the store located on Central Avenue, drew such music legends as Sam Cooke, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holliday, Charlie Parker, Nat King Cole....

SAVING GRACE Edwina Findley-Dickerson

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July 2016

L.A. Focus Publication

Left: BET/AEG with Councilmember Herb Wesson joined to present a check for $5,000 to Crenshaw YMCA Youth;(Middle):150th Anniversary of African American Buffalo Soldiers, Senator Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia),hosted a reception in the State Capitol; (Right)Loise McCarthy (Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County), Rebeca Aguirre, Carmen Ibarra (Achievable CEO), Congresswoman Karen Bass and Dr. Michelle Catanzarite (Achievable CMO) at the Achievable Health Center. Culver City, 29 June 2016. Photography by Bailey.

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USA Needs More Entrepreneurs, Not More Bureaucrats

From The Editor Upfront

Justice Department Mandates Bias Training for Law Enforcement Personnel; Celebrity Photographer Bill Jones Dies at 84; Brexit: What Went Wrong & What It Means For Blacks

Head to Head

14 23 Inside Hollywood 16 One On One 24 In Good Taste Saving Grace Eye On Gospel 26 17 Calendar/Around LA

Is Gospel Music In Trouble? Find Out Why Some Say Hip Hop Is The Answer

Dolphins of Hollywood Musical Reopens

One Survivor’s Story of Life Above the Noise: Brook Bello

“Big Man Bakes”

Donald Glover

Shirley Caesar Honored With Star On Hollywood Walk Of Fame; Hezekiah Walker Gets Better On New Album

7 Headlines From Africa Church News 18 Feature Story 8 First Lady Files Money Matters 19 10 Biz News Pastor Profile 20 11 Dollars & $ense From The Pulpit 21 Red Carpet Style 13 Casting Blame In The Orlando Massacre

Through The Storm

Edwina Findley Dickerson

Faithful Central Hosts Human Trafficking Forum; Largest U.S. Presbyterian Elects First Black Leader

Alyce Shigg - Love Lifted Me Missionary Baptist Church

Byron Allen Acquires TheGrio.com

Dr. Najuma Smith-Pollard

Shirley Caesar smiles to crowd as she receives her star on Hollywood Walk of Fame.

With Bob Blake

”Can The Boy Be Saved” - Mt. Moriah Church- Pastor Melvin Wade

CFDA Awards 2016

staff Publisher/Editor-In-Chief Staff Writers Contributors Photographer Advertising

Lisa Collins Stephen Oduntan Emma Gannon Larry Elder Ian Foxx Kisha Smith Leatha Davis

advisory board

Napoleon Brandford Pastor Beverly Crawford Marc T. Little

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

honorary advisors Bishop Charles Blake Bishop Noel Jones Paradise Baptist Church Dr. Aaron D. Iverson Southern MBC Rev. Xavier L. Thompson F. A.M.E. Church Dr. Cecil Murray Faithful Central Bible Church Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer Mt. Moriah Baptist Church Rev. Melvin Wade Mt. Zion MBC Rev. E.V. Hill II West Angeles C.O.G.I.C.

L.A. Focus–On the Word, is published monthly. Address all correspondence to: L.A. Focus, 333 W. Florence Ave., Suite C333 Inglewood, CA 90301 • (310) 677-6011 Fax: (310) 677-2338 Subscription rates $25.00 per year. Copyright, January 1995 by L.A. Focus :uscripts/photographs are not accepted, nor shall any responsibility for them be assumed.

City of Refuge

Cover Design: ClayHouse Visual Branding Designs

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Star Parker Guest Columnist

“USA Needs More Entrepreneurs, Not More Bureaucrats” ber, the ride-hailing company, founded in 2009, began operations in San Francisco in 2011, and now has a presence in 449 cities worldwide. From its beginning with just a vision, the firm's market value, by recent estimates, now exceeds $60 billion dollars. Uber is just one of many new emerging businesses that are the result of applying new technology to the routine affairs of living. In this case, rather than needing to hail a cab or order one from a central office, you just connect with drivers through an app on your smartphone. When existing businesses find themselves threatened by innovation, they have two choices. Adapt and change or try to destroy the innovation that is challenging their existence. The business that ride-hailing firms like Uber, and its smaller rival Lyft, challenge is a highly regulated business -- the taxi business -- that is tightly controlled by the cities in which they operate. These are governmentcontrolled monopolies designed to limit competition. So it's not surprising that the taxi business opts for option two in dealing with the threat from Uber -- use government and regulation to try and squash their competition. Of course, when competition is squashed, it's consumers that pay the price and lose benefits and services that they otherwise would enjoy. The latest push to squeeze out Uber and Lyft is to require fingerprinting as part of driver background checks and running the fingerprints through an FBI arrest database. Uber says it does background checks by name, working with a firm that checks court information to uncover criminal records. Recently, Uber and Lyft pulled out of Austin, Texas, because of the city's refusal to pull the fingerprinting requirement. Let's think about this for a minute. If a horrible incident occurs that is the result of Uber not adequately checking its drivers, the firm could well wind up out of business. Who has more to lose if Uber doesn't do its business properly -- Uber or a politician who claims to be looking out for consumers but in all likelihood has been lobbied by the taxi companies and just wants to


preserve the status quo? John H. Cochrane, a fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, has written recently about the anemic economic growth of the country. This slow growth translates into huge losses in jobs and income. Cochrane attributes this slow growth to bloated government and an overregulated economy. "The country needs a dramatic legal and regulatory simplification, restoring the rule of law," he says. "State and local impediments such as occupational licensing and zoning are also part of the problem. ... Economic regulation is largely designed to protect profits, jobs and wages tied to old ways of doing things. Everyone likes growth, but only in someone else's backyard." Uber has an unusual ally, in its battle against fingerprinting, in the Congressional Black Caucus. But the Caucus is on the right side of this issue for the wrong reason. They argue that fingerprinting will cause discrimination against blacks. Fingerprinting checks reveal arrests, not convictions, and blacks, they say, are arrested disproportionately. But why can't the Black Caucus stand up uniformly for free enterprise? According to a survey commissioned by Uber, 24 percent of their drivers are black. I use Uber all the time and meet these young black drivers, making extra money and building their entrepreneurial skills. Protecting the status quo from competition is not in anyone's interest. Certainly not the interests of low-income Americans who want to get ahead. A new report from the University of California, Riverside School of Business Administration notes that the number of black-owned businesses grew 40.3 percent from 2007 to 2012, compared to 3.4 percent nationwide. The last thing these new black entrepreneurs need is to be regulated out of business. We should be welcoming innovation, not trying to crush it. A country obsessed with protecting the past has no future. Star Parker is an author and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education. Contact her at www.urbancure.org.

From the Editor “Changing With The Times”


“In my inaugural address,” the president recalled, “I remarked that just 60 years earlier, my father might not have been served in a D.C. restaurant. There were no black CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Very few black judges. Today, former Bull Michael Jordan isn’t just the greatest basketball player of all time -- he owns the team. When I was graduating, the main black hero on TV was Mr. T. Rap and hip hop were counterculture, underground. Now, Shonda Rhimes owns Thursday night, and Beyoncé runs the world. We’re no longer only entertainers, we're producers, studio executives. No longer small business owners -- we're CEOs, we’re mayors, representatives, Presidents of the United States. “But there are folks of all races who are still hurting. We’ve still got an achievement gap when black boys and girls graduate high school and college at lower rates than white boys and white girls. “We’ve got a justice gap when too many black boys and girls pass through a pipeline from underfunded schools to overcrowded jails. This is one area where things have gotten worse. When I was in college, about half a million people in America were behind bars. Today, there are about 2.2 million. “But as complicated and sometimes intractable as these challenges may seem, the truth is that your generation is better positioned than any before you to meet those challenges, to flip the script. He went on to offer this advice: First, be confident in your heritage. Second, remember the tie that does bind us as African Americans —our particular awareness of injustice and unfairness and struggle; third, that one must go through life with more than just passion for change; but a strategy. And your plan, he said better include voting -- not just some of the time, but all the time. “In 2014, only 36 percent of Americans turned out to vote in the midterms -- the second lowest participation rate on record. Youth turnout was less than 20 percent. Four out of five did not vote. You don’t think that made a difference in terms of the Congress I've got to deal with? Finally, he concluded that change required listening. In particular, it requires listening to those with whom you disagree, and being prepared to compromise. James Baldwin once wrote, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” Keep the faith.

L.A. Focus/July 2016

f at all possible, the world got even crazier last month— a little more evil, a little more fearful. All because what happened in Orlando isn’t supposed to happen here. Score a big victory for homegrown terrorism. Score another new low for the world we live in. A world where terrorist acts are as regular as the mail. I’m a little basic and perhaps as I’ve gotten older, even more old fashioned, but we can’t put all the blame on the terrorists at least when it comes to homegrown terrorism. We have to accept responsibility for creating the kind of society where someone would aspire to that. A society where violence is the norm. Where having a long gun or an assault weapon isn’t so odd. A society where the music, the movies, the imaging, reflects that one needs to be the biggest and the baddest, absent the decorum and gentility that once dominated our social mores. I’m not ashamed to say that I grew up in the Leave It To Beaver generation where Father Knows Best and Ozzie & Harriet and even The Brady Bunch ruled. With every episode came another lesson about what was right or wrong, what was responsible, how to treat others with respect, how to carry oneself with dignity. Shame you don’t see any of that on TV today. Instead, contrast that with “Game Of Thrones”, “The Real Housewives of Atlanta”, “American Crime” and “Orange Is The New Black”. And let’s not talk about the messaging in the music, music videos and films where violence, profanity and gratuitous sex are the order of the day. I know this is an old argument, but what goes into these young minds day in and day out, so often determines what comes out. What’s more, everything, it seems, is turned inside out. A day or so after the Orlando massacre CNN anchor Don Lemon was speaking with the Dad of the shooter, who said that he believed that and he asked the father did you teach your son about homosexuality and the man replied, that God created man for woman, and woman for man. To which Lemon replied, “So, you believe God created a woman for a man, man for a woman and not two men or two women together?” ‘Did you teach him that,’ Lemon pressed the Dad. Did I miss something? When did it become wrong to teach your children that God intended marriage to be between a man and a woman—something that has always been spelled out in the Bible. Or is it no longer politically correct to be a Bible-believing Christian. My, how the world has changed. On the bright side, in his recent culmination speech to Howard University’s graduating class, Obama pointed out how the world has gotten better.



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UpFront Justice Department Mandates Bias Training Celebrity Photographer for Law Enforcement Personnel Bill Jones Dead At 84

he Department of Justice has announced that it will train all of its law enforcement agents and prosecutors to recognize and address implicit bias as part of its regular training curricula. The new training, based on the latest social science research and best practices in law enforcement, will begin across the department in the next few weeks. Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates sent a memo to all law enforcement agents and prosecutors informing them of the new Implicit Bias Training Program and its importance to a strong and fair criminal justice system. “Our officers are more effective and our communities are more secure when law enforcement has the tools and training they need to address today’s public safety challenges,” said Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch. “At the Department of Justice, we are committed to ensuring that our own personnel are well trained in the core principles and best practices of community policing. Today’s announcement is an important step in our ongoing efforts to pro-


mote fairness, eliminate bias and build the stronger, safer, more just society that all Americans deserve.” “The Department of Justice has a responsibility to do everything we can to ensure that our criminal justice system is fair and impartial,” said Deputy Attorney General Yates. “Given that the research is clear that most people experience some degree of unconscious bias, and that the effects of that bias can be countered by acknowledging its existence and utilizing response strategies, it is essential that we provide implicit bias training to all of our prosecutors and law enforcement agents.” Through the new training, over 28,000 department employees will learn how to recognize and address their own implicit bias, which are the unconscious or subtle associations that individuals make between groups of people and stereotypes about those groups. Implicit bias can affect interactions and decisions due to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion and socio-economic status, as well as other factors. Social science has shown that all individuals experience some form of implicit bias but that the effects of those biases can be countered through training. In the coming weeks, the department will begin rolling out the training to the more than 23,000 agents employed by the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), as well as the approximately 5,800 attorneys working in the U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country.

egendary celebrity photographer, William (Bill) Jones, a fixture on Hollywood red carpets for more than 50 years and a favorite of black celebrities, has died in hospice care at the age of 84. His interest for photography surfaced while stationed in England, and soon began studying at the London School of Photography. There he snapped his first celebrity photo of the Late Muhammad Ali. For many years, the Mansfield, Ohio native was one of few African American photographers on the red carpet who experienced unfair treatment but he did not let that hinder his talents or drive. He made his mark with his lens, known for capturing the positive energy of everyone he shot in photos that appeared in Jet, Ebony, Right on, Sister to Sister Magazine and L.A. Focus among other publications. Many of his favorite subjects include Halle Berry, Denzel Washington, Eddie Murphy, Magic Johnson, Quincy Jones, and Sidney Poitier all credit Jones with capturing some of the most important photos in their careers. Dozens of his photographs will be included in the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, which is set to open in Washington D.C. on September 24. A candlelight memorial service is being planned for July 14.


Brexit: What Went Wrong & What It Means For Blacks


on’t get tricked like they got tricked in London,” Samuel Jackson cautioned blacks at the BET Awards urging them to get out the vote and commenting on the Brexit vote that has put world markets and the European Union in a tailspin. But while many Americans view the vote that sent shockwaves around the world as a Great Britain problem, Jackson isn't the only American drawing parallels. So to is President Obama, who pointed out that the Brexit vote and Trump's campaign were both are marked by "xenophobia". "I think there is a xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment that is splashing up not just in Great Britain but throughout Europe, that has some parallels with what Mr. Trump has been trying to stir up here," Obama said. Just after the vote, Trump tweeted out: “Just arrived in Scotland. Place is going wild over the vote. They took their country back, just like we will take America back.” Leaving the EU, however, is seen as a backwards step for Britain by most. Already, inflation has gyrated like never before, and the pound falling to its lowest level. The Brexit vote has also divided the UK in a big way, with Scotland chasing a referendum of its own to leave Britain and seek a deal with the EU. While the dust is far from settled, political pundits say Brexit provides many lessons for the UK and the world at large.

Gabriel Princewill, editor of one of Britain's most respectable online blogs, the eye of media.com told L.A focus: “Uppermost among them is the need for foresight and prudence whenever putting discretion in the hands of an uninformed and largely uneducated public. “Many of these voters can hardly make smart decisions about their own lives,” continued Princewill, “let alone Britain’s future. A major decision of this magnitude should not have been put to the electorate to determine, Princewill asserted. “Remain” campaigners failed to spell adequately out and expound on the pros and cons of the EU, some pundits have pointed out. U.K’s black community generally acknowledges the referendum results centered on deep-seated discontent about immigration. Those Princewill spoke with seemed to identify with EU foreigners as immigrants, and took the decision to unite with them. “As immigrants themselves, they shunned the idea of wanting to leave the EU because of immigration. Most see the immigration issue as double standards because of the history of colonial rule, where Britain invaded other countries and appropriated the proceeds for their benefit. ''However, the issue with Brexiters is slightly more complex,” Princewill continued. It involves issues of housing, feelings of marginalization as a result of


an unrestricted influx of foreigners to the country. Many of such Brexiters fail to take responsibility for their own failings to succeed, instead comparing themselves to refugees who have been given houses to live in, as though they should have been left on the streets''. Gary Ferdinand, a Black Brit (by way of Jamaica) said he voted to leave because he was fearful of new arrivals and his chances in a full job and housing market—sentiments often echoed by indigenous Brits. The referendum appears to have unleashed bigotry towards the ethnic minority, but not necessarily of Eastern European background. Hate crimes rose 57 percent in the immediate aftermath of the referendum. “The other day while walking down Finchley Road (North London), a man came up to me totally random and told me to ‘F off back to where you came from,’” Dele De Gooner, a Black British woman of Nigerian descent said. For Americans, the main concern is the impact Brexit will have on the stock market and 401ks in the months to come as well as the concern of instability in the EU. Said wealth coach Deborah Owens, “Get used to this new financial normal of volatility and keep your eye on your pocketbook.” Of course, there is at least one bright spot. Travel to the UK just got a lot cheaper.

News Briefs Minimum Wage Goes Into Effect Effective July 1, 2016 Los Angeles area employers will not only offer six days of paid leave benefits, but also begin paying a higher minimum wage under city and county laws that will eventually increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Businesses with more than 25 workers are to increase their minimum wage from the state-mandated $10 an hour to $10.50. Increases will take place in Los Angeles and other areas of the county along with a few nearby cities such as Santa Monica and Pasadena. Besides an increase in wages, employers with more than 25 workers must offer six days of paid sick leave benefits thereby exceeding the three days prieviously required under state law. Smaller businesses have an extra year to implement both provision. The first step of gradual minimum wage increase to $15 will be for Mayor Eric Garcetti and other city officials to have a discussion. For workers to learn more about efforts to enforce the new wage there was a free resource fair held at Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles. The prediction of city and county ordinances is that minimum wage will eventually reach $15 per hour by the year 2020, and for smaller businesses it will be $15 per hour by 2021. Jan. 1, 2017 under the state's own phase-in of a $15 per hour minimum wage, the $10.50 wage goes into effect six months later than the city laws. Friday July 1,2016 will be an "exciting day for thousands — tens of thousands — of workers all across the city of Los Angeles (who) will see a pay increase from $10 to $10.50 per hour," said Rusty Hicks, who leads the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.

Affirmative Action Upheld In Supreme Court Ruling Attempts to strike down race-based affirmative action by the 30-year conservation campaign came to an abrupt end, when a University of Texas admissions policy was upheld by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, last of Reagan’s appointees to the Supreme Court. A university and its leaders deserve “considerable deference” as they seek “student body diversity” that is “central to its identity and educational mission,” said Kennedy. The Justices rejected a discrimination claim by 4-3 vote brought by a white student who had excellent credentials when she was denied acceptance for admission by the Austin campus. Abigail Fisher became the plaintiff in a suit that requested the court to no longer consider a student’s race or ethnicity since it violated the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protections of laws. The court’s decision is a massive victory for affirmative action especially because Kennedy had been a steady critic of race-based admissions policies in the past. There have been multiple efforts to end affirmative action however it still stands.

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Casting Blame In The Orlando Massacre n Sunday, June 12 at Americans have mastered 7:17 a.m., I awoke to a “America, your praying for victims of gun viohands are not frantic text message lence in one breath, and in the from my best friend of twenty clean in Orlando case of LGBT Americans, conyears informing me there was demning us to hell in the very massacre” shooting at a gay club in next. Activist and public intelOrlando. Not yet fully awake, the serious- lectual Darnell Moore said it best in one of ness of his text or what I’d learn upon the many Facebook status updates he’s searching for details online didn’t fully reg- written since the Orlando tragedy: “And for ister in my mind, until I turned my TV to my church-going friends now praying for CNN. I’ll never be able to erase the images the dead, who might otherwise be in sancof wounded victims being dragged from tuaries where we Pulse nightclub along the sidewalk to the LGBT folk have been safety of ambulances and police vehicles called hell-bound sinfrom the massacre we now know claimed ners and demons and 49 innocent lives and injured 53 others. much else, take some They just wanted to dance—in a safe time to pray for your place where their sexual orientation, gen- folk, too, because der identity or public affection wouldn’t be tragedies like this are subjected to disapproving looks, verbal a consequence of the harassment or physical attacks. And in a violent theologies matter of hours, Omar Mateen, the gun- preached from the Darian Aaron man responsible for the deadliest mass pulpits many support.” shooting in U.S. history violated their sancI don’t cry often, but in the two weeks tuary and dimmed their light forever. since Mateen walked into Pulse and A lot has been uncovered about Mateen unleashed a wave of terror, the tears have in the days following his horrific,cowardly come swiftly and with a heightened awareact, yet questions remain. Was he gay? Was ness that it could have been me. When I it an act of terrorism? Should the shooting think about the fear that surely engulfed be labeled an LGBT hate crime? Is this the victims as gunshots rang out, or as they God’s way of punishing the LGBT commu- witnessed the bodies of those around them nity for embracing what some consider ‘sin- drop to the floor upon impact, or as Eddie ful behavior’ based on their limited and Jamoldroy Justice sent his last text mesoften homophobic interpretation of scrip- sage from the bathroom floor of the club to ture? his mother informing her that he was going There are no easy answers to these to die, the tears come and they don’t relent. questions, and a vigorous discussion should This is our America.Where it’s easier to and will continue about the years, days and buy an assault weapon than it is to guaranhours that led Mateen to shatter the lives tee that every citizen will have access to a of 49 individuals and their families along quality education or the right to vote. with the perceived safety and progress of Where same-sex couples can be married on LGBT people and allies around the world. Friday and fired on Monday. And where What I do know for sure is that Mateen anti-gay/trans hatred is written into law repeatedly pulled the trigger, but it was the and the deaths of LGBT people are praised society in which he was reared that sup- and deemed God’s will. plied the bullets. This is the culture that loaded his gun. America, your hands are not clean. The potential for Mateen to commit Churches, your hands are not clean. Anti- additional acts of terror may have died gay politicians, your hands are not clean. with him, but the lessons in internal and Parents whose love is conditional for your external hatred and homophobia that he LGBT children or completely withheld learned lives on. Americans now have an because of your inability to acknowledge opportunity to change the lesson plan. And their humanity, your hands are not clean. LGBT Americans must remain vigilant, A culture that fosters and promotes aware and unwavering in our truth. A bulanti-gay sentiment —and for some, refused let can kill the body but it can never kill the to even acknowledge the victims as LGBT soul. people of color, thereby erasing their iden- Darian Aaron is Editor of Georgia Voice, tities even in death—must share some of the premier media outlet for LGBT Georgia the responsibility for the hatred Mateen and the first person of color to lead the puband others like him harbor. lication since its inception.


Headlines From Africa Angola: More  than  3,000  suspected  cases  of  yellow  fever  have  surfaced  in  Angola  and  about 1,000 in Congo in an outbreak experts fear could be the biggest urban epidemic in decades. Hundred have died as officials fear the virus could spread to a large quantity of the population that was never vaccinated and Chinese workers who could carry the virus to Asia. Central African Republic: Human Rights Watch researchers documented 18 incidents of executions by the OCRB and received credible information about 12 more people similarly killed between March 2015 and March 2016. One victim, Samson Ndakouzou, 14, had been accused of stealing.  Djibouti: In a bid to consolidate its position as a logistics trade center for the region, Djibouti recently finalized an agreement with China to streamline it customs systems. The deal comes as the East African country utilizes over $15 billion in investments and concessional financing from Chinese banks for a series of major infrastructure projects, ranging from free trade zones to a new railway and port facilities.

Ghana: Ghana has been cautioned by the United States to increase its efforts to end modern day slavery or risk losing millions of dollars in aid. According to the U.S. Department of State, Ghana is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking.  Liberia: The U.S. Government hopes to improve the future of young girls through programs that help address barriers that prevent girls from attaining an education. The new commitments build on more than $20 million in existing contributions made by a variety of organizations to the Let Girls Learn initiative announced by First Lady Michelle Obama.

A look at current news from the continent of Africa Madagascar: In the face of the most severe drought witnessed yet, people have resorted to desperate measures just to survive. They must boil and eat all their seeds as to not starve and thousands of children are living on wild cactus fruits in spite of the severe constipation they cause.  An estimated 45,000 people in the town of Bekily—(nearly half the population) —have been affected. Niger: Driven  from  its  stronghold  in  northeastern  Nigeria,  Boko  Haram  set  its  sights  on  Niger,  stepping  up attacks in the nation’s southeastern region, raiding villages for food and cattle and attacking the town of Bosso to steal weapons. A looting spree left over 40 people dead, as fishing and farming in the Lake Chad region was disrupted, causing hunger among the 280,000 people who have sought refuge in the area.  South Africa: President Jacob Zuma has been given 45 days by the country’s highest court in which to repay $509,000 to the South African treasury for upgrades made to his private home. Some $23 million in public funds was spent on his home in 2009. The upgrades included an amphitheatre, pool, chicken run and cattle enclosures. Tanzania: The Tanzania government has launched a campaign to attract investments in industries and manufacturing companies with the critical need for sustainable power supply.  Uganda: Gen. Katumba Wamala, Chief of Uganda’s Defense forces has said that the nation will establish a facility for soldiers who display symptoms of mental health disorders due to trauma from combat and other stressful incidents. Post war trauma and stress has been cited as the cause of actions by soldiers who have previously displayed signs of mental instability ranging from domestic abuse to gunning down civilians in other disputes. Zimbabwe: The Mugabe government is struggling to cover the costs of a $200 million monthly wage bill and avoid a government shutdown sparking fears of political crisis. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the world bank want to see economic reform before they step in. In the meantime, Zimbabwe has over $10 billion in debt.

L.A. Focus/July 2016

Ethiopia: Officials in the eastern Ethiopian regions of Afar and Sitti are struggling to cope with what they say is the worst drought in 25 years. The Ethiopian Red Cross Society are providing supplementary food and non-food items to 10 percent of 1.7 million malnourished children, while the region’s nomadic communities— scared for themselves and their livestock—look to aid from government and nongovernmental organizations.


ast month, a deranged terbetween Christians and our rorist with evil in his heart The “Christian LGBT neighbors with acts of Right” Didn’t terror that kill and destroy, and the poison of radical Islam in his mind opened fire at a Attack Orlando when we rebuke sincere gay Orlando night club, killing 49 – Terrorism Did prayers because they are not innocents and injuring dozens of accompanied by a particular others. Families were ripped apart, a political agenda, and when we diminish a sense of security was stolen, and spiritual act that so many – myself includAmericans were left to sort through the ed – believe has transforming power to lift headlines and try to make sense of a up a hurting world, we delay the healing hatred that can never be understood – only process. defeated. When we tell Americans that their These acts of violence deeply held beliefs on sexual orientation, break the hearts of all the 2nd Amendment, or any other topic people of conscience, preclude them from sharing in our mournregardless of reli- ing and grieving the loss of these 49 pregious faith or political cious souls the same way anyone else ideology, yet, sadly, would, we impose a chilling effect on the some voices in our freedom to believe that has guided and culture chose to use defined our country since its inception. this tragedy to furBeyond that, this talk ignores the facts ther divide; taking of the tragedy and diminishes the role of Congressman responsibility away personal responsibility in such acts of vioDiane Black from the gunman and lence. We know that the carnage in laying it at the feet of just about anyone Orlando was not the result of a pastor’s else. sermon, a Congressman’s bill, or even a Instead of grieving together in unity, as manufacturer’s gun. It was the result of a we did after September 11, 2001, we have choice made by the person who pulled the devolved to this: trigger. The killer was a terrorist influA CNN contributor used the tragedy to enced not by “right wing Christians” but denounce “right wing Christians.” An rather by a radical Islamic ideology that ACLU lawyer blamed the attack on legis- doesn’t just condone the persecution of gay lation related to marriage and religious people, women, and others – it compels it liberty. with the promise of eternal reward. A cable television host shamed those This evil cannot be legislated away who call for prayer in the wake of such with a background check or a weapons tragedies, dismissing it as “talking to ban; it must be extinguished at the source. nobody.” As our country emerges from the thick And Congressional Democrats walked fog of this terrorist act, may we be clear out during a moment of silence to honor eyed in recognizing the enemy we face, the Orlando victims. may we identify radical Islam for the These actions do not bring back a single threat that it is, may we reject the temptalife that was lost and they do nothing to tion to use tragedy for political gain, and – help heal a wounded nation. above all else – may we continue to pray. When we equate loving disagreements Amen.


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Is Gospel Music In Trouble? Find Out Why Some Are Saying Hip Hop Is The Answer LISA COLLINS


L.A. Focus/July 2016

arlier this year, members of the gospel industry were called to the headquarters of Radio One in Silver Springs, Maryland for a discussion on the future of gospel music. Hughes— whose company owns and operates 55 radio stations in 16 key markets and is the nation’s largest African American owned broadcasting company— had been experiencing declining ratings in her gospel formats and was considering a switch. A move some believe would be a huge game-changer in gospel, and not for the better. So Hughes not only met with label owners and executives, but in a separate meeting, she met with some of gospel’s biggest artists to get their feedback and suggestions. Over 2,000 miles away in Los Angeles, one of gospel’s most respected independent promotions aexperts/veteran radio tracker, Neily Dickerson was drafting a letter to her industry friends due to her own concern over the state of the gospel music industry, urging them as gatekeepers of the industry to talk about a much needed revival in the gospel music industry. “I am not sure what changed first—the focus for artists to secure a chart-topping single, promoters selling the charts or if there were simultaneous actions that caused this change,” she wrote. “When I ask a client their goal, more often than not, it is to win a Stellar or Grammy or to have a #1 single. There’s nothing wrong with that, but Jesus and salvation are rarely mentioned and that authentic feeling seems lost.” That gospel music is at a crossroads, is an understatement. “We have come to a season where serious conversation about the future of gospel is necessary”, Kirk Franklin— the genre’s best selling artist—told L.A. Focus. Sales across the board are way down, but last year’s numbers in gospel were dismal. For Larry Blackwell, Vice President of Motown Gospel, last year’s sales had a lot more to do with release schedules. “Not a lot of big name gospel artists released product. Kirk [Franklin] came out at the end of the year. The Donnie McClurkins, the Yolanda Adams—you have a generation of legacy artists that are not putting out as much music as they used to. They still have their fan base, but those fans still buy physical product and it’s not readily available,” Blackwell said. “The space at Wal-Mart, Target and the brick and mortar stores has shrunk. It’s all about configuration— we went from albums to CDs to downloading. Now the primary configuration is streaming.


Staff Writer “Consumers have gotten younger and the base has shifted. Our top accounts now include iTunes, YouTube, Amazon Digital, Google and Spotify. What has changed is wading through the turbulent waters that are the technology and getting to the platforms that sell music. The gospel consumer has yet to catch up.” Fact is, since 2006, the record industry overall has seen a 84% decrease in CD sales from $9.14 billion to just $1.5 billion last year, as downloads—once thought to be the answer—have also been steadily declining. Gospel/Christian music generally trail 2-3 years behind mainstream trends, so the majority of the revenue for the genre is still coming from physical formats. For the rest of the industry, streaming — whether paid subscriptions to Spotify, Rhapsody, internet radio, Pandora; or even videos on YouTube —make up 34.3 percent of sales, edging out digital downloads as the industry’s biggest source of revenue. The tipping point, industry experts say, is 100 million subscribers. “Once the industry gets to 100 million subscribers, that’s going to ultimately make up for the decline in the digital and physical sales and then the numbers will be explosive,” Blackwell reports. But as Phil Thornton, the newly appointed Senior Vice President and General Manager of RCA Inspiration points out, “We’re only a third of the way there and we have to start to gradually move our audience that way. They still want to go into a Wal-Mart or buy on Amazon.” And while no one can say for sure when the industry will reach that streaming tipping point of 100 million subscribers, for Tyscot Records CEO, Bryant Scott, streaming is already paying off. “Last year was the first year in our history that we did more revenue in streaming than in physical. Our streaming is about equal to our downloads. To that end, streaming and digital platforms are replacing terrestrial radio. So while I’m concerned by the moves of Radio One, I’m not as concerned as I would have been ten years ago. “Each year, more of gospel’s older fans are being acclimated to a digital age, while we have a growing population of younger people who have never experienced an analog age. My kids have never listened to radio or bought a CD. They’re getting their music from their phones.” Though still important, terrestrial radio is no longer the only barometer or gage of what is successful. “So while we want Radio One and radio in general to be healthy, the fans of Tasha Cobbs, Anthony Brown, Travis Greene all get the music on their phones,” Blackwell states. The thing about the Radio One is that they’re in killer markets and they have some great 24-

hour FM signals, but there is also a whole contingent of stations across the country that will continue to play gospel music.” KJLH is one of them. “For a while I did think gospel music was in trouble,” admits Program Director Aundrae Russell when it was just legacy artists like Kirk Franklin and Donnie McClurkin. But then came the next group—Anthony Brown, Jonathan McReynolds, Brian Courtney Wilson. It wasn’t just Mary Mary. It was Tina, Erica and Tamela Mann and I was okay. “A month ago, I was on the air and I was playing Travis Greene. My cell phone rings and it was Charlie Wilson saying who are you playing,—I’ve never heard anyone like him.’ Stevie Wonder went crazy when he heard Jonathan McReynolds and even though he’s a gospel artist, we play him during the week. There’s just so much talent out there.” None of this allays the concerns of those like Marvin Winans II, formerly of The Winans Phase II and currently the manager for rising gospel star, Tim Bowman, Jr. who recently topped the Billboard charts with his sophomore CD, Listen. Winans was one of those who attended the Radio One meeting. “Radio One has the biggest syndicated shows and they are a big factor. They draw the biggest artists for interviews. Artists like Anthony Brown wouldn't have had the success they’ve had without radio. Radio speaks to who’s getting on TV, who’s getting nominated for Stellar Awards... Everybody who promotes and puts people in churches or on tours, they’re going to the radio charts to see who’s doing well. If an artist doesn’t have Radio One, it would completely change the game.” That said, Winans is not sure that folks truly understand the problem. “As a young person, I felt for years that gospel music didn’t want my money…like they were promoting people who had nothing to do with me and my generation,” Winans observed. “When I was coming up those artists were 20-30 years older than me and now, 20 years later they’re still around.” In fact, one of the biggest complaints among youth is that gospel radio plays the same artists repetitively and for the most part, these artists just aren’t connecting with younger Christians, looking instead to artists like Lecrae, a leading Christian hip hop artist who has sold upwards of 1.5 million albums. Look Up Radio Producer Gene Burke is among those who believe that artists like Lecrae may be where gospel music is headed.

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“He is a crossover artist, yet he is not played on any gospel station. He unites cultures, yet the very nature of his style causes a sharp divide between older and younger generations. The industry has a pre-defined rubric of what gospel music is and “what works.” However, Lecrae and many like him are proof that the industry is wrong,” Burke points out. “There is a plethora of recording artists whose styles break from the traditional gospel music we all are used to. From Kierra Sheard to Mali Music, to Da T.R.U.T.H. to Andy Mineo, Jessica Reedy to Jonathan McReynolds, and The Walls Group, these artists offer a variety of musical styles that satisfy just about every preference: Hip-Hop, R&B, Pop, Urban, Soul/Jazz. Their music and personalities reach and connect with young Christians.” As Greg Bays, Executive Vice President of Capitol Christian Distribution Group pointed out at a 2015 Gospel Music Association summit, “Youth groups have always been a springboard for the genre. We haven’t had music for youth groups in a while—hip-hop is that music.” And for just as many, Lecrae is the standard. In 2008, with the release of his third CD, Rebel, he became the first Christian hip-hop artist to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Gospel chart. Four subsequent albums have also shot to the top of the charts. But after breaking through barriers in gospel for the recognition, Lecrae began to distance himself from the Christian rap/gospel label. "My music is not Christian—Lecrae is," he has said. "And you hear evidence of my faith in my music." The Atlanta-based artist, who owns Reach Records (Andy Mineo, Trip Lee) instead views himself as cross or counter cultural. Whatever the case, the approach for him and many of his artists, is working. He became the first artist to top both the Billboard 200 and the gospel charts with the release of his 2014 album, Anomaly. However, the approach did not sit well with some, particularly as their numbers (outselling top gospel acts) landed them in coveted top slots on Billboard’s Top Gospel Albums Chart. So after years of fighting for hip-hop or gospel inclusion, in 2014, Christian rappers were removed from Billboard’s gospel charts and in 2015, the Gospel Music Association Dove Awards was criticized for naming Lecrae Artist of the Year idue to the fact that he had repeatedly rejected the label of "Christian rapper". But says Winans, “We shouldn’t even be having the conversation about whether or not hip hop is being played on gospel radio,” “The purpose of the gospel is to reach the people who need to hear it. If you look at young people

Travis Greene

Casey J.


TASHA COBBS - 97,000







today, they don’t even want to go to church. We need to meet them where they are and that means creating and promoting artists they can relate to. Lecrae is one of those artists. Yes, people are online, but they get bigger exposure when they’re on radio. All of it works together. Big ups to Cathy Hughes and Radio One for caring. “What if Lecrae had had the backing of radio. He’d be bigger than Kirk. Now they’ve created their own underground movement and they’re satisfied. “For me,” Winans continues, “Tim [Bowman] wasn’t just a gospel music artist nor was he necessarily a millennial artist. He has a more friendly sound. Where you can satisfy people who want the gospel message in the church and people who wouldn’t listen to gospel.” “There is a generational gap that hasn’t been bridged,” reports Jerry Smith, the Inspirational Content Director for Radio One. “Older folks love their gospel, but are not embracing the younger sound and the numbers of the young people aren’t there. The ones that are there are loyal. They love the music of Lecrae, Andy Mineo and the like, but the data might not show it because the population is so small.” For artists like Smokie Norful, support is the key. “We just need to start buying music. We lose out as a genre. The Gospel is the most important message there is. I know I’m biased but that is the truth…we need to get to the point where we start buying music and tickets to go to these concerts. We get angry when they don’t have a gospel representation or they don’t do anything for our genre and our community, but we don’t do anything for ourselves.” And while all agree, the message of Christ must remain at the heart of the music; the delivery must change if gospel is to remain relevant, whether it’s what people are referring to as the growing sub-genre of rhythm and praise or hip hop. Fact is, over the last decade, sharing online and outlets like YouTube have more and more become key plays in the gospel industry. Mali Music created a base of followers online. No one knows that better than Bryant Scott, who believes that its all about artists who can directly connect with their fan bases, like one of his newest artists, Briana Babineaux, who soared to #1 on Billboard’s gospel chart earlier this year with her debut album, Keys To My Heart. “Bri amassed almost 400,000 Instagram followers,” Scott said. “I’m glad she can sing, but what that told me was that she is a master at connecting with her fans. Now we’re just trying to get her the best material. “Anthony Brown is writing tremendous music and

Mali Music

Andy Mineo






experiencing great success and is also learning how to better connect with his fan base via social media. So while I think hip-hop is an answer, it’s not the answer. I believe making music people want to hear is the real answer. “We point to the Lecraes,” Scott continues, “but there are a bunch of hip hop artists that aren’t selling anything. I believe gospel’s old guard had gotten lackadaisical in their approach. Kirk [Franklin] made a statement at the Grammy brunch, ‘these young guys are making me go back to the tool shed. They’re bringing it and it’s authentic.’” Phil Thornton agrees. “We have to get back to being authentic. Marvin Sapp’s Never Would Have Made It was authentic. He wasn’t trying to cross over. Somewhere people started to replicate the Kirk Franklins and Mary Mary’s and that’s not the answer. “When you try to create a formula for what is a hit, it’s not going to work. When you look at a Tamela Mann, that lets you know that people will buy. “We’ve got to go back to setting a standard and not following the leader to get radio play. When I see and hear artists like Anthony Brown, Tasha Cobbs, Le’Andria, Travis Greene, Jonathan McReynolds and Lecrae on a talent level…it blows you away. We really have to get behind it and walk in the next wave of artists for the genre to evolve. Quite a number of them are doing amazing work. There will be a shift. In fact, hip-hop is happening already and I’m looking to have a bigger footprint in the hip-hop space. You’ve got to embrace it, it’s here. It’s not going to be the sole answer, but it’s part of it. “Looking at the overall landscape, there are some things we have to do—touring, more credible artist managers. We don’t have the budgets of Adele or Taylor Swift, but we [African Americans] are on our cell phones more than any other people. Let’s stream. Let’s buy a digital download. It’s not the future. It’s here and now.”


Jessica Reedy

Trip Lee

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MoneyMatters Dolphin’s Of Hollywood Musical Reopens at Kirk Douglas Theater


oday, record stores are a vanishing breed, but before there was a Sam Goody, Tower Records or Virgin Megastore, there was Dolphins of Hollywood. In its heyday—1948 through 1958—the store located on Central Avenue, drew such music legends as Sam Cooke, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holliday, Charlie Parker, Nat King Cole and Duke Ellington. Known for its live R&B broadcasts, the store was open 24 hours and enjoyed phenomenal success, not only outselling many of its white competitors, but drawing as many white customers. The store, established by John Dolphin, would thrive into the 70’s, expanding onto Crenshaw Boulevard, but sadly Dolphin wasn’t able to see it. In 1958, he was murdered by an employee who as it turned out was also a frustrated singer looking for Dolphin to give him his big break. Last year, grandson Jamelle Dolphin undertook the noble duty of keeping his family’s name alive by restoring the historic Dolphins of Hollywood Records name and turning it into a modern R&B music label and popular musical whose 2015 engagements at the Lillian and Hudson Theatres earned a critical review from the L.A. Times and sell out audiences. The musical, which tells the story of how his grandfather, record industry pioneer John Dolphin created the landmark L.A. record store, helped to pioneer early crossover R&B and was ultimately murdered. It is a history the younger Dolphin is passionate about pre-

serving as the musical is set to reopen in a larger venue at the Kirk Douglas Theater in Culver City this month. Dolphin had plenty of business and marketing experience under his belt when he created Dolphins of Hollywood Entertainment. Having graduated from Sonoma College with a degree in business administration marketing, he had already established himself as a marketer and real estate broker. While he enjoyed the work, his passions were elsewhere. “[My grandfather] was probably the main motivation, just wanting to keep the name alive,” Dolphin says. “The record store business died out in the ‘90s with all the big conglomerates that had taken over. The store itself ended in 1989. But the Dolphin name was one that Jamelle knew had to live on - even if it had to take on a slightly new style. “After I graduated college and got into business myself, I decided to kind of start the name again but not as a record store,” he says. “Record stores are not that much of a big business anymore. So I started the business off as record label and turned it into more of a production company, producing videos and musicals as well.” The label works primarily with R&B artists.

On the Money Clintons Get Top Dollar Much has been made by Senator Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump of the money Democratic Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton earned from paid speeches to big Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs. So just how much money was it? Since 2001, Hillary Clinton and her husband, President Bill Clinton made upwards of $153 million from speaking engagements for an average of $210,795, with $7.7 million of that gleaned from speeches to Wall Street banks. The former president got the lion’s share of the monies for a total speech income of just over $132 million, while Hillary—who was serving as Secretary of State through February 2013—cleared $21 million from April 2013 through March of 2015. While daughter Chelsea Clinton pulls in about $75,000, topping the list of highest fees for speeches is Donald Trump who has charged up to a staggering $1.5 million per speaking engagement. Others making big bucks for speeches include Sarah Palin ( $ 1 0 0 K ) , Condoleeza Rice ($150K) and George Bush ($150K).

Money Matters continued to page 12

Biz NewsBriefs Byron Allen Acquires TheGrio.com

Byron Allen, comedian, TV producer and founder/CEO of Entertainment Studios (whose lineup of shows includes Comics Unleashed, America’s Court With Judge Ross and We The People With Gloria Allred) ) recently announced his expansion online with the acquisition of the popular digital news platform,TheGrio.com. The site, which features breaking news impacting the African American community and was once owned by NBC News, boasts 3 million monthly visitors. "We are one thousand

percent committed to continue expanding this digital news community's reach across all global media platforms, including our broadcast television syndication programs, cable television networks, and motion picture division," said Allen. He added, "We plan on investing heavily in digital publishing, and TheGrio has an excellent management team, making it the perfect asset to start our portfolio of online publishing." "Byron shares our vision of growing TheGrio into the leading video content creator and distribution platform for African-Americans”, said David Wilson, TheGrio cofounder and executive editor. “We look forward to developing the next iteration of TheGrio, and the fact that it will remain 100% African American-owned is very significant."

publication, which had a reported circulation upwards of 1 million and was founded by John H. Johnson but had been struggling. In 2010, the company sold its historic Michigan Avenue headquarters and in 2014 it suspended print publication. What it has not sold is it’s extensive photo archives chronicling the civil rights movement and some of black American’s biggest moments and personalities. Johnson Publishing Chair Linda Johnson Rice, the daughter of John Johnson, will be Chairman Emeritus of the new company, dubbed Ebony Media Operations. “This is the next chapter in retaining the legacy that my father, John H. Johnson, built to ensure the celebration of African Americans,” Rice said in a statement.

Smokey Robinson has announced the launch of two skincare brands, a men’s line called Get Ready Cause Here I Come® and a women’s line called My Girl®, which will be repreJohnson Publishing Sells Ebony Magazine In an effort to reduce debt and focus on the growth of sented by his wife, Frances Robinson. Two and a half years Fashion Fair Cosmetics, Johnson Publishing has sold of product development went into the lines that were inspired by the couple not being satisfied with the skincare Ebony Magazine to a Texas businessman. The sale marked the end of an era for the 62-year old products available to them in the marketplace.

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Dollars and ense Single, minority women are the most underserved market in life insurance. Most insurance agents are seeking a husband and wife who will sit down together and discuss their insurance options. Yet, minority women—especially single mothers—have an equal need in purchasing insurance. They are concerned about their children’s welfare, and eager to make provisions for their education, care, and security. What’s more, minority women tend to be loyal customers. When I began selling insurance 10 years ago, I sold an African-American woman who was right out of nursing school a $500,000 life insurance policy. She’s kept that policy to this day, even though she since has married and her situation has changed. It’s important to be armed with facts. In our office, which serves the public sector in Los Angeles, we sell to not only a tremendous number of minorities, but also a diverse population of minority groups. We take the time to consider the things that are important to each minority group. For example, hypertension is a big problem in the Hispanic community. We work with this fact to help our customers find the right insurance solution. To that end, we’ve done a tremendous job of informing them, not scaring them, and it’s paid off. Fact is, after learning African-Americans spend about $400 billion each year, I realized I’d never need to do anything else but sell to that market particularly since the best way and the only way I know to sell to any minority market is to be a member of that minority. It’s important to understand the culture of the women to whom he is selling. We live in a time of political correctness,—a time when people are afraid even to joke anymore. Because of that one must be careful of what he says. There are things I can say to AfricanAmerican women that would be misconstrued or unappreciated coming from a person from another culture. Another thing about which to be sensitive is not

“After learning African-Americans spend about $400 billion each year, I realized I’d never need to do anything else but sell to that market particularly since the best way and the only way I know to sell to any minority market is to be a member of that minority...”

Bob Blake is President of Bob Blake & Associates Inc. and has over 27 years experience in life & disability insurance market. To learn more visit: www.bobblakeinc.com or call (562) 437-7723

assuming that all black Americans are AfricanAmericans. Recent immigrants from Haiti, Jamaica, or other Caribbean islands sometimes are surprised to be called African-Americans when they consider themselves to be Caribbean-Americans. Trust is key no matter what the person’s background. Sometimes it becomes even more complicated when selling to minorities. The insurance business in Mexico and some Latin American countries has a history of fraud, so a Hispanic woman initially may be wary of discussing her insurance needs and may take longer to make a decision. Making her feel comfortable about her choices builds trust. Sometimes we have to do a lot of education because many minority women who are new to the U.S. may not be used to the decisions and choices they have when it comes to insurance or health care benefits. A woman’s role in the Hispanic culture often is family-centered and influenced by patriarchal traditions. A Hispanic woman may not be comfortable making a decision about insurance without talking it over with her husband, father, or other family member. But in the Asian-American culture, women take on a great deal of domestic responsibility, even when they work full time. For many Asian-American women, managing the family finances. African-American women also tend to be the major decision-makers for household purchases. They’re more likely than all women to be the heads-of-household, making all purchase decisions for their families. In short, I believe we have to be committed to the communities we serve,—that we have a responsibility to give back to them. The statistics reinforce that. Four in five black Americans are more likely to buy products and services from companies that have a history of supporting black communities. My job is the most awesome thing that ever could happen to me. I help people. I’ve had people call me and say, “I would have lost my house if it hadn’t been for you!” I’m proud of what I do and appreciate the opportunity it’s been for me and for all the people I’ve been able to help.


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Eye On Gospel Shirley Caesar Honored With Star On Hollywood Walk of Fame Last month, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce honored gospel legend Shirley Caesar with the 2,583rd star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. “We are proud to welcome the Reigning Queen of Gospel Shirley Caesar to our famous Walk of Fame. She is known as a musical trailblazer who has influenced a wide range of artists across genres. Her career has made an indelible mark on American music and the sounds of gospel,” stated Leron Gubler, Hollywood Chamber of Commerce President and CEO. The honor coincided with the celebration of Caesar’s 50th anniversary as a solo recording artist and a career that spans over 60 years as one of the most recognized names and voices with more than 40 recorded albums and 11 Grammy® Awards. The Durham, North Caroling native began her career recording at the age of 13 as “Baby Shirley.” “Never even in my wildest imagination would I have fathomed in my mind growing up in North Carolina that one day my name would be enshrined in a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Unimaginable. But because of God we know that all things are possible,” said Caesar. “We have all these beautiful young singers, but if they look over their shoulder, they’ll see me. I’m in the “B” club. I’ll be here when they come and when they go.” “She’s an icon and well deserves to be here,” said Kirk Franklin, who helped emcee the ceremony. “This is a continued legacy of what she’s accomplished over the last five decades.” The honor was both emotional and historical for Yolanda Adams. “Dr. Shirley Caesar has received what is totally due to her today,” Adams said. “She’s one of the most phenomenal people in the world and what a great role model for young people not just in gospel music, but in life period, for people to keep on no matter where you come from. God has big things planned and you see it here on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.” Caesar’s classic hits include “No Charge,” “Hold My Mule,” “Jesus I Love Calling Your Name,” “I Remember Mama,” “He’s Working It Out For You.” Her latest album, “Fill This House”—featuring a duet with Anthony Hamilton— was released earlier in the month. Beyond her musical ministry, Caesar serves as pastor of Mt. Calvary Word of F a i t h Church in Raleigh, N o r t h Carolina.

Hezekiah Walker Gets Better On New Album Grammy®-winning Gospel music superstar Hezekiah Walker’s new album, Azusa The Next Generation 2 - Better—the powerful follow-up to Walker’s 2013 album, Azusa the Next Generation, which spawned the global anthem, “Every Praise”— is set for release on July 22. Leading the release of the highly anticipated project (Walker’s 15th album), is the title track and first single, “Better,” which is currently #1 at Gospel radio and inspiring listeners all over the world. The album boasts nine other standout tracks, including “Work Things Out,” featuring Ashley Brown, “Grateful” featuring Antonique Smith and “Holding On” with Carl Thomas. For Azusa The Next Generation 2 Better, Walker teamed up with longtime collaborator and hit-maker Donald Lawrence to create this body of work that embodies the inspirational messages and classic sound that have been uplifting believers and non-believers alike for more than 30 years. The central theme of the album is that regardless of your situation, things will get better. Walker shares, “We’re living in a world of uncertainty. We’re all going through certain things. It’s a season where we need encouragement. My aim is to go around the world to put this into the atmosphere.” James Fortune Opens Up Grammy Award nominated gospel artist James Fortune who is known for chart-topping gospel radio classics such as “I Believe” and “I Trust You” recently sat down with “The 700 Club” television program to discuss the domestic abuse charges that rocked his household and shocked the gospel music industry two years ago. As he was going through his darkest days, Fortune says that “Prayer Saved My Life” which is also the name of his new autobiographical radio hit of the same name. “People all over the country were praying for James and his family to heal,” says Kerry Douglas, CEO of Black Smoke Music Worldwide. “We all have issues but through prayer to God, James and his family is coming through all of it with a new testimony.” The soul-stirring song is featured on the Top Ten album “Kerry Douglas Presents Gospel Mix 2016.” Briefly: Acclaimed singer, songwriter, and producer Deon Kipping debuted at #1 with his new CD, Released on June 17th, the project marks Kipping’s third release and first #1 album...Meanwhile, gospel music sweetheart, Jekalyn Carr, reached the #2 spot on both the BDS and Mediabase radio charts with her powerful and dynamic single, “You’re Bigger”!— the lead single from her forthcoming CD, The Life Project scheduled for release next month...Fo Yo Soul Recordings and RCA Records are celebrating the latest achievement of acclaimed artist, producer and songwriter, Kirk Franklin. At Sunday night’s BET Awards, Franklin received the Dr. Bobby Jones Best Gospel / Inspirational Award. This is Franklin’s third BET Award win in the award show’s 16-year history. The 2016 BET Award is the latest honor that Kirk Franklin has garnered surrounding the release of his eleventh studio album, Losing My Religion.

Money Matters continued to page 12

Dolphin has signed up and comers like San Diego talent Kiki G, and produced the video for her debut single “You Don’t Know.” The L.A. native says he enjoys having the ability to get more creative with his musical endeavors. Attaining success in real estate helped Dolphin confront the biggest obstacle with running a newly founded record label - the money. “The biggest obstacle really is just being able to finance projects. Where I normally make my money - real estate, marketing - I’m willing to take the risk because it’s something I like, I love behind it.” Dolphin has several other businesses under his thumb. His herbal supplement company, DHerbs, has been featured on The Steve Harvey Morning Show. He is also starting a popcorn brand called Aunt Emma’s popcorn, which he describes as “a new kind of air-popped, very tasty popcorn.” He says that while the record label has a long way to grow, he is satisfied knowing that his grandfather’s name will live on - and that he will always have the creative outlet he needs to do everything else. Adding, “I put my heart into it because it’s something that I enjoy.”

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Through the Storm


One Survivor's Story of Life Above The Noise

rook Bello was just eleven when a friend of the family raped her. “He was the fun guy,” Bello recalls. “He’d go swimming with the kids and take us around the neighborhood.” He had been someone she’d trusted, so when he told her the rape was her fault, she believed him. “I was extremely frightened,” says Bello. “He said no one would believe me anyway and that everyone would hate me.” A very young Bello—like so many others—didn’t say a word, but it was only the beginning of a nightmare that would rob her of her childhood and forever alter the course of her life. Before that horrific incident, she had been a straight-A student, fearless and full of imagination. But now, the world was caving in around her. “I started ditching class, doing crazy stuff. By the time I was thirteen I started leaving more and more.” The pain of the experience made Bello ripe for what was to come. “There was a ‘madame’ who came into the life of my best friend at school,” says Bello. “She was very loving. She took us shopping, out to eat and she would tell us how amazing and beautiful we were. She understood we weren’t getting love at home. She said she could help us in our lives and could love us. That we could be like a family and wouldn’t have to worry anymore.” Kindness and flattery is a common tactic for traffickers who prey on broken, hurting children. “One day, we thought w e were j u s t hanging out with h e r a n d then

everything changed. We were given drugs and I was raped,” says Bello. Bello, now addicted to drugs, was forced to prostitute herself for the madame for days at a time, returning home for brief pockets of time before winding up at the madame’s brothel again. Eventually, Bello and her friend ran away to Los Angeles, where they were homeless. “We ended up getting snatched off the street. “Initially we were living with some gypsies in Hollywood who raped us as well. “Then we met this couple. They were going to buy us some lunch and get us some food. He said she was his sister, but come to find out she was his bottom girl, a prostitute who probably got in as a kid,” Bello explains. “We went into the apartment, we had a great meal, and then their faces changed. They brought out razor blades and started screaming and yelling. They beat us up, saying what we were going to do and that we were theirs. I was hung over a balcony and had a razor blade between my legs. I was fifteen and a half. “They were traffickers and they had us pegged.” Bello and her friend were trapped, forced to sell their bodies on the street for the profit of the man who tortured and terrorized them. “You really can’t run away. They’re there the whole time. You’re already confused and lost and with someone standing by with knives and guns, you’re not going to run,” says Bello. “There was a point where the authorities were after the trafficker. I ended up in a maximum-security prison as a minor but they didn’t know I was a minor because we weren’t allowed to carry IDs and were trained to not give our age. My friend had gotten away. She turned a trick and got money to bail me out of jail and we ran away to New York.” The respite was brief. After Bello’s friend learned she was pregnant, the pair wound up back in Vegas with the madame pedophile who’d inducted them into the life of sexual trafficking. “At that point, I was addicted to drugs pretty intensely. I was just one of those lost kids out there and would remain so until I was about 24.” It wasn’t until the brothel was busted, that Bello—left with no other options—finally found an out. She and her friend moved back to Los Angeles, Bello started a job as a waitress, and eventually, found her way to Dr. Beverly “BAM” Crawford’s Bible Enrichment Fellowship International Church, where she was born again. “Being a member there was very helpful because I had never belonged to a church, and she was also molested as a child. She would talk about that and I was like, ‘Oh, wow.’ So therapy combined with prayer and church and a lot of mentors surrounding you with love was really key.” The biggest part of Bello’s healing process was the determination of her own identity. “I was never a prostitute,” Bello maintains. “I was forced into prostitution, which is a form of child sex slavery and



human trafficking. “The 35 to 40-year-old women out there are not prostitutes either because they got there at 13-14 years old and no one told them, ‘This is not who you are.’” Terms like “child prostitution” exasperate Bello, who currently travels around the country as a human trafficking consultant for a multitude of organizations, including the FBI. “You’re a slave,” she emphasizes. “You’re locked in houses of bondage—physical and mental—and no one is saying ‘Restore them.’ “A lot of churches say, ‘We have programs for prostitutes and former prostitutes.’ We need to change the language of those programs and understand what brought them to that point.” Today, Bello—who became an ordained minister in 2012—goes out from 2 to 6 a.m. once a week to talk to girls on the streets and mentors those who have come out of situations like hers. “The work that I do, God has blessed it so much,” says Bello, “but every time I tell my story or I’m working with a young lady like myself, it hurts. I’m working with some girls who are 12 years old, who were raped and sodomized. And I get really, really, really pissed off. “When I say healing, I’m pretty much all the way there now. I think when I’m totally whole, maybe I won’t get mad at all, but maybe that won’t happen. I’m still growing, and I want God to know I’m still open to grow.” Brook says there’s something everyone can do to help address the enormous problem that is human sex trafficking. “We need to talk to young people a lot more when we see something off. We need to call the 1-800 trafficking hotline or my hotline 1-(888)-544-2872. We need to support survivor-run organizations,” says Bello, who also goes by Brook Susan Parker. “We need to stop pedophilia in its tracks. We need to not close our eyes to all the girls who are being raped in their homes by their fathers and stepfathers. “And we need to let men know that they are the answer to the problem. Men of status and integrity need to stand up and say ‘These are not the qualities of a man’ because men can lead the race to end modern day slavery and human trafficking.” With a book due to be released and plans to open a dropin center in Florida this year, Bello is on a mission to bring awareness to the horrors of sex trafficking. Included as a part of the mission, Her documentary, Survivor: Living Above The Noise, is currently being screened across the nation and around the world, starting with the Cannes Festival. This fall, she’ll be at the White House for a special event addressing human trafficking. Says Bello, a stage actress who has worked with Angela Bassett and Juliette Lewis, “I speak for those who didn’t make their way out.” To learn more about Brook Bello and her foundation More Too Life, Inc., visit abovethenoise.com

G A L L E R y

“A Loving Home Will Keep Her Smiling” There are an estimated 33,000 children under the supervision of the DCFS. In the City of Angles, however, many kids languish in the system, unable to find a permanent place to call home. The majority of children in the system are between five and nine-years-old —many of whom have been exposed to a series of volatile ingredients—and DCFS desperately needs trained caregivers to meet these concerns. To learn more about becoming a foster parent or an adoptive parent visits Share Your Heart L.A’s website or call DCFS at: (888) 811-1121.

www.heartgalleryla.org www.shareyourheartla.org Photo by Anne Richardson-Daniel

L.A. Focus/July 2016

Alisha T. is a lovely, bright, energetic girl who likes to play outdoors and smile. She is bright and full of personality and she enjoys interacting with others and she is a joy to be around. She loves spending time with her sisters who are with their father and she would cherish ongoing relationships with her siblings. Alisha is learning to relate better to other peers and to also handle disappointment when she doesn’t get her way. She is currently healthy and appears developmentally on target but she may require special education services for speech and she also tested positive for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. A loving, experienced adoptive family that can continue to guide and love Alisha and who are open to ongoing sibling contact will help her to grow and flourish.


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Calendar of events


Friday, July 8

L.A. County Parks Department hosts Free Summer Lunch & Snacks Program (Through August 8) Healthy summer lunch program for kids Free Info: (818) 546-2384 laparks.org/foodprogram

On Stage: Recorded In Hollywood (The story of Dolphin’s of Hollywood) (Through August 7) $39 - $59 • Call for Showtimes Kirk Douglas Theater 9820 Washington Blvd Culver City www.recordedinhollywood.com

FNCF Community Development Corporation will provide free meals for children. Ages 18 & younger Hours: 7:00AM - 8:00 AM & 11:55 AM - 1:00PM First New Christian Fellowship Baptist Church 1555 W. 108th St. Los Angeles

Monday, July 4 Queen Mary’s All-American 4th of July Celebration Entertainment will span 1940s2000s, including vintage traveling circus & carnival Noon—11pm at dusk Adults: $44 Child (4-11): $24 Parking: $20 www.queenmary.com

L.A. Focus/July 2016

Pretty In Black: Regina Hall on the red carpet at the BET Awards


90th Annual Americafest Live motorcycle stunts and a musical performance Entertainment 2pm—10pm; Fireworks 9pm $13 (kids ages 7 & under free) Parking $20 Rose Bowl Stadium 1001 Rose Bowl Drive Pasadena www.rosebowlstadium.com

up and it is growing s lli e a W e n carpet at th Q uv enz ha es the red c ra g e h s s. shows as BET Award

LA Food Fest (through July 10) LA’s largest and most affordable tasting event returns for its seventh consecutive year. 11am • $10 - $150 Kids 8 and under free with paying adult 800 Exposition Park Drive www.lafoodfest.com In Concert: Eloise Laws and Debra Laws (Through July 30) 8:30PM • $25+ Catalina Bar & Grill Reservations: (323) 466-2210 www.catalinajazzclub.com 94.7 The Wave’s Soulful Summer featuring Boyz II Men, En Vogue & After 7 7pm • $45 - $100 The Greek Theater 2700 North Vermont Avenue www.lagreektheatre.com 36th Birthday Celebration of Carson Councilman Jawane Hilton 8PM • $25 - $5,000 Stubhub Center 18400 Avalon Blvd www.jawanehilton.org

Saturday, July 9 BAM Crawford’s The Company Int’l Presents “Legacy: Encoded Wealth” Women’s Empowerment Seminar 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM Double Tree Hotel Torrance-South Bay Registration fee: $65.00 (Seminar materials and luncheon included) Parking is free Host: Dr. Beverly “BAM” Crawford Register at www.regonline.com/thecompany2016 Boyz N The Hood 25th Anniversary Screening 5:30pm • Child: $6/Adult: $13 700 Exposition Park Drive Los Angeles, CA, 90037 www.streetfoodcinema.com The 20th Annual Justice Ball with Naughty By Nature Presented by Bet Tzedek, Justice Ball 20 will feature a silent auction, a VIP lounge and several

Wednesday, July 13 Annual Espy Awards Top celebrities from sports and entertainment recognize the year’s major achievements and unforgettable moments. 5pm • $95- $500 Microsoft Theater L.A. Live 777 Chick Hearn Court microsofttheater.com

Thursday, July 14 Live from the Vault: Rare recordings of James Baldwin 7:15pm • Free Los Angeles Central Library 630 West 5th Street www.lapl.org

Friday, July 15


In Concert: Diana Ross 8pm • $10 - $85 Hollywood Bowl 2301 N Highland Ave www.hollywood-

Saturday, July 30 Marina Del Rey Summer Concert Series Presents: Brian McKnight 7pm • Free Burton Chace Park 13650 Mindanao Way Marina Del Rey www.chacepark.com

Gray’s Anato my co-star Je ssie William the man of s was the hour at the BET aw ards. lks the red stunning as she wa is ion Un le iel br Ga Awards. carpet at the BET

surprises including a headline performance by Naughty by Nature. 9:30pm $105 - $180 The Novo By Microsoft 800 W Olympic Blvd www.thenovodtla.com

Empire’s Bryshere Y. Gray looked dapper as he arrived at the BET awards at the Staples Center.

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Lynn Whitfield and Oprah Winfrey chum it up like real sisters at the L.A. premiere of “Greenleaf”.

bowl.com Holman United Methodist Church Presents H.O.P.E Conversation with our Young People 4pm • Free L.L. White Hall 3320 West Adams Blvd. www.holmanumc.com

Desiree Ross, Merle Dandridge, Kim Hawthorne, Zachary S. Williams, Kristin Erickson, Debra Joy Winans, Deji LaRay, Benjamin Patterson, GregAlan Williams, Lynn Whitfield, Tye White, Oprah Winfrey, Keith David, Terri Abney, and Anna Diop at OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network Los Angeles Premiere of “Greenleaf” (Photo Credit: Getty Images Mark Davis)

Soul Line Dancing with J&J: Hip Hop Flavor Learn popular soul line dances including the Cali Bounce, the Gangster Slide, and more Free • 2PM Parking = $12 600 State Drive - Exposition Park RSVP/call 213.744.2024

Saturday, July 16 32nd Annual Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo (Through Sunday) Sat: 6:30pm • Sun: 3:30pm Child $20 adv. $25 door Adult $25 adv. $30 door Industry Hills Expo Center 16200 Temple Ave City of Industry Contact: (310) 674-6700 www.billpickettrodeo.com People For Community Improvement 6th Annual Walk For Life 2.4 miles walk plus health fair & entertainment 9am-1pm Entry Fee: $5 per Adult/Free for children under 17 Walk will commence at Ralph’s parking lot 11922 S. Vermont Ave. Earvin Magic Johnson Park 905 E. El Segundo Blvd Info: (323) 303-3339

Marina Del Rey Summer Concert Series Presents: Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis 7pm • Free Burton Chace Park 13650 Mindanao Way Marina Del Rey dwww.chacepark.com 20th Anniversary JazzFest West Featuring Patti Labelle, Chaka Khan, Charlie Wilson, Boney James, Mint Condition, Chante Moore and more (Through Sunday) $70 - up Frank G Bonelli Park 120 East Via Verde Drive San Dimas 91773 jazzfestwest.com

Annual Season Finale Concert with a special tribute to the music of Luther Vandross. 3:30pm$30 - $65 Walt Disney Concert Hall 111 S Grand Ave Los Angeles, CA 90012 www.musiccenter.org

Monday, July 18 Men Standing Against Trafficking Sponsored by CARE 18 LA 9pm • Free www.care18.org

Wednesday, July 20

$150 The Huntington Library 1151 Oxford Road San Marino www.hartleadership.com

Friday, July 22 The Art of Rap Festival Featuring Ice T, Pubic Enemy, Naughty By Nature, Sugarhill Gang, MC Lyte and more 3PM •$25 - $275 Hollywood Palladium 6215 Sunset Blvd, www.artofrapfest.com

Yes We Can: An Allen Toussaint Salute Featuring Dr. John & The Nite Trippers, The Allen Toussaint Band, Galactic Special guests Cyril Neville and Irma Thomas 8pm • $9 - $100 Hollywood Bowl 2301 N Highland Ave www.hollywoodbowl.com

The Los Angeles Soul Music Festival Featuring Angie Stone, Goapele, Lyfe Jennings, Eric Benet, Jazmine Sullivan, Eric Roberson, Vivian Green and More (Through July 24) 6pm • $60 - $85 The Autry in Griffith Park 4700 Western Heritage Way www.lasoulmusicfest.com

Thursday, July 21

Saturday, July 23

The Inaugural Los Angeles Black Business Leaders Hall of Fame (49 black businesses nominated in six categories Keynote Speaker: Mellody Hobson 6:30PM - 9:30PM

In Concert: Nas with Wild Belle 5pm • Free (with online registration) 2000 Avenue of the Stars annenbergphotospace.org

Summer featuring Stevie B., Lisa Lisa, Taylor Dayne and more 7pm $45 - $100 The Greek Theater 2700 North Vermont Avenue www.lagreektheatre.com

Friday, July 29 On Stage: Forget Me Not A thought provoking play presented by African Americans Against Alzheimer’s raising awareness about the impact Alzheimer’s disease has on the black community. 7pm • Free Wilshire Ebell Theater 4401 West 8th Street www.ebellla.com In Concert: Miki Howard (Through July 30) 8:30PM • $25+ Catalina Bar & Grill Reservations: (323) 466-2210 www.catalinajazzclub.com One-Day Only Hiring Event (to earn money working L.A. Rams games!) 8:00AM - 3:00PM EXPO Center 3980 Bill Robertson Lane MUST apply online prior to event: www.csc-usa.com/branch-

around los angeles Sunday, July 17

The 8th Annual ICYOLA Year End Finale Concert The Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (ICYOLA) celebrates the 8th

Alicia Keys and husband Swizz Beatz strike a pose on the red carpet at the BET Awards.

Saturday, July 30 20th Annual Central Avenue Jazz Festival Through July 31 Jazz performances, Ethnic cuisine and arts Free Sat: 11AM – 7PM • Sun: Noon – 7:30PM Central Avenue between 42nd & 43rd Street (In front of the historic Dunbar Hotel) Info: (213) 202-5500

Sunday, July 31 In Concert: New Edition with special guest Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds 7:30pm $60 - $150 Microsoft Theater 777 Chick Hearn Court www.microsofttheater.com

Wednesday, August 3 In Concert: Gladys Knight and Tower of Power 8pm $14 - $60 Hollywood Bowl 2301 N Highland Ave www.hollywoodbowl.com

Toni Braxton turned a lot of on and heads with this outfit both off the red carpet. Lights...cameras...action. Tra ci Ellis Ross looks ready to host the BET awa rds while on the red carpet.

L.A. Focus/July 2016

ahidi may still be a Blackish co-star Yara Sh more classy on the be ’t ldn teen, but she cou ards. red carpet at the BET aw

94.7 The Wave’s Soulful

folder/los-angeles/apply Contact: Arthur Guerrero aguerrero@letc.com (323) 730-7900 ext. 227


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INSIDE hO L LY W OOD with Chez’Ney BET Spotlights Music Moguls In New Docu-Series BET has a new hour long docu-series that takes you into the lives of todays music moguls and how they manage to stay relevant and successful in the ever changing music Game. The Series “Music Moguls” stars Birdman, “The Godfather”, who at 23 built Cash Money Records eventually turning artists such as Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj and Drake into huge artists. Now Birdman is invested in a line of new artists for his Rich Gang label and branching out into television as well as a vodka. Also starring is Damon Dash “The Underdog” known for building Roc-A-Fella Records with Jay-Z but now has invested in apparel, real estate and Dame Dash Studios. Snoop Dogg takes part in the show and is known as “The Icon”. Snoop has been a heavy hitter in the rap game since signing his first deal at 21. Now he is focusing on his kids, his cannabis-based online platform, and producing films. Jermaine Dupri stars as “The Artist” who’s only love has always been music, but JD is finally branching out into technology and merchandising to stay relevant in a new space. But it's now or never to build on what he’s created, both as an artist and as a businessman to once again be in the limelight.

Oprah Winfrey’s Greenleaf Delivers Big Ratings Last month’s premiere of “Greenleaf”, the

megachurch drama starring Merle Dandridge, Keith David, Lynn Whitfield and Oprah Winfrey drew 3.04 million viewers and a 2.18 rating in the network’s target market of women 25-54, making for the biggest series launch in OWN’s five-year history and the second-most-watched scripted cable debut of 2016 so far after FX’s The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. Meanwhile, OWN has set another two-night premiere for its new drama series Queen Sugar, from filmmaker Ava DuVernay and executive producer Oprah Winfrey, and it is September 6-7.

Casting News Danielle Mone Truitt and Giancarlo Esposito are set to star in “Rebel”, a two-hour police drama pilot from filmmaker John Singleton. Truitt is a stage actress and will play Oakland cop Rebecca “Rebel” Knight. Esposito will play her lieutenant, who’s a friend and mentor. Method Man is also set to co-star. “The show examines the unique and conflicted relationship officers of color have with their jobs at a time when police forces are rife with brutality and misconduct...DMX has signed on to join Keke Palmer and Aunjanue Ellis in the cast of “Pimp”, about women on the streets of New York amidst the hustles and dangers facing those working in the illegal sex trade. Briefly: Grammy award winning artist Jill Scott got hitched to Michael Dobson in a real discreet 80’s themed wedding ceremony. Big Daddy Kane—one of Scott’s favorites—was on hand to perform. Congratulations to the beautiful couple.


The Legend of Tarzan It’s been years since Tarzan left the jungle. Now, he has been invited back to the Congo to serve as a trade emissary, unaware that he is a pawn in a deadly convergence of greed and revenge. July 1

The Secret Life of Pets After the owners leave their apartments their pets start their day.Finding themselves on the streets of NY, where they meet the white bunny Snowball (Kevin Hart). July 8

Ghostbusters Authors Erin and Abby along with two others try to save the world when ghosts invade Manhattan. July 15

Star Trek Beyond The U.S.S. Enterprise crew explores the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a mysterious new enemy who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test. July 22

Who’s Got Next? Well, It’s Major, That’s Who

L.A. Focus/July 2016

Soul and pop artist Major used to be known as the lyrical mastermind behind popular hits from Nathan Sykes, Ariana Grande, and the "Think Like A Man, Too” soundtrack. But now, with the double single release of his new songs, "Keep On" and "Why I Love You,” the Juilliardtrained, soul-pop artist once nicknamed “Choir Boy” is entering a new stage in his professional career that is all his own. “I’ve been privileged to write for a bunch of amazing people and have some placements and experience a lot of cool things. With the official debut of my project I kind of dabbed in different stuff but it was never like a finished work, per se. Now, we’re finally revealing MAJOR— the artist as Major. It’s been a crazy journey and I’m super excited for what’s next.” Record producer and songwriter Harmony Samuels, who penned the Jennifer Hudson hit “Think Like a Man,” played a big role in honing MAJOR’s sound. “In the studio...I heard some of Harmony’s stuff and I pulled a Clive Davis, I


was like ‘keep an eye on him.’ He’s next. We reconnected later at a church. We ended up working on some music and the rest is history. “We got placements in movies and all that good stuff and it's been really awesome - he’s helped me find my sound. I don't regret any of this evolution.” On maintaining his humble gospel roots as his music grows, Major says he’s learned to remain “unapologetically” himself. “You know you have something unique and distinct, but when you bring it before somebody, the first thing they do is compare it to somebody,” MAJOR. says. “I had to get over that hurdle of ‘own who you are and at the end of the day the rest of the world will catch up.” “I’m not in this alone. I believe in some form - I open myself up to how destiny is meant to unfold for me and that can go way beyond my dreams, hopes, and plans.” While Major might be uncertain about exactly that destiny is, he’s certain he’s ready for whatever is to come. “We have the two songs and videos of my upcoming EP that comes out later this year. We’re gearing up for a tour promo run as well because I gotta go to many more places to really connect with other communities and regions. We’re working on getting some of the songs in movies, I vocal produced Laportia Renee from American Idol. “At three years old I told my mom - [I’d be] an international superstar. I think I’m ready, I hope so.”

Q&A Donald Glover Donald Glover got his start on television writing for 30 Rock before being hand picked by Tina Fey to star in the comedy Community for five seasons. Glover also blew up in the hip hop scene as rapper Childish Gambino. And with all the offers thrown his way he is bridging his two passions seamlessly.Glover’s FX series “Atlanta” is premiering this summer and he is the creator, executive producer, and star of the show. Along with his own show, the Georgia Native is also set to star in Marvel’s ‘Spider-man: Homecoming’. Q: What is your show “Atlanta” about and what made you want to create your own show. A: I always wanted to make “Twin Peaks with rappers”. The show follows Earnest as he returns to Atlanta in time to be pulled into the rap game as his cousin blows up. And it’s kind of the perfect time to make something I would want to see. There’s more screens that have to be filled. TV viewing has spread across platforms and I want to tap into what makes that experience special. Q: How is performing stand up comedy and performing music a different experience? A: It’s really bad when people know all the words to you jokes as opposed to knowing all the words to your music. They also have their own dangers, like I’ve had a bar of soap thrown at me at a music show and it really wasn’t that bad because it’s a crazy atmosphere but if that happened to you as a comedian that would be awful. Q: You have mentioned that you’ve had some trouble with people taking you seriously as a rapper. What’s that like? A:Mm-hmm. It’s been fine. It’s all a process. All that stuff got me to this place and I really like what I’m doing. I’ve learned so much, and I’ve always really liked learning. Like everything else, you just get better at it and you understand. I think it’s more about just getting people to see you as somebody who does stuff, as opposed to like, ‘this guy is a baker and he only bakes cakes.’ That’s it. I think it just takes time with anything. Q: Because you do so many different things – acting, comedy, rapping – a lot of people would see Childish Gambino as kind of just a role you’re playing than you being yourself. A:Yeah, I think it really depends on who you ask. Younger kids don’t see me that way at all, they see me only as Childish Gambino, which is funny. I think it’s always on who you ask and where you ask it, which is kind of the point. Everything is about image and how someone sees you really says more about them than it does about you. Depending on who you ask I’m Childish Gambino, Donald Glover, Troy from Community. It’s fine though, it’s just cool I get to do whatever I want.

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Re d Carpet Style

Beyonce was fierce in her Givenchy Haute Couture pantsuit

Jennifer Hudson rocks a Prabal Gurung gown and Kurt Geiger Heels

Held last money in New York City, the annual Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Awards recognizes contributions from all facets of the industry such as arts, menwear, lifetime achievement, jounalism—as well as the glamourous array of stars it attract to its red carpet.

Ciara steps out in Roberto Cavalli with Stuart Weitzman shoes

Jourdan Dunn displays pure elegance in a Jonathan Simkhai dress

Tracee Ellis Ross wearing a beautiful Suno dress with a Jimmy Choo Clutch

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ChurchNews 1000 Turn Out for Faithful Central Human Trafficking Forum

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


n Saturday, June 4th, Faithful Central Bible Church First Lady Togetta Ulmer hosted a Community Forum, moderated by award-winning journalist Shaun Robinson, on the subject of Human Trafficking. Over 900 concerned residents and church members turned out for the event. Special guests included Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, trafficking survivor Harmony Dust-Grillo; Shirley Evers-Manly and Inglewood Mayor, James T. Butts Jr. Ulmer was inspired to do the event after seeing so many stories about human trafficking in the media. “The goal of the panel was to let the audience know how widespread this is, how easy it is to get into it, but also that they could get out of it,” said Ulmer, who established Life Without Limits: Human Trafficking Forum. “I also wanted to let people know this can happen to anybody simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. “My keynote speaker was Harmony Grillow and I chose her because she actually was involved in human trafficking from the time she was like 14. And her story would just knock you off your feet her story was just so enlightening. And then to see how far she had come, now she’s a christian young lady has her own organization that helps young ladies and she goes around the country speaking about human trafficking how she got in it, how they can get out and what to look for. Ulmer received special commendation from Congresswoman Sanchez for her efforts in sheading a light on this important issue and partnered with such local organizations as CAST (Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking); Care 18; Saving Innocence; Treasures; Forgotten Children, Inc. and Journey Out.

Bishop Henry Hearns Retires After more than five-decades at the helm of the Living Stone Cathedral of Worship, Bishop Henry Hearns has retired, but he’s not going away anytime soon. Instead Hearn, who served as Mayor of Lancaster and has sat on the City Council, says he will remain active in the community. Said Hearn, "I'm happy for the opportunity to have served as Pastor…fortunate that God gave me an opportunity to serve." Succeeding Hears is Pastor-Elect Rodney Rivers. Largest Presbyterian Group in U.S. Elects First Black Leader The first African American top executive has been elected by the largest Presbyterian denomination in the U.S. Rev. Herbert Nelson won by a landslide in the majority of votes during the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in Portland, Oregon. Like other denominations, the Louisville, Kentucky-based Presbyterian church has been shrinking currently having 1.6 million overwhelmingly white members. Nelson supersedes Rev. Gradye Parsons, who served two terms in the position and declined to seek re-election. Nelson previously directed the church’s public policy office in Washington and urged Presbyterians to look beyond preserving the church toward reaching out more broadly and diversifying their membership.

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

Bethesda Temple Church Apostolic Faith 4909 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90043 (323) 299-2591 Interim Pastor Robert Lockett Sunday School: 9:40am Morning Worship: 11am Evening Worship: 6pm Bible Study (Wed): 7pm Prayer (Sat): 7am Evening Prayer (Mon.): 6:30pm

Sunday Service: 10am Bible Study (Tue): 11am & 7pm Tue. Night Kidz Unlocked: 7pm Tue. Night Bible Study (Teens): 7pm Alcohol & Drug Abuse Program (Wed): 7pm Intercessory Prayer (Wed.): 7:30pm Prayer & Praise (Thurs.): 6:30pm First AME Church (FAME) 2270 South Harvard Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90018 (323) 735-1251 • F: (323) 735-3353 • www.famechurch.org Pastor J. Edgar Boyd, Senior Pastor/CEO Sunday School: 10am Worship: 8am, 10am, Noon Teen Church (2nd Sundays):Noon,Allen House Wed. Prayer Service: Noon Wed. Bible Study: 7pm Radio: 10:30am on KJLH-102.3FM First AME is the oldest Black Church in the City Grace Temple Baptist Church 7017 South Gramercy Place, Los Angeles, CA 90047 (323) 971-8192 Bishop Miquail M. Broadous Sr., Senior Pastor Sunday School: 9am Morning Worship: 10:00am Wednesday Worship: 6:45pm E-Mail: gtbcla@gmail.com

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

Grace United Methodist Church 4112 West Slauson Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90043 (323) 294-6653 • F: (323) 294-8753 • graceumc1@earthlink.net Rev. Pastor Paul A. Hill • www.graceumcla.com Early Morning Worship: 7:45am Sunday School: 9:45am Morning Worship: 10:45am Wed. Bible Study: Noon & 7pm Fri. Alcoholic Anonymous: 7pm Tues. Prayer Fellowship: 6:30pm Super Seniors (Thurs/Bi-Monthly): 10:30am Follow us on Facebook

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

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

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

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

Christ The Good Shepherd Episcopal Church 3303 W. Vernon Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90008 (323) 295-4139 • F: (323) 295-4681 Rev. Joseph Oloimooja Sunday School: 10am Early Worship: 8am Morning Worship: 10am Mon. Centering Prayer/Meditation: 6:30pm Mon. Overeaters Anonymous: 7pm Wed. Bible Study & Eucharist: 7pm Wed. Alcoholic Anonymous: 7:pm E: cgshepherd4041@sbcglobal.net

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

Church of Jesus Christ International 3719 W. Slauson Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90043 (323) 296-1106 Pastor Michelle Beal

Liberty Baptist Church 1500 West 51st Place, Los Angeles, CA 90062 (323) 295-3866 • F: (323) 295-0366 • E: LBCwim@aol.com Rev. Terry Lovell Brown Sr.

Sunday Morning Glory Service (2nd & 4th): 8:30am-9:30am Christian Education Classes: 9:45am-10:45am Sunday Morning Worship: 11:15am Tuesday Prayer: 7pm Wednesday Bible Class: 7pm 1st Sunday Nights: 7pm Congregational Church of Christian Fellowship 2085 S. Hobart Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90018 Phone: (323) 731-8869 • F: (323) 731-0851 • www.cccf-ucc.org Pastor James K. McKnight

The official retirement gala for Greater Ebenezer Pastor Solomon Drake and First Lady Isabelle Drake (seated)— held June 24 at the Marriott LAX— was a family affair.

Crenshaw Christian Center 7901 South Vermont, Los Angeles, CA 90044 (323) 758-3777 • F: (323)565-4231 • www.faithdome.org Rev. Frederick Price Jr.

Sun. Early Worship: 8am Prayer Meeting: 10:30am Morning Worship: 11am Wed. Afternoon Bible Study: 1pm Wed. Prayer Meeting: 6pm Wed. Evening Bible Study: 7pm View Pastor McKnight’s Sermons on YouTube

Sunday School: 8:00, 9:45 & 11am Jazz for Soul 2nd & 4th Thur: 6:30 pm Early Worship: 8am Morning Worship: 11am Bible Study (Thurs.): Noon Sun. Radio: KJLH 102.3FM: 11am E: Holman@holmanumc.com

Sunday Church School: 9am Morning Worship: 10:30am & 12:30pm Wed. Bible Study: noon & 6:30pm Prayer Meeting: 6pm Follow us on Twitter @dacrossculture www.thecrossculture.org Macedonia Baptist Church of Los Angeles 1751 East 114th Street Los Angeles, CA 90059 (323) 569-9561 • Macedonia.baptist114@gmail.com Pastor Shane B. Scott Morning Worship: 10am Sunday Small Group: 8:45am Tues. Mid-Day Bible Study: 11am Wed. Prayer & Bible Study: 6:30pm www.macedonia-la.org

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McCarty Memorial Christian Church 4101 West Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90018 (323) 731-4131 Pastor Edward Anderson

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

Sunday School: 9:30am Morning Worship: 10:45am Bible Study: Noon, Tuesdays

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

Miracle Center Apostolic Church 2638 S. Western Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90018 (323) 735-5121 or 735-5122 Dr. Roy S. Petitt • Sunday School: 9:30am Sunday Worship: 8am, 11am & 6pm Tues. Prayer & Bible Class: Noon Rights of Passage: 7pm Wed. Bible Study: 8pm Thurs. Prayer/Bible Class: Noon Fri. Faith Seminar: 8pm Radio KTYM-1460AM: (M-Fri.) 8am - 8:15am

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

Mt. Moriah Baptist Church of LA, Inc. 4269 S. Figueroa St. Los Angeles, CA 90037 (323) 846-1950 Rev. Melvin V. Wade, Sr.

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

Sunday School: 8:15am Morning Worship: 9:45am Evening Worship: 6:30pm Mid-Week Worship (Wed): 7pm Bible Study (Wed.): 8pm

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

F: (323) 291-1133 • office@sinai.church • www.sinai.church Pastor George E. Hurtt, Pastor-Teacher Sunday Worship: 8am, 11am Discipleship Hour (Sun): 9:37am Noonday Prayer (Mon): Noon Noonday Bible Study (Tue): 12:00pm Tuesday Night in the Truth: 7:15pm Email: office@sinai.church •www.sinai.church Our Goal: To win more Christians & develop better Christians to the glory of God. (Matt. 28:18-20) Mt. Tabor Missionary Baptist Church 6614 S. Western Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90047 (323) 753-3189 • F: (323) 753-1018 • www.mttabormbc.org Dr. Ticey M. Brown, D. Min. Pastor/Teacher Early Morning Worship: 8am Sunday School: 9:30am Mid Morning Worship: 11am Tues. Bible Study: 10am & 7pm Meeting/Bible Study: 6:30pm–8pm First Sun. Communion: 8am & 11 am Baptism First Sunday

Sunday Worship: 9am, 11am & 1pm Wednesday Midweek Service: 8pm www.Channel1Live.tv—View live streaming

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

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

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

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

Morning Worship: 7:30am & 10:45am Sunday School: 9:45am Wed. Prayer/Bible Study: Noon Pastor’s Bible Study: 7pm

“At my church we use the term leading lady,” explains Alyce Shigg of her preferred title at Love Lifted Me Missionary Baptist Church. “I don’t mind getting my hands dirty, or taking off my big hat and putting on my work clothes and tennis shoes just so if they can see that I’m doing things, then it’s okay for them as well,” she says of her multiple roles at the church, which include minister of music, working with the women, youth and children, to overlooking Sunday school, and preparing dinner for members every Sunday after worship service. “And I play an active role in that as well, down to actually serving the food,” adds the Detroit, Michigan native. Not long after she married pastor Shigg thirty-eight years ago, he accepted the call to preach and over time they organized a church in their home. Now, as they near the church’s 30th anniversary, the mother of three reflects on the impact they’ve provided for their members and community, which includes a drug and alcohol ministry and a healthcare initiative. “We were allowed to have healthcare professionals come to our church, and do some medical testing and share some information about high blood pressure, hypertension and diabetes,” she said. “That was a real honor for us.” “People get the idea that the first lady’s job is simply just to be at church and be beautiful, but there’s a lot more that goes into it.” St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church 5017 S. Compton Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90011 (323) 231-1040 • stmarkmbcofla.org Rev. Dr. Lovely Haynes Sunday Morning Worship: 8am & 11am Sunday School: 9:30am Mon-Wed: Prayer Bible Study: 6pm - 6:55 pm Mon. Night Bible Study: 7pm Tue Choir Rehersal Wednesday Prayer: Noon Wed. Exposition of Sunday School Lesson: 7pm • Wed. Prayer Meeting: 7pm Thurs. Evangelism: 7pm (enrollment required) St. Matthew Tabernacle of Praise “The S.T.O.P.” 3770 Santa Rosalia Dr. Baldwin Hills, CA 90008 (323) 291-1115 • F: (323) 293-0471 Rev. C.Barry Greene, Pastor Morning Worship: 8am Church School Hour: 10:15am Tuesday Hour of Power: 7pm

Pleasant Hill Baptist Church 2009 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90062 (323) 293-6448 • F: (323) 293-6605 Dr. Sylvester Washington Sunday School: 8am Morning Worship: 10am Tues. Bible Study: 11am Wed. Evangelism Class: 6:30pm First Sun. Holy Communion Service: 4pm www.pleasanthillbaptistchurch.org Praises of Zion Baptist Church (“Praise City” 8222 So. San Pedro Street, Los Angeles, CA 90003 (323) 750-1033 • F: (323) 750-5458 • www.pozlive.com Dr. J. Benjamin Hardwick, Sr. Pastor Early Morning Worship: 6:45am Educational Hour: 9:15am Mid-Morning Worship: 10:45am Wed. Bible Study: Noon & 7pm Sunday Broadcast: 7pm

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

Salem Missionary Baptist Church 729 S. Park View St. Los Angeles, CA 90057 (213) 738-1077 • jranniew@gmail.com Pastor J. Williams Sunday School: 10am Morning Worship: 11:15am Ministry For Alcohol & Chemical Addiction Wednesday: 5:30pm Bible Study Thursday: 7:30pm Office Hours: Mon 1:30pm-5:30pm; Thurs 2:30pm-7:30pm

Southern Missionary Baptist Church 4678 West Adams Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90016 (323) 731-2703 • F: (323) 737-5202 • smbcla@gmail.com Rev. Xavier L. Thompson, Sr. Pastor L.I.F.E. Groups Sundays: 8:30am Morning Worship: 10am Baptism & Communion (First Sunday): 5pm Word Wednesday: 6:45pm “One Church For All Generations”

The First Saint John Bible Church 11030 S. Willowbrook Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90059 (323) 566-5055 • F: (323) 566-0219 Pastor/Teacher: Bishop Michael A. Brass, Jr. Sunday School: 9:30am Morning Worship: 11am Bible Study Wednesday: 7pm

L.A. Focus/July 2016

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)

Alyce Shigg

www.thechurchstop.org E: thechurchstop@yahoo.com pastorcbgreene@aol.com

“You can end your search for a friendly church” Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church 1300 E. 50th Street Los Angeles, CA 90011 (323) 235-2103 • F: (323) 235-3177 • www.mtzionla.org 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

first lady files


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Tree of Life Missionary Baptist Church 9702 Holmes Ave. Los Angeles CA 90002 Cell: (323) 566-1202 • burtcj@cox.net Rev. Marcus A. Murchinson, Pastor Sunday School: 9:30am Sunday Service: 11am - 1:30pm Wednesday Bible Study: 7pm

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

Trinity Baptist Church 2040 West Jefferson Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90018 (323) 735-0044 • F: (323) 735-0219 Rev. Alvin Tunstill, Jr Sunday Worship: 7:30 & 10:30am Sunday Church School: 9am Radio Broadcast KJLH FM: 9am Wed. Prayer & Bible Study: Noon-7pm www.trinitybaptistchurchofla.org

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

UpLift Christian Fellowship 4745 W. Slauson Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90056 (310) 927-3476 Pastor Anthony Thompson

Lifeline Fellowship Christian Center 2556 N. Lake Ave., Altadena, CA 91001 (626) 797-3585 • F: (626) 797-3233 • www.lifelinefcc.org Pastor Charles D. Dorsey

Sunday Worship: 10am Bible Study Wednesday: 7pm

Sunday School: 9am Early Worship (Glory Prayer): 8am Morning Worship: 10:30am Evening Worship (1st & 2nd Sun.): 5pm Wed. Bible Study: 7pm

In Carson

Judson Baptist Church 451 E. 223rd St, Carson, CA 90745 (310) 834-2630 • F: (310) 513-0943 • www.judsonbc.net Dr. Johnny V. Baylor, Pastor/Teacher

Sunday Worship Service: 9:30am Children’s Church (Except 5th Sun): 9:30am 2nd & 4th Sun. Speak Life Youth Ministry: 12:30pm Wed. Bible Study: Noon Streaming live at judsonbclive.net

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

Resurrection Church L.A. 1135 East Janis St. Carson, CA 90746 Office Address: 1143 East Janis St. Carson, 90746 (310) 626-4864 • www.resurrectionchurchla.org Pastor Joseph Carlos Robinson Service times: 8am, 10am, 12:15pm Communion: every 5th Sunday Tuesday Bible Class: 7:30pm

Pastor Profile: Dr. Najuma Smith-Pollard Church: Word Of Encouragement Church Hometown: Los Angeles Education: Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD Family: Four kids: Daniel, 22, Dylan 12, Dorian 6, Zurry, 20 months. Married to Felix Pollard When did you receive your calling? I joined First AME Church (FAME) when I was right out of high school and was very involved from the age of 18 until I accepted my call— from the choir, usher board, missionary society, everything that was available for me. I had been senseing since I was a teenager this drive to speak to people, to encourage, to motivate, uplift. So when I turned 23, I started paying a different kind of attention to the sermons being preached and begin to n o t i c e because I was always around the clergy, how natural a

space it was to me. Then one day, I was with some ministers and we were crossing the street and I heard what I call the voice of the Lord saying, ‘this is where I want you to be.’ So when did you actually start preaching? I shared that with Pastor Murray and I told him I felt this was my next level of service. He told me to fast and pray for a couple of weeks and so I did that. Then I came back and he said, okay and he told me who go see and we started the process. The preaching came much later after a couple of years of cleaning the sanctuary, doing whatever assignments Pastor Murray sent us on. That was boot camp for us. Then one afternoon, I got a call from him. One of the other ministers could not take her preaching assignment he just said ‘you’re up.’ I had not done seminary. I didn’t know anything about writing a sermon. I had just under two months to get ready, but I preached my first sermon, “Battlefield Insurance” in 1996 and the Lord blessed. It was very clear that Sunday, that this was what I was supposed to be doing. How did your church come to be? Six years later — I was 30— and I got a call from the Bishop who remembered me from preaching at one of the Sunday school conventions, and said I have a church for you, if you want it, in Moreno Valley.” So I was sent to pastor AK Quinn AME and I stayed there for two years. Bishop Bryant sent me to St. James and I stayed there for six years. Why did you leave the AME church? I love the denomination. It’s made me who I am today,...but I felt it was just the call to step outside of that denomination. We launched Easter Sunday 2014. We just celebrated our second year this past Easter. The Lord has been kind to us. We have service in the Pico Union Project Building on Valencia just north of Pico and the location was ideal to what we were looking for. Although over 250 came to my launch service, I started with about 12 members and now we’re seeing about 60-75 members every Sunday. We have a lot of young adults, children. I have four ranging from my oldest son, who is 22, a 12-year old, a 6-year old, and a 20 month old. Has that been challenging, balancing all that? Absolutely. In fact, a friend and I actually did a workshop “Balancing marriage, ministry, motherhood, and so much more,” so it is a challenge. In addition to the church, I work full time as program manager at the Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement at USC I’m the program manager there,

but I have a lot of help. Was your husband prepared for your becoming a pastor? I wasn't married when I started pastoring. My husband had met me before, but we were just friends. He was the drummer at FAME. Over time we started dating, but when he and I got married, I had already been pastoring. But Felix comes from a line of pastors and has always been in church. Now he runs our music ministry. A lot of pastors who launch churches really struggle to find musicians without it costing them an arm and a leg. That is not a problem for me. I’ve got one in house. Did you grow up in church? I grew up in Second Baptist under Kilgore and Epps. But there was a season in my life when I couldn’t go to church. My mother is a Jehovah’s Witness and around [the age of] 13 she would not allow me to go to church anymore. So from the age of 13 to 17, I couldn't do anything church related. It was only after I left home that I went back to church. My aunt went to FAME and said that I should check it out. I joined that first Sunday. What do you think your special gifts are? For a while now I’ve known that encouragement is my spiritual gift. Trying to encourage people -what does God have you here for. That comes out of me not knowing it for such a long time. Once you figure out what you’re here for, it just changes your whole perspective. I also know that I’m gifted in preaching. Ironically, before he passed away my grandfather said [his] grandmother...always prayed that there would a preacher in the family. “They all thought it was me. but he said to me, it’s you.” So it’s prophecy fulfilled? Yeah. From a slave. What did you learn about yourself in this process? What I’m capable of. That I can get a lot done. That God has put me in a place of influence and not for the sake of being an influencer, but to influence people’s lives...to influence community. I want to use my voice to influence the culture to influence the community for righteousness...justice. I’m a survivor of sexual violence - my stepfather molested me at sixteen, so really making sure [to spread] sexual violence awareness and challenging the faith community to do more to stand up to sexual violence. That’s one of my niches right no, but I blog. I write. I have a radio show. I use my voice to spread the message of the gospel, but that also includes preaching the message of justice, hope, encouragement and love.

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From the Pulpit: Church of Christian Fellowship --  “Can The Boy Be Saved?”


n the movie “The Lion King”, there was this wise baboon who was a mystic. His name was Rafiki. The wise baboon told the young lion, Simba, “You are more than what you have become.” How fitting are these words to describe so many of our African American males. Instead of them ascending to heights unknown, they have descended to the point that they are both endangered and a dangerous species, becoming the poster children for unrealized possibilities and unfulfilled potentials. Our young men who are robust, talented, intelligent, handsome, athletic, and loaded with potential are dangerous and endangered not because of their pathology or sociology, but because of their theology and Christology. Our African-American males have allowed God and His church to become either ambivalent, which is to say that it means all in the world to some and nothing at all to many, or an anachronism, meaning something out of date. You don’t see a lot of A f r i c a n American males in church today. Many of t h e m

could care less about God, or the church of His Son Jesus Christ. They have become blinded to the fact that our survival is uniquely tied to the church. They don’t understand that he who leaves God out starts at no good beginning and proceeds to no good end. The proof is in the fact of the approximately 18½ million AfricanAmericans in America, 526,000 of our men are in prison and 219,660 in local jails. That’s a grand total of approximately 750,000 who are behind bars. The report is 1 in every 15 African-American men are incarcerated, 6-7% of our black population. That’s not counting those who are on probation or parole. We have almost as many African-American males incarcerated as in college. There are almost as many African-American males in gangs than in the church and more who carry guns and bullets than Bibles. There are more African-American males whose bodies are filled with dope than there are males whose souls are filled with the Holy Ghost. Black on black crime is rising at an alarming rate. Gang violence and gang wars are leaving our boys and men dead in the streets. British Honduras is called the most dangerous country on the planet, yet, it is said that for young black men, life is more dangerous in Los Angeles. Little boys are being trained to kill and hide weapons, drugs, and other illegal paraphernalia. Boys are being made to kill as an initiation into the gangs, the most violent of which are the boys labeled “wanna be’s”. Young Pastor Melvin V. Wade African-

Citizens of Zion Missionary Baptist Church In Compton 12930 No. Lime Ave., Compton, CA 90221 (310) 638-0536 • F: (323) 636-2080 • www.citizensofzion.org Rev. Bobby Newman, Jr., Senior Pastor; Rev. B.T. Newman, Pastor (Pastor Emeritus) Sunday School: 9am Morning Service: 10:45am Wed. Mid-Week Bible Study: 7pm Greater Zion Church Family 2408 North Wilmington Avenue, Compton, CA 90222 (310) 639-5535 • E: GreaterZionCF@gmail.com Reverend Michael J. Fisher & Dr. W. Jerome Fisher, Pastor Emeritus Sunday Morning Worship: 9am, 11am & 5pm Wed. Bible Studies: Noon-7pm www.greaterzionchurchfamily.com

Holy Chapel Baptist Church 1016 East Rosecrans Ave. Compton, CA 90220 (310) 537-3149 Rev. George L. Thomas Early Morning Worship: 7:30am Sunday School: 9:45 & 10:15am Mid Morning Worship: 10:45 am 1st. Sun. Holy Communion: 7:30 & 10:45 am Sat. Broadcast KTYM 1460AM: 10-11pm Wed. Mid-Week Prayer & Bible Study: 7pm

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

Unity Christian Fellowship 16133 S. Atlantic Ave., Compton, CA 90221 (310) 604-0234 • F: (310) 886-0198 Bishop Johnny R. Withers, Jr., Senior Pastor

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

Sunday G.I.R. Up Leadership Class: 8am Morning Worship Tuesday: 10am Teaching Empowerment Night: 7:30pm

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

In Gardena

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

For information on how to have your church listed, call:

(310) 677-6011 The Liberty Church 14725 S. Gramercy Place, Gardena, CA 90249 (310) 715-8400 Pastor David W. Cross Early Worship: 8:30am Morning Worship: 9am & 11am Children’s Church: Both Services Word Power Wed.: 7-8pm www.thelibertychurch.com

anamorphically— from the side of deity and eternality. We then—with the eyes and the mind of Christ— become eternal optimists and believe in the metmorphasizing salvific, reviving power of our omnipotent God, knowing that with God “All things are possible. When we see that there was hope for: a drunk like Noah, an idolater like Abraham, a murderer like Moses, prostitutes like Rahab and the Samaritan harlot, a cursor like Job, an adulterer and a premeditated murderer like David, a bigamist like Solomon; thieves like Matthew and Zacchaeus; a doubter like Thomas; a godless son like the Prodigal; a persecutor like Paul; a sinful, lowdown, dirty, and messed up people like you and me, that ought to tell us that there is still hope for our African-American males. When we view our modern dilemma, we will see that there is a Biblical parallel and that is the story of our text in Mark 9... “the demon-possessed son.” Mark and Luke say that the boy had severe convulsions. He foamed at the mouth. There was grinding of teeth. There was rigidity or stiffness of the body. He was deprived of both speech and hearing, along with deafness and dumbness. There are scholars who believe this boy was epileptic. Matthew calls the boy “A Lunatic”. The word “Lunatic” translates to “moonstruck”. What this means is that the boy’s father attributed the boys condition to the influence of evil spirits. It seems that the evil spirit was not content with the boy having serious afflictions. The boy’s condition was so serious and severe until he was dangerous to himPastor continued to page 22

In Hawthorne

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

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

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

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: 7am & 10am Wed. Mid-Week Service: 7pm The Tabernacle is located at 321 N. Eucalyptus Ave., Inglewood

L.A. Focus/July 2016

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

American males rape, batter, and abuse our African-American women and the way our women are being referred to as hoes, female dogs, and other unseemly words; you would get the impression that some of our African-American men are women haters. Worse still, it appears our men have become more interested in becoming sperm banks than in becoming fathers. All they want to do is to bump and grind, Bip Bam Thank you Ma’am, secrete some pimp juice, hit it; split it and quit it. They want what black women have, but they don’t want to “Put a ring on it. They prefer—and some of our women are allowing it—to have husband privileges with boyfriend status. Because so many of our AfricanAmerican males are ungodly and have turned lethal and dangerous, our community has now become plagued by a deadly demagogic dilemma. Burglar bars, alarms and cameras do not guarantee security. We lock ourselves in and lock ourselves out, and we are still not safe. We have become fearful of either walking or driving the streets. It’s not safe to blink your lights or honk your horn. When we see these evils running rampant and ravaging our neighborhoods we are forced to raise a significant question, “Can the Boy Be Saved?” The pessimistic haters, like the arguing teachers of the law in Mark 9:11, say that they cannot be saved. In their discussion they point to failed methods, overcrowded prisons with prisoners who are content and satisfied in prison, and the many African-American junkies. However, we who are believers in Jesus Christ must view this situation


7.19 quark_Focus 7-04 7/5/16 3:42 PM Page 22

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

True Friendship Missionary Baptist Church 7901 South Van Ness Ave. Inglewood, CA 90305 (323) 750-7304 Rev. James A. Perkins Sunday School: 9:30am Early Worship: 8am Morning Worship: 10:45am Bible Adventure Hour (Tues): 6pm Bible Study (Tues): 7pm Bible Study (Thurs): Noon First Church of God Center of Hope 9550 Crenshaw Blvd., Inglewood, CA 90305 • (323) 757-1804 www.go2Hope.com Pastor Geremy L. Dixon Morning Worship: 8am & 11am Wed. Mid-Week Service: Noon Wed. Teaching Ministry: 7pm 1st Sunday Communion 5th Sunday Baptism

In Irvine

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

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

In Long Beach

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

In Monrovia

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

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

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

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

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

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 www.second-baptistchurch.com

In Pasadena

Sunday School: 9am Sunday Worship: 10am Tuesday Bible Study: 7pm Mid-day Worship Thursday: Noon www.bethelemchurchpasadena.org

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

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

Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church 980 Rio Grande Street, Pasadena, CA 91104 *Mailing Address: 1416 N. Mentor Ave. Pasadena, 91104 (626) 794-4875 • F: (626) 794-7815 Pastor W. Harrison Trotter Sunday School: 8:30am Sunday Worship: 10am Bible Study Wednesday: 7pm Intercessory Prayer (Fourth Wed.): 7pm Christians Uniting To Make A Difference -Eph. 4:13

Miracle Temple Church of God Pentecostal 733 S. Grevillea Avenue, Inglewood, CA 90301 (310) 419-7335 • info@cogpinglewood.org Bishop Johnny J. Young, Ph.D., Senior Pastor Elder Jonathan J. Young, Executive Pastor Sunday School: 8:30am Morning Worship: 10:15am Thursday Praise & Bible Study: Noon & 7pm Weekly Prayer: Noon Monday-Friday Early Morning Phoneline Prayer: 5am Fridays *(209) 255-1000 Access code = 100061# "Where the Difference is worth the Drive"

Grant AME Church of Long Beach 1129 Alamitos Ave. Long Beach, CA 90813 • (562) 437-1567 grantamelb@aol.com • www.grantamelb.org Rev. Michael W. Eagle, Sr.

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

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

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

L.A. Focus/July 2016

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

Pastor continued from page 21 self and others. The boy is a fit cameo to many of our African-American males. Though some people choose not to believe in demonology, it is apparent that like the boy of our text, our African-American males are being afflicted by demonic possession and influence. But I’m convinced that the greatest demons are the demonic and adversarial conspirators. These adversarial conspirators are seeking to confine and dwarf the destinies of black men, whereby the sabotaging of black men’s success is assured. These are the ones who purposefully demean, dehumanize, decimate, diminish, and derail our young males with the sole intent of ultimately making our black race extinct. They are pre-programming us for destruction. Like the boy of the text, the main problem is spiritual. And it is a spiritual problem because there is an obvious absence of God in the lives of our black men. And when there is an absence of God, like this “Lunatic, Moonstruck” boy, our young black males are under Satanic, demonic control. The proof is that more plans are being made for our young male’s funerals than their future. Our young


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.

1st & 5th Sunday Worship: 9am Sunday School/New Member Classes:8am Live Streaming on NuPhilly AppNuPhilly website: 9am 2nd thru 4th Sunday Worship:7:30 am &10:00am•Sunday School New Member Classes: 9am Live Streaming on the NuPhilly App/website: 7:30am Pastor’s Bible Study: Wednesday Eve 7pm Mid-Week Bible Study: Thursday 12:00 noon

They laugh and say, “Drugs and gangs will do what slavery couldn’t.” They say, “Three strikes and you’re out.” Let’s spend 31 to $60,000 for their imprisonment rather than $9,000 to $30,000 a year to keep them in school. Or legally kill them by way of the death penalty.

men are more concerned about their addiction than they are about their children. They rob and steal from their own parents just to support their demonic addictive habits. They shoot each other about T-shirts, Tennis shoes, sweaters, jackets, bicycles, colors, and drug turf. It’s fun for them to say “I’ve popped a Molly, I’m sweating.” Woo. Like the boy in the text, these demons are not content with just afflicting our boys, they are seeking to destroy them. What is so tragic is that Satan has blinded their

In Van Nuys

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

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

minds to the point that our boys are hardened to the truth about the intent of the demons to destroy them. But in this text not only is there a demon possessed son, there is “a distressed father”. In verses 17 and 18, we see that this father is distressed for two reasons. First, because of the dilemma of his son. The second reason that he was frustrated and in distress was because of the inability and powerlessness of the church. When we look at what the father does, we will see that in agony, he relentlessly and persistently seeks his son’s deliverance. It is of interest to note what this father does not do. He does not out source his responsibility. He does not send the boy with his mother for his deliverance. This father recognizes that deliverance from demons is a man- size job. And if our boys are going to be saved today, fathers are going to have to man their responsibilities and be relentless and persistent in the deliverance of our boys. Nor is this the task of surrogate parents or even grandparents. It is not the task of the special human agencies and social services, of child care facilities, and Pastor continued to page 25

7.19 quark_Focus 7-04 7/5/16 3:42 PM Page 23


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L.A. Focus/July 2016

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7.19 quark_Focus 7-04 7/5/16 3:42 PM Page 25

What Jesus was saying was that everything depends on your ability to believe, and not on my ability to act. The issue was not Jesus” power to deliver, but the father, through lack of faith, limiting what could be accomplished through the power of God. Deliverance from the throes of demon-possession demands radical faith in Jesus. The father had the wrong “If”. It was not If Jesus, but it was “If thou”. If we look at the word life, we will see “if” in the middle. Real life depends on the right “if”. It’s about getting your “if’s” straight and the Bible gives plenty of direction on that. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” So life is about getting your “ifs” straight. When Jesus got the man’s right “If” straight, Jesus rebuked or

spoke with severity to the demon and said to the demon, “This instant and without question leave this boy once and for all.” With these words, Jesus delivers and saves the boy. What this ought to tell us is that if our boys are to be saved, Jesus is the answer. Surely, if He is able to speak and light comes running from behind the purple curtains of eternity at 186,000 miles a second, out running sound, covering more distance than darkness, He’s able to save our boys. Surely, if He is able to scoop out the seas with the palm of His hand, weigh hills in a balance and mountains in scale, He’s able to save our sons. Surely, if He is able to create Adam from dust and Eve without a mother, He’s able to save our sons. Surely, if He is able to make a donkey talk and a rooster preach, He’s able to deliver our sons. Surely, if He is able to deliver men from the fiery furnace, and lion’s den, He’s able to deliver our sons. Surely, if He is able to die on a Friday and rise on Sunday, He’s able to deliver our sons. And my soul is a witness that He is able to deliver our sons, because one day, He delivered me.

L.A. Focus/July 2016

Pastor continued from page 22 centers. The deliverance of our son’s is the responsibility of the fathers. If we were man enough to get the swerve on; if we were man enough to father them, we ought to be man enough to deliver them. If Jesus gave his life so that we might be saved, we ought not have a problem with running the risk of losing our lives in order to save our sons. Notice the fact that the boy’s father went to church to find help, but he got none. However, the father did not do what so many people do. That is when we find failure at the church, we leave. Instead he waited on Jesus and Jesus is the right source. Not only do we find a demon-possessed son, and a distressed father, but to intensify and augment the situation there was “a disputing crowd”. In verse 14, it says that the scribes were questioning with them. And then in verse 16, Jesus ask the scribes, “What question ye with them? And that word literally means “disputing”. Now these scribes were an official envoy of the Sanhedrin council in Jerusalem, sent to gather evidence against Jesus. Based upon the context, the disputing of the scribes with the nine disciples centered around their authorization to attempt an exorcism and the failure of the disciples [to cure the boy]. Here was a deep agonizing emergency and all they preferred to do was dispute. And do you know that like the scribes, the experts of our day are still disputing. They are still gathering evidence to validate the fact that there is no hope for our boys, still prophesying the destruction of our boys. That’s why that they are prophesizing that 1 in 3 black males born today will go to prison in their lifetime. They believe that since our sons are dangerous to themselves and others. Since they are dysfunctional and delinquent in school. Since they can’t read. Since they are unemployed. Since they are irresponsible. They have decided to write our sons off. They laugh and say, “Drugs and gangs will do what slavery couldn’t.” They say, “Three strikes and you’re out.” Let’s spend 31 to $60,000 for their imprisonment rather than $9,000 to $30,000 a year to keep them in school. Or legally kill them by way of the death penalty. The worst scenario of the whole story is “the disabled church”. In the latter part of verse 18, the father scathingly tells Jesus, “I brought my son to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.” The father had appealed to Jesus’ disciples to exercise the power that was known to belong to Jesus. There was a basic principle then, and that principle was “The messenger of a man is as the man himself.” In Jesus’ absence, it was legitimate for this distressed father to expect these disciples had the power of their Lord. Jesus had commissioned them to expel demons. And according to Mark 6, they’d had some success. But they were powerless to heal this demon possessed boy. This is an awful commentary, not only about this boy and the disciples of Christ, but our contemporary times and modern church. Here we have the church standing in the stead of our departed Lord, with authority but no power. Jesus said, “I give you the keys of the kingdom.” That’s authority. Paul said, “We are ambassadors for Christ.” We have well facilitated buildings, scholarly and suasive preachers, trained staffs, educated members, big budgets, but no power. We are dressed up and down, but no power. And it’s clear we have no power, because the demon-possessed are being brought to us. They come expecting the church to do what she has the authority to do. But when they are brought to church, to their shock and chagrin, they find out that we are not able. The reason the church is disabled is because there is a threefold shortage. There is a shortage of fasting, prayer and a shortage of faith. If we are going to have power that is explosive, then we are going to have to fast sometimes. We must couple our fasting with fervent prayer. And our fasting and prayer must be saturated in faith. We are going to have to enter our secret closets and shut out and shut up, and shut in with God in prayer. Finally even though the disciples were disabled, thank God there is “the delivering Savior”. In verse 19, Jesus said, “Bring the boy to me.” Now the disciple’s inability to expel the demon shook the father’s faith in the ability of Jesus. It seems the father believed that if the disciples were not able, maybe Jesus was not able. As a result, he tells Jesus in verse 22, ‘If you can do anything, have compasionon us, and help us.’ Jesus took up the fathers words of doubt, “If you can” and challenged the father not to doubt, stating “If thou can’st believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”


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SavingGrace Edwina Findley Dickerson

L.A. Focus/July 2016

If OWN TV is blowing up these days, Edwina Findley and the rest of the cast of Tyler Perry’s “If Loving You Is Wrong?” are one of the reasons why. The series premiere in the fall of 2014 was the highest-rated in OWN history, setting a new record over The Haves and the Have Nots. Some six months later, the season two premiere drew over 3 million viewers, once again fueling high ratings. Findley plays Kelly on the show based loosely on Tyler Perry’s 2014 film, The Single Mom’s Club. “One of the things I love about the show is that it brings together real women with real problems. I feel honored to be able to come into people’s homes weekly and portray a character so many women can relate to.” Add to that the experience of working with Tyler Perry on a network owned by Oprah Winfrey. “Who in the world does not look up to them?” Findley says. “I feel that all the ways I’ve mentored and given back to others has come back to me tenfold. They are both multi-media moguls. They both have a dynamic heart for people. They are so loving and kind and generous. They also have a heart for God. Every morning he’s praying with us and praying over the production, and it just makes you want to do your best every day, so I’m very thankful for the experience. Getting to know them on a personal and business level has been a dream come true.” For Findley, it all started with a dream. “I was a little girl with big dreams and my Mommy always told me I could,” Findley reports. “From playing "dress up" in my room, to singing and dancing around the house, to writing plays and performing them with my "imaginary friends", my Mommy always taught me the sky was the limit…and I believed her.” Though it hasn’t happened fast, the Washington D.C. native who has done things God’s way right down to being celibate up to the day she married advertising executive Kelvin Dickerson, says that by being true to myself and her faith in the roles that she picked, “God already had everything lined up for me when I arrived.” And arrive she has. Last year, she costarred in three films—Free In Deed, Where Children Play with Macy Gray, Teyonah Parris and Brian White and as Kevin Hart’s wife in the movie “Get Hard” alongside Will Farrell. Earlier this year, she co-starred with Tatyana Ali in the TV One film, Second Sight, while upcoming projects include a starring role in the film, “All The Children Are Insane”, a guest starring role on the upcoming Fox TV series, Shots Fired starring Sanaa Lathan and a possible reunion in the works for The Wire, the TV show that was her first professional break. It was at the tender age of two that Findley started singing. By the age of five the Washington D.C. native knew she loved acting. Her mother encouraged her passion by enrolling her in dancing and acting classes and when it came time for Findley to start high school, the Duke Ellington School of the Arts was a natural choice. By the age of sixteen, Findley had already


broken into the industry, appearing on BET’s long running youth talk show, “Teen Summit.” She also got a taste of touring, traveling the world with her school’s show choir. But when it came time decide whether to continue her training in college, she had her doubts. “You hear so many stories about how people blow up and become very successful and then there’s stories about how people just try and try and never make it. There was some fear that came into my decision,” says Findley, who now travels and speaks to male and female audiences about living a chaste life. “I really prayed when I was a senior in high school and I asked God to guide me and to lead me. And He did. He confirmed over and over that this path of arts and entertainment was something He had planned for my life. So I kept going and allowed faith to outweigh my fear.” She decided to continue her training at NYU’s renowned Tisch School of the Arts. After graduating, the close friend and former roommate of Oscar winning actress Viola Davis went on to professional theatre and scored a role as Tosha, Omar’s guntoting sidekick in HBO’s “The Wire,” which provided Idris Elba with his breakout role. “Edwina is a life force,” Viola Davis told the New York Times, “Once she comes into your life, it alters.” While filming “The Wire,” during the day, Findley was also doing live theater at night and got a real taste of balancing her act as an actress. “I was doing The Wire while also doing Shakespeare. I was playing this Welsh princess at night and this gangster by day,” says Findley. “In this business, it’s definitely very beneficial to have range and to be malleable as far as your performances so you can go in and out of a lot of different mediums at once. Her big screen credits include a starring role in director Ava Duvernay’s award winning feature, “Middle of Nowhere” while other notable credits include roles on Law & Order, HBO’s “Veep” and a recurring role in HBO’s “Treme” centering on the lives of New Orleans residents trying to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Offstage, Findley is a motivational speaker who conducts empowerment workshops for young people and adults through her organization, Abundant Life, whose mission it is to empower young people to follow their dream. “We just believe that everyone has a purpose in life and we just want to help them discover what it is,” says Findley. “The most rewarding moments for me are when people testify to their lives and circumstances being changed and transformed. It makes it all worthwhile for me.” Her saving grace, says Findley, is the Lord. “There’s no question about it. God has just really revealed so much to me over the course of my life as far as his presence in my life and even our relationship. I’ve received so many prophecies and he’s just sent so many people to pour into my life and I feel what has brought me thus far has definitely been God and my faith in God. “Faith and vision are what has helped me to triumph and see multiple doors open. You really need to have a clear vision on what it is that you’re trying to accomplish and no matter what, staying on that course.”

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