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May 2014 - Issue 35

Be Inspired


Natural beauty

BWNY Magazine

Re:Launch Demone Smith


MentalHealth In the Black Community

BlackWNY Magazine

Introducing the new team at BlackWNY and what to expect from the relaunch of BlackWNY Magazine. PG 8-9.

Staff Will Jones

ReLaunch the

Naeem Jenkins-Nixon



Paul Hypolite

Shatorah Roberson E d i tor-at-Large

Director of Business Development/Managing Editor

PG 6-7.

Writers Nena Williams

Nena Williams Director of Operations

Contributing Writers

Jeremy Mcadory Man Code

Detra M. Trueheart Motivational Minute

Ekua Mens- Aidoo Chris Randby

With a focus on music, gender, and race in america, Carmyn Rosalita reviews academy award winning documentary 20 Feet From Stardom.

Genetino T. Coplin “Aways A Next Level”

Karen Stanly Kristen M. Kelly

Demone A. Smith - Majority Leader Masten District Common Council talks with Will Jones about his start in government.

Pastor Germaine Hurst Spiritual Columnist

PG 10.

The iN Words: Transforming Lives Pastor Hurst focuses on positive iN words that can transform your life. PG 3.

Deborah J. Ribinson


Russell O ’ G een

BlackWNY is owned and published by BlackWNY Magazine LLC. Print by TBN Media. BlackWny Magazine LLC is located at 100 River Rock Dr. Suite 201 Buffalo, NY 14207 tel: 716-320-7515. BWNY is published monthly. Accepting advertising does not carry with the endorsement by publication. opinions expressed by it’s contributing writers does not necessarily reflect the position of BlackWNY Magazine. BlackWNY is dedicated to expressing the opinions and concerns of a range of voices in Western New York. It will continue to reflect the diversity and the accomplishments of Western New York.

Housing, Wealth and Development. BlackWNY takes a deeper look into the increasing wealth gap. Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes discusses some positive developments in Buffalo’s East Side. PG 12.

African Americans are 20% more likely to report having serious psychological distress than

We have opportunities for you to get involved in a variety of activities with BlackWNY including: writing, editing, updating social networking sites, marketing, sales, website design, and promotions. If you are interested in coming on board as an intern, monthly writer, contributor, or to work on sales, web design or marketing please email Paul Hypolite at Thanks for picking up and reading our latest edition of BlackWNY magazine. I’m asking for your feedback good or bad. So we may continue with the things that work well and improve the things that don’t. If you’re interested in having a magazine mail to you or interested in advertising, we would like to hear from you. Please feel free to contact us at 716 320-0557 or

Non-Hispanic Whites PG 5.

New Locations to Pick Up Monthly Issues of BlackWNY Magazine Tops Markets: 1770 Broadway & Bailey 3500 Main St-University Plaza 425 Niagara St. 2101 Elmwood Ave 755 Dick Rd & George Urban Blvd 460 Hertle Ave 2065 Delaware Ave Delta Sonic: 1265 Main St & Bryant Apollo Theater 1346 Jefferson & Utica If you would like BWNY placed in your business or office, or to advertise with us please email us at

Publisher’s Letter

A warmth washes over me as my hand glides over it. It has a reminiscent feeling to it, a fondness of sorts. I don’t know what’s happening but I’m beginning to feel energized. The surface is smooth but if I move my hand slowly I feel the bumps from the raised ink. I pick it up, bring it to my face, and let my cheek slowly stroke back and forth as I turn Will Jones my head side to side. I abruptly stop moving my head; an overwhelming craving to inhale deeply takes over me. So I smell it. A new fresh scent. Have you been outside on an early April morning before the dew is consumed by the sun? That’s what it smells like.


The Words: Transforming Lives by Germaine D. Hurst, Senior Pastor

When we hear or read about the N-word, it brings offense, debates, and division due to the emotional attachments that society has concerning its use. Some defend its use as a term of endearment while others say that it because I set it back on the table then tap it with my forefinger. Nothing happens. So I try again, of its historical meaning it will always be a word of hatred and racism and but still nothing. As I swipe it with my index finger a thin flimsy section flies to the left. A should never be used.That is not what this article is about. There are no more new page? The graphics aren’t animated and I can’t view a video after the break, but I see valid arguments that haven’t already been made. It would be great if the debate my neighbor’s face on the page. There is a story about a business she owns. Who knew? could be over tomorrow, but it won’t be. In the meantime, by focusing on more Actually, I didn’t know her name. Maybe I’ll stop into her store and introduce myself. positive “iN” words, one can transform their outlook, and in the long-run, their outcomes. Intrigued, I swipe again to the left. Page after page, I am astonished by what is happening I would like to take this opportunity to share with you four “iN” words that will right under my nose. The more I read, the more emotional I become. I am upset; not in transform your life. the angry sense but disappointed in myself. I consider myself a citizen of the world. I pray for the kidnapped girls in Nigeria. I’ve sent money to the tornado victims in the The book of Isaiah 1:17 – “Learn to do well…” Midwest. In addition to visiting four continents, I even made a pilgrimage to Mecca during my college years. As an informed and educated individual, why do I know so iNdividual. It is imperative that you work on personal development and discipline in order to succeed in life. You cannot better the lives of others little about my own community? without first adding value to yourself. Lean on a mentor or instructor to guide I wonder, how can I be a citizen of the world if first I am not a citizen of my community. you on your path to self improvement. The quality of your input determines I keep reading and am no longer upset; now I am inspired. the strength of your output. As an individual you must manage your character I want to go to the art shows, eat the food, meet the inventors, challenge the community and be accountable to someone. A mentor can help coach you and provide leaders, patron the entrepreneurs and network with the professionals I read about between guidance and instruction. I often say that your mentor may become your those glossy covers. No longer do I think there are limits to what I can do in Western tormentor. Your character development is paramount and a good mentor will challenge you even when it hurts your ego, feelings, or personal perceptions. New York. Focusing on character is the essence of your true being in which I call “soulThis is how I want you to feel when you pick up the all new BlackWNY. This is how the work”. entire editorial staff feels, because we want to inspire you. In order to do that, we must give you our best. We are rebranding and re-launching so that you can share this feeling. iNtelligence. Obtaining knowledge is when you put in the “head-work”. Manage what you know and always be open to new teachings. Being Western New York is experiencing a renaissance. This is a time of rebranding for the entire competent adds value to you in leaps and bounds. In this area of focus, one area. I encourage you to take up your rightful place at the forefront of this change. Use must be willing to explore and learn new things while not abandoning the old this magazine to be inspired, then take that sentiment and turn it into action. When that pathways of knowledge. Read, listen, and obtain information & experience happens, I will be sure to include your story between these (soon to be) glossy covers. from credible sources and people. Surround yourself with thinkers and ideas You will be able to swipe and pinch and tap away. that challenge you to make moves on the road to success. Don’t wait for tomorrow to look back with nostalgia. Embrace it now. Be Inspired. Will Jones, Publisher

Encouraging men to talk and learn more about health.


Being insightful displays a platform for your skillset. The focus of this area is your “hand-work”. Instead of focusing on “being something” be determined to “do something”. Become an expert at what you do. Maximize your potential for success by comprehending and understanding what it takes for “you” to excel. The bible talks about being willing and able. Having a willing heart to do a project is good but having the ability and skill to execute it is great.


You must put in the “heart-work” to master this area of focus. This area is very challenging because we all have emotions and feelings that may get in the way of us succeeding. Managing your emotions cannot be optional. I see emotion as energy in motion. The lack of managing your energy can sabotage your goals, dreams and plans. Do not allow fear, anger, sadness, etc. to cause you to be stagnant. Be inspired to feel better which causes you to be better so you can do better. Place yourself in an environment that inspires you to fulfill your purpose. The word of God, prayer, meditation, exercise, and music are a few ways to stay inspired. To be inspired is to be in-spirited. You are a spirit, you have a soul and you live in a body. Avoid negative influences around you and tap into what brings you positive results and daily inspiration. Maximizing your life with these four “IN” Words will transform your life!


October 11, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel

Continue to add value to yourself by managing and putting in the soul-work, the head-work, the hand-work, and the heart-work. Follow me on twitter: @pastorhurst Follow me on

By: Nena Williams

the age of 16, Tosha’s brother was the only family member that strongly supported her decision. Tosha goes on to explain that transitioning to natural hair can cause self-doubt. Her co-founder Tamara sitting with her wild and stylish Afro says, “Embrace your beauty, it’s art. What grows out of your head is beautiful, there’s no need for the chemicals.” Some people believe a perm makes their hair more manageable, but in actuality, if you gain enough knowledge about the texture of your hair you will be able to manage it just fine. Rediscover ways of looking at what’s attractive and sexy.

Being a young chocolate child, running from the Sunday hair ritual of hot combing and braiding, I prayed for the day I would finally be old enough to get a perm. At the time, the perm symbolized adulthood and epitomized beauty to me. But after a decade of perms and burns, I found myself opting out of that almost religious monthly routine. Somehow I grew out of the style that I had loved so much. Now what? Oh, did you forget to comb your hair? Girl, what are you doing to your hair? She’s letting herself go! She knows she needs to perm that head! Those are a few of the most common questions and statements I’ve heard through my natural hair transition. Did it stop me? No way! I proudly displayed my minority within a minority badge as I rocked my Afro. Still my transformation seemed to be a huge deal to everyone except me.

On May 17th, the International Natural Hair Meet Up Day, will be held at The Bucking Buffalo in downtown Buffalo. The lovely ladies of WNY Naturals will be hosting the event. Please feel free to introduce yourself and ask questions about natural hair, foods and beauty products. Proceeds from the event will be donated to Journey’s End Refugee Service, a Christian-community based organization that provides resources for refugees without regard to ethnic, origin or creed in efforts of become healthy and independent contributing members to the community.

The natural hair trend is growing faster than coarse hair to a head. This article isn’t to pull or push you to go all natural but to inform you that there is a community in Western New York that supports your outer beauty and more importantly your natural inner beauty. Putting it on the forefront ladies, I’m not encouraging you to throw all of your wigs, weaves, or extensions out. I’m also not saying to never use a perm, however I am urging us to support our perm free sisters. Being natural is just being chemical free.

I met with the co-founders of WNY (We Natural Ya’ll) Naturals, Tosha (Re Belle) Grove and Tamara Lewis, and discussed their social group and the love of being natural. Feeling the urge to fully embrace natural hair and beauty, Tasha and Tamara founded the social group WNY Naturals. In just over a year, WNY Naturals has accumulated a growing membership of over 870 members. Their mission was to spread awareness and develop a natural hair support group in the Western New York community. Although this social group prioritizes discussions related to hair products and tips, they also focus on facial and skin beauty products and foods. I asked Tosha would she ever consider perming her hair again. She responded, “I would never go permed again, for no amount of money.” Being natural since

Written by: Nena Williams


Suffering in Silence African-American & serious psychological distress


ental illness is real and it is thriving in the AfricanAmerican community. Individuals and their families suffer in silence and bear the inheritance of the symptoms of these diseases (depression, chronic headaches, anxiety, and stress). However, African Americans are less likely to seek mental wellness help because of the deep rooted stigma associated with mental health (only 1 in 3 African Americans who require mental wellness care seek help). There is a persistent fear of being identified as weak, lacking in religious faith, distrust of medical entities and its providers and simply the notion of being viewed as disloyal for relinquishing family secrets to outsiders. Mental health, or mental wellness as I like to call it, is part of our overall physical health. If a family member is diagnosed with a physical ailment, most caretakers would not hesitate following the doctor’s orders, up to and including medication if needed. We need to increase our awareness and understanding of the psychological impacts of trauma and then we must, as a community, allow individuals the freedom to seek out treatment that is appropriate for their recovery. Without the support from the community, or at least family and friends, the probability of healing is dramatically decreased. Healing and recovery is a realistic and attainable goal. In treating disorders such as depression and anxiety, I impose a strict regime that has been proven to work for both men and women who are experiencing the symptoms of mood disorders. I whole heartily believe that as a community we can eliminate the stigma and prejudice associated with mental illness. I myself, am a survivor of childhood trauma, and during my early thirties I experienced the challenges of depression and anxiety after going through a difficult divorce in which I experienced many losses. Thankfully, being trained in assessing and diagnosing such problems, I was able to understand what was happening and sought out help quickly. However, identifying a therapist of color who could effectively treat me and provide the service in my community presented yet another challenge.

Without the support from the community, or at least family and friends, the probability of healing is dramatically decreased.

We can promote change, by recognizing that May is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. As a community, we must work together to prevent tragic endings such as the lives of Karyn Washington from Brown Girls and the Chiefs linebacker, Jovan Belcher, and the countless other no-named victims of mental health illness. Join me in taking an opportunity this month to raise awareness and combat the stigma of mental illness, through advocacy and dialogue with your friends, family and within your religious network. Together, we can make a difference. You can be the difference. Writen by : Ronjonette Harrison

MentalHealth In the Black Community By Annie Deaver-Dabney, LMSW

Why don’t we equate mental health and physical health within the black community? Well, some would suggest we don’t take care of our physical health, let alone—our mental health. As a mental health professional, I have witnessed first-hand how the lack of selfcare, including mental health in the Black community has ravaged our relationships, our bodies and our souls.

no one offered help? Or, is it that no one knew how to help? It is very possible that he or she suffered a mental health condition and never got the help that he or she needed and deserved. How many of us experienced or had things happen to us we did not share. Maybe we did tell, yet nothing changed. Family secrets can result in years of unaddressed hurts, adversely affecting many aspects of our adult lives.

were raised in a generation of, “don’t tell our business” or “what happens here, stays here.” These ingrained attitudes permeate our individual and collective lives. These attitudes are grafted into our communication with our children and passed down through generations.How can we begin to break this cycle?

Below are a few tips for beginning to overcome the secrecy How many of us recollect and shame associated with having a family-member who Many of us Black folks—pre mental health in the black didn’t “quite seem right”, yet and post “baby boomers” community. Keep communication open with your children · When someone asks you for help, take and family members about your feelings; they, them seriously and PLEASE don’t laugh or in turn will be more open to sharing with you, shrug them off—this could literally be the difference between their life and death, · Pay attention to yourself or loved-one(s) if you notice changes in appearance, mood, · Be your ‘brother’s keeper’ and rememeating or sleeping patterns, ber, ‘it takes a village’, especially when it comes to us caring for us!! · Conduct local searches for mental health professionals in your area; some may utilize Please contact your primary care physician for your insurance, have self-pay or slidingdirection in referrals. scale fees, · Educate yourself about your feelings.

·Cheers to your Health!

· Ask your pastor or church member for referral info-- you may have mental-health professionals within your congregation or community,

Annie Deaver-Dabney, LMSW

Community Health Worker Supervisor Buffalo/Niagara, New York Area | Nonprofit Organization Management

BWNY writer Ronjonette Harrison, LCSW-R

Executive Director, HEART (Helping Empower At Risk Teens) Owner of Transformational Opportunities Counseling Center Ronjonette Harrison, an accomplished licensed clinical social worker with extensive experience in psychotherapy and the human services community. Harrison is highly regarded for her proficiency in depression, trauma, children, adult relationships, abuse and passionate commitment to the advancement of women in leadership roles and was recently honored by the Buffalo Association of Black Social Workers with a Community Service Award. In her spare time, she gives the gift of time volunteering on Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie County and the Bailey Business Association. A native of Buffalo, Harrison holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from SUNY at Buffalo State and a master’s in social work from Stony Brook University.

Profiles in Leadership : Demone Smith


“I went to Burgard School… so I like to fix things.” Interview by Will Jones

Jones from BWNY: Hello Council Member Smith. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule for this interview today. First, how did you start your career in Buffalo politics? Demone Smith: It started by me going to fraternity meetings. I met Antoine Thompson and started to do a lot of volunteer work, including the senior heavy trash basement cleanup. I went to Karla Thomas’ grandmother’s basement. That was real community service. We also did park cleanups, and we had a softball team where we played the firefighters and baseball teams. By 1997, Blacks were moving up in city hall. There were new Black detectives on the force, and people making moves in government positions. BWNY: Would you say your fraternity is what sparked your interest in politics? Smith: I worked campaigns on my college campus. They needed voter turnout and asked me to participate. We gave out bags of chips and an I VOTED sticker (to voters). I studied politics, but I also got the practical application. BWNY: What is the most important task as a councilmember? Smith: According to the charter, a council member’s job is to write laws and pass budgets. But also, people have a social contract with councilmembers. We get requests to help with funerals, domestic violence, murder, robberies, and people getting swindled. We actually do anything and everything. Our policy is that if someone walks through the door, we will help them… yet we respect the office that is supposed to do a particular job. I call myself the mechanic of government. I like to fix things. I graduated from Burgard (High School). I am the people’s mechanic. BWNY: How much politicking is in politics? Smith: It’s a lot. You must learn quickly to have thick skin because there are people who want to bring you down. There is continuous talking and compromising, making coalitions. If you are a person of your word, and if you are there to do the work, people call on you to get things done. We get a lot of calls from all over the city. BWNY: Do you watch the Netflix series House of Cards? There is a lot of wheeling and dealing. Is it really like that in politics? Smith: Yes, you have to do that to get things done. I am the Majority Leader. At all times, I am supposed to have at least 5 votes. This is my third year – the 2nd term. I like working for my community. I was born and raised on the East Side. So, to get things done for my constituents, I have to make sure that 5 people are happy at all times. BWNY: How many hours a day do you work? Smith: At least 10 hours a day, or 60 hours a week. I work a lot of weekends. But on Sundays, it is family time. I make a conscious effort to spend time with my kiSmith and to get home before they go to bed. Sunday we go to church and we go to the supermarket, (unfortunately) sometimes you physically can’t make every event.

BWNY: I see how hard you work. How can you run for election while effectively doing your job as a council member? Smith: It’s extra work to run a campaign. But I believe if you are doing your job, people know who they want in the council seat. Councilmembers have very intimate relationships with their constituents, going to block club meetings, etc. I stay out among my people. If I am responsive to the community stakeholders, they know… and they help keep me in my position. BWNY: Name a project that you worked on that pushed the envelope. Smith: The Responsible Tobacco Act. That was serious. We wanted to tackle tobacco advertisements. We researched how tobacco companies advertised. They advertised to children, putting ads at the bottom of the door eye level with children, or over by the candy section. They are trying to generate new smokers. We created legislation to say no cigarette ads around stores. Then the tobacco company lobbyists started coming in and threatened to sue the city. We looked for the middle ground. All ads are now inside the store. No beer, tobacco ads outside the store. Another big project was to legislate a moratorium on foreclosure due to water bill nonpayment. This should not be a reason to lose your home, when you only get billed every 6 months. If during that time you had a leak that you didn’t even know about, the bill can get into the thousands of dollars and it is too much to pay at one time. BWNY: If you woke up tomorrow and could have any position in government, where could you do the most good?

Smith: President of the US or the Governor of New York. You could direct a lot of money to the city, like the Buffalo billion dollars. People ask me about it, but it is under the Governor’s control. We may submit ideas for how it should be spent on the east side, but the governor directs where that money goes. BWNY: Where do you see yourself five years from now? Smith: I intend on being the councilmember. I have to run next summer. We have done a lot because of the relationships we have in all branches of government, but there are still more things I want to do. One big thing I want to tackle is incarceration. New York is one of only 2 states in the country that tries boys as adults and puts 16 year olds in prison with grown men. In five years, it will be the end of another term. Eventually I would like to be a professor of political science here in Buffalo. I’ve studied it, and I know the real life, hands on work. I don’t want to leave. Born and raised in Langfield projects, I learned how to be political and how to move fast. I keep my surfboard ready, so I can ride the wave.

The Responsible Tobacco Retailing Act Address with Council Member Demone Smith .

Demone Smith

pardon our dust


e want to be an eye catching, attractive, take us to bed with you at night, magazine. We want you to take us out to dinner, shower us with gifts and tell us every month how much you need us. But alas, we haven’t been giving you our best, after all, beauty is only skin deep.

ReLaunch the

Starting with our June issue, you will be exposed to a whole new BlackWNY Magazine. We have added the brains to go with the beauty. “I felt it was important to relaunch, to re-brand ourselves.” said Will Jones, Owner and Publisher of BlackWNY Magazine. Since the start of the restructuring in January of 2014 BlackWNY has continued to produce a great magazine, thanking the advertisers for their continued support. Please continue to make all checks and donations payable to BlackWNY Magazine LLC. He explained that there is new leadership within the publication. One of the biggest changes our readers may notice is that Antoine Thompson has not been involved with the publication for the past several issues. “It came to a point where there was a difference of opinion in the direction of the publication, and a ship can’t go in two directions at once,” Jones stated. “But we wish him much success in his future endeavours.” After a few months of searching, Jones brought Paul Hypolite on board as the Managing Editor and Director of Business Development. The next step was adding Naeem Jenkins-Nixon as the Editor-inChief and Shatorah Roberson as Editor-at-Large. Nena Williams will continue to function as the Director of Operations. This completes, for now, the leadership team of BlackWNY Magazine LLC. As part of the re-branding process, we will be transparent with our content and intend on broadening our readership by having an honest, open dialogue. Another important development is BlackWNY’s new mission statement. “Creating a vision that strengthens the foundation of this publication by reflecting its values and that serves as a guiding light

for its writers was of the utmost importance to our leadership team,” Hypolite stated. It reads: Highlighting motivated individuals and presenting ideas in a nuanced, thought-provoking manner, we seek to foster new ways of thinking and viewing historically marginalized communities in Western New York. We don’t see ourselves as competition to the traditional news outlets such as the Buffalo News, The Challenger, or even Artvoice,” explains Roberson. “Our goal is to provide a different voice and outlet on an engaging platform. Our new focus is seeing our readership as an integral part of our publication, as it should be. We realize this is a tall order in our fast-paced, multi-interfaced society. We are daring Millennials to go beyond social media for their news sources by investing in a community-based news outlet. When it comes to media, I believe who is telling the story is just as important as the stories being told.” We will be less focused on the everyday political and news happenings. “What’s most important is keeping our readers informed so they can form their own opinions. In some ways we are less political because we will not focus on the daily tit-for-tat between community and political leaders. Instead, we are looking to address a broad range of sociopolitical issues through an ongoing conversation with our readers,” said Hypolite. We recruited a team of new writers to diversify and strengthen the content within the magazine. This includes Ronjonette Harrison, Siobhan Taylor, Rashied McDuffie, Franchelle Hart, Ramon Burgos, Jamil Crews, and Roxanne Danielle, to name a few. Understanding that achieving the aforementioned

goals requires significant input from a team of respected community members, showcasing diverse voices is at the core of our re-branding process. Don’t worry, you can take a deep breath our current monthly writers are still holding strong. Karen Fleming, Detra M. Trueheart, Jeremy Mcadory, Pastor Germaine L. Hurst and others, will still be writing for the magazine. The re-branding process is a chance for the publication to add even more depth to its current team of writers. Jenkins-Nixon explains, “Our greatest concern at the moment is the strength of content. I want our readers to become so engrossed in our articles that they won’t have a choice but to read the magazine cover to cover. I want them to find an article on personal finance and clip it to the refrigerator. I want them to read an article about health that encourages them to sit down with their loved ones and have those, often times, difficult discussions. Above all, I want our publication to have an impact on the daily lives of our readers.” “Articles will range from health, relationships and politics to sports, religion, business, financial literacy and much more. The idea is to make sure BlackWNY caters to its readership in a variety of ways,” said Williams. Refusing to settle for mediocrity, we are committed to raising the bar and we expect our readers - you to hold us to it. We encourage our readers, old and new, to join us as we embark on this journey to add a new class of publication to the Western New York landscape. “Our plan is to continue telling great stories and start telling even better ones,” said Jones.

Paul Hypolite Director of Business Development/Managing Editor I vowed to dedicate my professional career to increasing representation for marginalized groups such as women, people of color and low-income communities during my graduate studies in Political Science at Ohio University. I believe fair and equal representation to be the foundation of American democracy and our society. As such, having a platform to amplify the voices of historically marginalized groups allows us to move one step closer to The Beloved Community. As Managing Editor, I intend on showcasing the voices of those who once had none. Thank you for choosing BlackWNY as your new, exciting, positive voice of the community.

Be Inspired.

Nena Williams Director of Operations I am a project of my projects. Growing up in a single parent household with four siblings I have seen the strength and resolve it takes to survive. I refuse to fail. Working with BlackWNY Magazine from the start has inspired me to focus on the positivity in our community and step over the negativity that has plagued us for so long. Where there is darkness there is also light. I’m determined to continue highlighting the great changes coming to Western New York while keeping our readers informed on our responsibilities and possibilities for improvements. BlackWNY is the magazine for the entire community and my plan is to ensure that sentiment remains. For the past 3 years, I am thankful for the awesome support and encouragement we have received from the community. We will stay focused on producing a quality magazine that motivates our readers.

ReLaunch the


Naeem Jenkins-Nixon Editor-in-Chief

It’s a pleasure to join BlackWNY as the publication moves in a new direction and with Western New York making extensive gains everyday, I feel that this re-branding couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s only fitting that BWNY continue, and more importantly advance, the legacy set before us by the likes of John Russworm and Robert Abbott. As a Hampton University graduate with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and Communications it is my goal to make sure our readership is presented with quality information that will better their everyday lives.

Shatorah Roberson Editor-at-Large


t is a privilege to be a member of BlackWNY Magazine’s editorial staff, particularly as a Buffalo native. Western New York’s burgeoning economy, industrial development, and sense of culture make it one of the more attractive places for young professionals.

I am a managing partner at Budde & Roberson; a law firm focusing on immigration and naturalization law. My position provides me a unique opportunity to see WNY from a broad international perspective; a vantage point few believe to exist in this region. My goal is to ensure that the new Black WNY Magazine challenges your point of view. To create a magazine that is more than just entertainment, it should be a stepping stone to a new era for all of us. Our readers need to be touched, incensed, confused, angry - I want you to feel something. I want all of us to demand more instead of settling for the status quo. We all have a story to tell and I am excited to help you tell yours in the pages that follow.

by : Carmyn Rosalita Whether it be Miley Cyrus suddenly throwing herself into the hip hop world, or Mackelmore beating out the critically acclaimed Kendrick Lamar for Album of the Year at the 2014 Grammy Awards, it’s clear that musical and cultural appropriation still exists in the American music landscape. The 2014 Academy Award winning documentary 20 Feet From Stardom addresses this seldom raised issue. Diving into a myriad of racial and gender issues that have been mainstays in American music this film highlights the undeniable influence of African-American music on the iconic rock and pop stars of yesterday and today.

Interviews with back-up singers for icons such as Mick Jagger, Sheryl Crow, Stevie Wonder, and Bruce Springsteen provide an insider’s perspective to the thankless career of the traditional back-up singer. The documentary develops with story after story of the same scenario, a White male singer backed by African-American women. Prompting the viewer to think deeply about the historical appropriation of Black music and culture. Unfortunately, we can still see these patterns taking place in the music industry today.To be clear, the film does not deeply explore these racial or gender roles in

Patience, as they say, is a virtue, and necessary when night after night the spotlight is not yours and your contributions are generally unheralded. Can you cope in that specific role? The rock n’ roll of the 60’s and 70’s grew from deep roots in soul, gospel and blues music. These bands chose AfricanAmerican female back-up singers to achieve an authentic sound in their recordings and live performances. Seldom did these back-up vocalists have the opportunity to be featured solo on a track, or drive any of the structure in the creative process. One could certainly argue they were there to accessorize the main act and not reap their share of the benefits for their talent and contributions.

music. Rather, it lets the narrative of the singers display how these roles have affected their personal and professional lives. The film doesn’t provide answers to the nagging questions presented in the narrative. What acts have crossed the line into blatant cultural and musical appropriation? Where is the line between supporting performer and musical (and sometimes sexual) accessory? The purpose of the film is not to answer these questions, but to allow the lives and talents of the singers provoke thought and conversation about these topics. - Carmyn Rosalita

Carmyn Rosalita is a connoisseur of music, food, travel, and all things new and interesting. She was raised on the deep cuts of Otis, Aretha, and Wilson, and went on to dabble in dance, theater, and of course, music. Her credits include many theatrical productions, choirs, ensembles, bands, and solo performances. Never in the same place for very long, she’s lived up and down the Rust Belt, and has wandered from Latin America and the Caribbean to West Africa, and wherever else her frequent flyer miles will take her. When she’s not meandering through the Eastern Seaboard or scoping out her friends’ gigs, she’s either eating at Caribbean Experience, coffee clutching at West Side Bazaar, or sipping on gin and juice at Gypsy Parlor. Her column will focus on music and the state of social progress in America.

Sr. Pastor Dr. James A. Lewis III 63rd Birthday Celebration


S y dne y A da m s :

A Quiet Storm

By: Willie Price

A quiet storm. A phrase church, Metropolitan United

that describes Sydney Adams. Sydney is the youngest daughter of Roy and Laverne Adams. A junior at Tapestry Charter High School, Sidney is young but portrays a quiet confidence that surpasses her years. When placed behind a piano this confidence peaks as her fingers dance across the keys.

Methodist Church, Sydney was voted “Most Talented” during the Young Miss Buffalo Pageant in 2012, in which she played “Mozart’s Sonata in C, 1st Movement.” She recently took part in “This Week in Black History: Past, Present and Future” program where she was featured as the youth to watch for the future.

When I sat down with Sydney’s family, her mother stated that Sydney inherited her love of music from her father who played a wide variety of instruments in several bands. For over six years, Sydney has studied piano under Joseph Brancato honing her skills. Developing a love for music at an early age, Sydney has a knack for learning how to play new instruments. She is trained in the guitar, flute, clarinet and violin.

During her interview Sydney explained that Alicia Keys, notable Pianist and R&B singer, along with her father is one of her main musical inspirations. Sydney plans to further her musical education at Berklee School of Music in Boston and aspires to become a music teacher.

On April 6th a room full of loving and supportive friends, family and church members celebrated the birthday of the Honorable Pastor Lewis. He thanked the soulful presentations of WNY Chapter Mass Choirs., St. Martin de Porres R.C. Church Choir, Sis. Rosemary Logan-Peete and Sis. Carol Milhouse. The heartfelt spiritual dancing was provided by MMFGC Praise Dancers along with a dynamic and powerful ministering by MarQues Diallo of The True Bethel Baptist Church. Pastor Lewis graciously thanked everyone who made this day wonderful for him and -Sis. Kathryn Tydus

It was a pleasure to sit down with Sydney and her parents and our community cannot wait to see what her next astonishing An active member in her accomplishments will be.

S y dne y A da m s BlackWNY was proud to be an honored guest at the 52nd Annual Masonic Ball, hosted by Paramount Lodge No. 73. The celebration was in honor of the Most Worshipful Master I. Lamont Fletcher and the fine gentlemen of the Fraternity. There was good food and a great atmosphere and the presentation the Masons put on as they marched to the center of the room was quite impressive. The strong sense of community was definitely apparent. “The only time you should ever look down upon a brother is when you are offering him a hand to get up.” By: Xavier’s

Congratulations Worshipful Master I. Lamont Fletcher on a successful event.

Cast Down Your Bucket Where You Are By Nena Williams and Paul Hypolite

With the recent boom of development projects in the City of Buffalo, homeowners on the East Side have received letters with offers to purchase their homes for minimal amounts. These decisions will have a lasting imprint on the face of our community. There has been a great need for an urban revitalization in our communities and that time is happening now. Let’s examine all the changes taking place in the city and ask yourself, will these changes foster fiscal stability for our community? Though eliminating back taxes may be a good selling point the changes in and around your community may add additional value to your homes. We need to be encouraging homeownership at every turn. Instead there is a rumbling of rumors from folks interested in selling their property at current levels as low as $25,000 in some cases when their homes and property are worth much more. The Institute on Assets and Social Policy released a report in 2013 that showed the wealth gap between white and African American families increased from $85,000 in 1985 to over $236,000 by 2009. Even more troubling was the fact that net wealth in the African American community barely nudged up in 25 years. The main factors behind this wealth gap are: years of homeownership, household income, unemployment, a college education, and inheritance. As shown in the graph, the number one driving factor behind the wealth gap is years of homeownership in African American families. This will only change through strategic, informed decision making by us all. Passing down property and wealth from one generation to the next is critical if we are to stabilize and grow the African American community. Cast down your bucket where you are. FIGURE 2: WHAT’S DRIVING THE INCREASING RACIAL WEALTH GAP

Housing Authority, secured $5 million dollars in state funds to demolish the buildings in the Kensington Heights Apartment complex.

“We as the people are not solely responsible for the decimation of this community.

We are not!

Moving forward, Assemblywoman Peoples-Stokes plans to remain focused on working with the business community along with her counterparts in government to continue to do what’s in the Assemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stokes in front of the last of Kensington best interest for her district. That Heights aka Glenny Drive Apartments. includes protecting the integrity of our community and history while encouraging positive growth and urban renewal. “We as the people are not solely responsible for the decimation of this community… that doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed under our watch,” said Assemblywoman Peoples-Stokes. By Nena Williams and Paul Hypolite


n April 30th, LEWAC (Lasting Education for Women, Adults, and Children) Associates of WNY, Inc. hosted a breakfast at the American Red Cross to kick-off its 2014 Men’s Health Seminar ‘TUNE-UP 4 LIFE’ to be held October 11, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. The program began with a call to action by Mayor Byron W. Brown, Honorary Chair of the 2014 Men’s Health Seminar. Next, Catherine Lewis-Smith, Executive Director of LEWAC Associates of WNY, Inc., provided an overview of the seminar for the guests. Board Chair Reverend Richard A. Stenhouse welcomed guests from various African American and Hispanic community organizations and he stressed the importance of men’s health and the vital role they play in contributing to healthier families and communities. Encouraging men to talk and learn more about health is important to LEWAC and we are honored that our community leaders have supported our goals. We hope to see you at our Men’s Health Seminar in October.

American Red Cross to kick-off its 2014 Men’s Health Seminar Source: The Institute on Assets and Social Policy. Shapiro, Meschede, and Osoro. 2013

The Development Continues… BlackWNY caught up with Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes to discuss some of the positive developments in Buffalo’s East Side. Assemblywoman Peoples-Stokes spoke about the positive development currently underway in the Michigan Street African-American Heritage Corridor. Funds to the tune of $75,000 were secured in the 2014-2015 state budget, along with $250,000 in additional funding from the Power Authority’s Power Proceeds grant providing operating funds to start work on a management plan for the Corridor. In addition to championing the cause of the African-American Heritage Corridor, Assemblymember Peoples-Stokes, with the support of Mayor Byron Brown, Assembly Majority Leader Paul Tokasz and the Buffalo Municipal

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Trueheart Speaks by Detra M. Trueheart

“If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you will find an excuse.” - Unknown We are now in the second quarter of 2014, I don’t know where you are with your 2014 goals, but I’m sure that once you made a decision to do something, you said you were going to commit to it, right? Well have you? Maybe you have, maybe you haven’t. One of the major things you must do to make good on your word is to get rid of all of the lame excuses you use as reasons why you haven’t gotten started or can’t get to the next level. Remember this, in order for you to do, be and have what you know in your heart of hearts you desire, you have to remove all hindrances that may be keeping you from your goals and purpose, or you will keep using them as crutches that keep you from succeeding. Although you may in fact be committed to your goals, you also may be using ‘excuses’ as your reason to stay within your comfort zone. So whereas you are doing a little bit here and a little bit there, you really aren’t doing everything you should be doing to really take it to the next level and you aren’t going the extra mile. If while reading this, you are having a hard time trying to figure if, in fact, you use excuses and you are also trying to figure out what those excuses might be, let me help you with a few excuses that keep your goals out of reach. You may not want to call a ‘spade’ a ‘spade,’ but since we don’t have time to play games with your life or your purpose, let’s just keep it real with ourselve • • • • • • • • • •

I’ll do it tomorrow I can’t I don’t have the money I don’t have the time It’s too hard I would if I... I just don’t know if it’s the right time It doesn’t feel right I don’t have the right equipment/ technology I don’t know if my job will let me

There are so many more excuses that I could list or that you could think of, but I won’t. What I will say is this… It’s time to get rid of the excuses. Excuses are “the tools of the incompetent, which build monuments of nothingness, those who specialize in excuses seldom excel in anything else.” You see if you really look at this definition of excuses it says that they are the tools of the incompetent. People who specialize in making excuses for not doing what they know they should be doing, build monuments of nothingness. Huge piles of nothing… you have lots to say but nothing to show for it. As the ‘old folks’ would say you are ‘blowing smoke.’ Be honest with yourself. What excuses have you said to convince yourself to do something or not do something? Maybe you didn’t call it an excuse. Maybe you called it an explanation for needing that particular thing in your life. Well whatever you call it, it’s an excuse and today it is time to get crystal clear on those excuses you have used, how they’ve hindered you and how you can replace them.

• • • • • • •

I don’t have the experience I’m not smart enough/old enough/pretty enough/ tall enough, etc. I’m too old My commitment to my family won’t let me I’m tired I don’t feel like it I don’t have anyone to help me

YOUR TURN: List ALL of the excuses you have used to keep you from accomplishing this goal. Write down how you think those excuses have hindered you. Once you have all of your excuses written down and how they’ve hindered you, I want you to then write down how you can overcome them. Know this … the only way you get rid of your current excuses is by replacing them with the results you want to accomplish. About Detra... Detra M. Trueheart is a Life Purpose Generator, Speaker, and Coach. As CEO of TrueheartSpeaks Enterprises, she is dedicated to provoking ambitious purposedriven women into purpose. Go to www.

Founded by professional basketball player, Jason Rowe and Crown Entertainment, this year they are celebrating the 2nd Annual Queen City Classic Summer Basketball League (QCC). They offer a solid program in promoting health and fitness, and youth empowerment while bringing a positive message to the WNY area through sports. The league invites and then selects twelve teams comprised of professional, collegiate and amateur players to compete in a highly anticipated and sought after summer league. Since its inception, the QCC has gained acclaim as the #1 summer league in Buffalo! Queen City Classic features professional players from the ranks of the National Basketball Association (NBA), international teams in England, France, Spain, turkey, Italy, Luxemburg, Greece, Ukraine, Mexico, Brazil, Poland, and the Philippines just to name a few. the Classic also features players and teams from collegiate institutions such as UB, Canisius College, niagara, St. Bonaventure, Cincinnati, toledo, Johnson C. Smith, Buffalo State, Loyola, Siena, north Dakota, Idaho, Stillman, Brockport and Maine.

Notable Players -Jason Rowe (NCAA Div. 1 / Professional Basketball Player)

Major Features

-Damone Brown (NCAA Div.1 / Professional Basketball Player) -Karon Barnes (NCAA Div. 1/ Professional Basketball Player)

•Players from NBA, Overseas/International, College and Amateur

-Greg Gamble (NCAA Div. 1/ Professional Basketball Player)

•12 team tournament – 13week summer league

-Andy Robinson (NCAA Div.1 / Professional Basketball Player)

•18 + Unlimited age brackets

-Rodney Pierce (Former NCAA.Div.1)

•Tournament site seats 500+ (Nichols School, 2013 Venue in Buffalo, NY)

-Robert Garrision (NCAA Div.1 / Professional Basketball Player)

•Outstanding regional coverage- Buffalo News, The Challenger, WGRZ, WIVB, WKBW, Buffalo Dotcom and various popular blog spots

-Elton Frazier (NCAA Div.1 / Professional Basketball Player)

• News coverage by other local media

-Turner Battle (NCAA Div.1 / Professional Basketball Player) -Ray Blackburn (Former NCAA Div.1) -Karl Rainey (NCAA Div.1 / Professional Basketball Player) -Edmund Rainey (NCAA Div.1 / Professional Basketball Player)

• Family/community oriented event (Kid’s Day) • Celebrity and nationally recognized personalities featured as special guest

-Marcus Hall (NCAA Div.2 / Professional Basketball Player) -Ameer Drake (NCAA Div.2 / Professional Basketball Player)

• All Star Events - Three Point and Slam Dunk contest

-Julius Paige (NCAA Div.1 / Professional Basketball Player)

• Professional announcers and DJ services

-Mike Williams (NCAA Div.1/ Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

• Championship trophy, MVP trophy, Achievement Awards, Championship hats and t-shirts • Game Day Giveaways (Autographed items, Entertainment & Sport giveaways)

-Naaman Roosevelt (NCAA Div.1/ Buffalo Bills) -Ajae Ruthledge (NCAA Div.2 / Professional Basketball Player) -Mark Price (NCAA Div.1 / Professional Basketball Player) -Domonic Cook (NCAA Div.1 /Buffalo Bills)

• Uniforms for teams

-Leodis McKelvin (NCCA Div.1 / Buffalo Bills)

• Certified officials

-Leonard Stokes (NCAA Div.1 / Professional Basketball Player) -Loren Stokes (NCAA Div.1 / Professional Basketball Player)

• Sponsored by local, national and media sponsors

-Fran Synder (Former NCAA Div.1) -Danny Gilbert (NCAA Div. 1/ Professional Basketball Player) -Manasa Habeeb (Former NCAA Div.1) Queen City 30 sec commercial currently on youtube

-Devon Dawson (NCAA Div.2/ Professional Player) & More

BWNY writer Willie A. Price is a certified HUD, FEMA and Small Home Energy Auditor with more than 15 years of experience in property management, and maintenance. He has published several publications and performed numerous home and energy workshops and presentations.

“Spring Your Home Into Action & Save”


ne of the best ways to spring your home into action following a long, cold winter is to take time once the spring thaw has arrived, to do some simple home maintenance checks. It’s still not too late to begin to take actions to maintain and protect your home for the next season. You still have time to start taking into consideration the numerous tasks that need to be done. The sooner you begin locating and making needed repairs. The better off you are at preventing any potential problems before the next winter chill arrives. Careful planning and preparation will ensure your utilities will run efficiently during the next winter and in the end save you time, money, and a whole world of frustration. That is why I always recommend that my customers consider hiring a professional Home inspector or evaluator to perform a maintenance or winter preparation inspection of the home. The home inspection or

evaluation can point out areas that have been damaged during the winter and help you prepare the home before the next. An Energy or Maintenance Evaluation can save you time and money. But, if you start early enough, you can evaluate the property yourself for general areas that may need to be addressed. The first and most important step in springing your home into action is to check and stop water and air leaks. If water and air leaks aren’t stopped first, other weatherizing measures like insulation will be a waste of effort and money. Stopping air leaks in a home can save as much as 40 percent on your home’s heating and cooling costs. Stopping water leaks can save you hundreds of dollars in future repairs. There are low cost weatherization kits available to get you started or you can pick-up individual items at your local hardware store. There are 5 steps that should be considered before starting your project.

1) Have a Home Maintenance or

Energy Evaluation.

2) Establish the Cost of repairs. 3) Plan for any help you will need. 4) Gather Your Tools and Resources. 5) Establish a Timeline to get the work done.

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BlackWNY Magazine May 2014  

In this issue we discuss our relaunch, natural hair, mental health and we sit down with Buffalo Common Council Majority Leader Demone Smith.

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