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Volume 10, number 3
May / June 2007 FEATURE
Sacha on Broadway
Dr. Vera McIntyre of Tallahassee Florida was so upset about high communications taxes in the Sunshine State she started a nationwide consumer group to fight exorbitant government tax laws. By Lucia Reid
Cover Photo by Greg Alexander
Black Female Leads Fight Against High Florida Communication tax
Sacha on Broadway written by Miami Vice Star Philip Michael Thomas and Sandi Morais along with the late, great August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway play Fences opens at Jones High School this summer.
Scenes from the 2007 Statewide Onyx Awards 36 Photos by Ted Hollins FEATURES
“Liz” Means Retires from Shands Jax
10 She said “Securing funds to build neighborhood clinics in targeted communities” referencing five community clinics accredited to her leadership, is among her greatest accomplishments. Elizabeth “Liz” Means, vice president of Community Affairs Shands Jacksonville is swinging the door of opportunity open to the next chapter of her life. By Zelma Dickerson
12 Shepherd’s Hope: When the Shepherd’s Hope Health Center opened in Longwood, patients found a local husband and wife team tending to their medical needs.
Tuskegee Airmen Receive Congressional Gold Medal
14 Florida Scope 30 Movie HighlightsBy Diva 42 Hair Tips
8 Mr. Anderson Hill has been affluent and destitute. He has been well-liked and despised, and he has had extreme experiences that have made him a wise man. Because of his commitment to live a meaningful life by trusting in God, caring for his family and giving back to the community, he epitomizes The Measure of a Man.” By DeWayne Jones
Dance Takes a Giant Leap at Gospel Retreat By Walter Rutledge The 20th Bi- Annual Bobby Jones International Gospel Industry Retreat will present dance, and the art of making dances, Sunday May 27th through Tuesday May 29th at the Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa in Hollywood, Florida.
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from the editors
PUBLISHER / EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Lillian Seays ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER / EDITOR Lester Seays (Director of Operations) Director of Technology Brian Seays Director of Special Projects Cheryll Daniels Special Projects Consultant RBlack & Associates Director of Media Relations Steven King
It has been a long time coming, but the Tuskegee Airmen will finally get their just reward and recognition for bravery for service to their country. See the story on page 20. On March 10th, 700 plus guests gathered at the Rosen Centre Hotel for the fifth annual Onyx Awards. Nominees and presenters representing each region of the state networked and enjoyed fine entertainment and a delicious meal while honoring 22 men and women who have given unselfishly to make this a better state in which to live. See photos of winners and other scenes from the event on page 36. Learn how and why Mrs. McIntyre, a Black female, is leading the fight against high Florida Communication taxes. (Page 28) Now that summer is near and families will be looking forward to travel and entertainment this season, we have not only included summer movie highlights (page 30), but we also introduce Sacha on Broadway. This leading story tells about those persons responsible for bring more cultural events to Central Florida and talks about the play writers and producers. You donâ€™t have to settle for reading about Sacha on Broadway, if you live in Central Florida, you will enjoy the convenience of being able to see this play in May. Go to page 24. It is also time that you prepare for the Gospel Retreat. Walter Rutledge explains how dance will take a giant leap at this yearâ€™s Retreat. See page 39. There are stories here that will surely capture your interest. Please enjoy this issue of Onyx Magazine. Thank you for continuing to support this publication. See you in July.
Lillian and Lester Seays
Director of Sales (Northeast Florida) David Williams Central Florida Sales DeShayla Bryant Director of Circulation Kenneth Seays Contributing Writers Melva Akens Karyn Beach Zelma Dickerson Cathy Howse Dewayne Jones Photographers Ted Hollins Lester Seays Onyx Magazine is published bimonthly by LBS Publications, Inc., PMB 412, 7226 West Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL 32818. Phone: (407) 293-6102, (407) 579-9894 or (407) 443-6237, Fax: (407) 523-5225. Subscription rate is $15 for six issues. For subscriptions and notification of address change, contact Onyx Magazine at the above address, or e-mail us at onyxmagazine.com. Letters to the editor are encouraged. Copyright 2006 by Onyx Magazine. All right reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent of the publisher. Opinions expressed in this magazine are those of the writer or interviewee, and not necessarily those of the publisher. Manuscripts, photos and art should be submitted with a self addressed stamped envelope. The publisher does not assume responsibility for any materials not submitted in manner advised. Unsolicited materials are not subject to payment by Onyx Magazine.
May / June
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May / June
“I was the first minority to get both my MBA and juris doctor degree at the same time. I did it in less than three years.” Placing his values on honesty, commitment, faith and forgiveness, Mr. Anderson Hill has been affluent and destitute. He has been well-liked and despised, and he has had extreme experiences that have made him a wise man. Because of his commitment to live a meaningful life by trusting in God, caring for his family and giving back to the community, he epitomizes The Measure of a Man.” The plaques on the wall reflect his successful accomplishments. Anderson Hill is the president of HZ Construction and ABG Housing, which is a housing development company that provides a means by which families can become homeowners. “I have always had a sense of joy and peace that I have found in my savior Jesus Christ,” said Hill. “I accept who I am as a person, and I’m joyful to have helped many people in my life.” Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, Hill attended Little Rock Central High School, the first school to ever be integrated in the South. Says he, “I have done construction management for several schools around the Orlando area such as Windy Ridge Elementary School, a $30 million project and Bay Meadows Elementary School, a $20 million project. My company has also helped to refurbish Evans High School’s band room and auditorium.”
Anderson Hill As HZ Construction continues to flourish, Hill is expecting ABG housing to do the same. As President of ABG Housing, his job is to buy houses that are in foreclosure and refurbish the property. Hill explains that the company then requires that the family agrees to participate in a literacy program to increase their reading skills in exchange for the finances required to purchase and refurbish the home. After the family moves in, they will get a 10% credit for every year they live in the house based on the amount given to them. There is no interest or payment required other than increasing their reading knowledge, Since 1998, ABG housing has done almost 400 houses around Orlando.” In 1976, Mr. Hill graduated from Clark College in Atlanta (now Clark University), where he got his bachelor’s degree in accounting and business administration. While in college, he had the highest G.P.A. of any male student in his class. He recalls, “When I was a junior at Clark, I taught class, when the accounting professors would go out of town. It was hard for my classmates to believe it.” Hill also attended the University of Florida where he got his MBA and juris doctor’s degree. “I was the first minority to get both my masters of business administration and juris doctor’s degree at the same time. I did it in less than three years of study.”
“We provide a literacy program in exchange for our financial help in order for families to move into their houses...” After graduating from college at the age of 25, Hill worked for Bethune-Cookman College (now University), as a school attorney and was a full-time professor in business law and accounting. Now, fifteen years later, he owns a successful business at 1314 North Pine Hills Road in Orlando. Hill has found ways to give back to the community and will continue to do so. “I’ve helped with the program Education is Cool, Get One, which involves the Orange County Public School System. This is a motivational program to show young people it is okay to want to learn, but you also need to have a desire for learning. Just having a desire for fashion or music is not enough. Education is Cool, Get One allows kids to see things from an educational point of view so they will reap worthwhile benefits. As a result of this program, I have received two awards from the Orange County School District and Superintendent Ronald Blocker. I also participated with the Orlando Police Department gathering peacekeepers for the Neo Nazi March that was in Orlando last year.” As Hill’s humanitarian actions for his community has prospered him through the years, he looks forward to the continued growth of his business. My goal is to have an independent construction management firm as a minority participant. We are now involved in a menMay / June
toring protégé, where you have a big company that teaches us the techniques of construction management. The companies also help with our personnel development, which is a five-year process.” We are in our second year.” Everything for Mr. Hill is a learning process, which provides a bigger picture for his business in the end. Although he has endured some storms in his life, his firm belief in God has never changed. “I have a strong belief in God, because I give him all the honor, credit, and glory for what he has done in my life. I had some problems in my life like most people have had, but through mv faith in God, He has blessed my family and me immensely.” As for future business administration and accounting majors who plan to pursue a similar career in business, Hill provides some wise advice, “Make sure you get the proper training as you venture into owning your own business and have the credentials to back it up. You should also keep track of your finances, both your inflow as well as your outlays on a daily basis. You want to make good investments and take advantage of good revenue opportunities. If you don’t manage your assets effectively and appropriately, you can find yourself in a financial disaster situation.” Whether you take his word for it or not, Mr. Anderson Hill’s accomplishments speak louder than his words.
By DeWayne Jones Student Intern, Paine College, Augusta, Georgia May / June
Elizabeth “Liz” Means Retires …When I was sick, you visited me... She said “Securing funds to build neighborhood clinics in targeted communities” referencing five community clinics accredited to her leadership, is among her greatest accomplishments. Elizabeth “Liz” Means, vice president of Community Affairs Shands Jacksonville is swinging the door of opportunity open to the next chapter of her life. After 41 years of dedicated service to Shands Jacksonville, she will say good bye to a place that has many memories. It all began with a promise made to her grandmother after witnessing the ill treatment of Blacks during the years of segregation. She was 12 years old. “I prayed God, when I grow up I want to be a nurse so I can help people so they won’t be treated like my grand momma.” Today many people benefit from the desires of a little girl who wanted to make a difference in health care. Liz says she lives by five stars of service; compassion, competence, commitment and caring. From her role models, Dr. Lois Gibson, Dr. Edna Saffey and Vera Cruse she learned the value of caring and sharing. Mrs. Means’ career at University Medical Center has spanned many years of change and achievement, struggle and success. From beginning as a licensed practical nurse to her role as the lead administrator for Community Affairs, Mrs. Means continues to encourage everyone she meets to pursue educational goals. She attended the then all black Stanton Vocational High School graduating in 1966 as a licensed practical nurse. Later in 1974, she earned an Associate of Science Degree in Nursing from Florida Junior College of Jacksonville. Florida Southern College, Lakeland Florida came next where she attained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing, 1983. Finally, in 1986, she earned a Masters Degree in Health Administration from Central Michigan University. You know you have accomplished a number of firsts over the past 41 years, as I chatted with her. For example, the First woman and African American to chair the National Conference of Community and Justice Executive Board; the first female Jacksonville Housing Authority Chair; and recipient of the First Unsung Hero in Healthcare award from ACHA, 2003 to name a few. “It was not easy’” she said but “I love for people to hand me a lemon…I make lemonade.” Nearly every inch of her wall and credenza are covered with numerous awards and recognitions. In her words, “I’m not finished. As long as African Americans hold the highest mortality and morbidity rates in infant mortality, diabetes, and sexually transmitted diseases, there is much more to do.” She referenced a 1942 report on the state of Negroes in Duval County which indicates that little has changed over 60 years. Every morning when she awakens, “I’m thinking of ways to help our community” she said. Fully aware that none of this can be done alone, Liz said that grassroots efforts and political support are essential to creating and sustaining change in health care. Together we must make health care accessible to people who work everyday like us, but don’t have health insurance. She said, “Any day the same thing could happen to me or you. It takes only one catastrophic illness to change a life.” Mrs. Means stressed the importance of listening to the people because they know what they want or need in their communities. Over the years she has learned not to be afraid of what the people will say or ask for. “Bad news is an opportunity for change whether it is perception or reality.” Consequently, the many hours she spent at meetings, community events, conferences, with focus groups and physicians, and at health fairs send the message that “I lis10
May / June
“I love for people to hand me a lemon…I make lemonade.” tened and am available to serve.” Finally, when asked Mrs. Means the question, what you would do differently given a second chance, she responded. “Two things, I would start earlier and Heal Thy People would be the focus of partnership and collaborative opportunities. Heal Thy PeopleHealthy People is a faith-based component of Community Affairs. More than 40 churches partner with Shands Jacksonville to provide access to health education, health promotion and health screening to local churches and communities. Pastors, health ministry leaders, and church members meet monthly for education and updates. Each church receives a quarterly newsletter at no charge. Additionally, Health Sunday, a partner benefit, is held at a different church every 4th Sunday. Physicians, nurses, and the health bus along with other partners enjoy services, food and education together. Church members benefit most by having access to the health care providers and from referrals to one of the community clinics. Vera Cruse
BY ZELMA DICKERSON, RN, M, Ed. Director of Community Affairs, Shands Jacksonville
“Liz” Means surrounded by family, friends, and co-workers at her retirement party.
Elizabeth Means receives award for 41 years of service at Shands
Finding hope in two doctors New Shepherdʼs Hope free clinic Opened March 19 By: Ashley Aubuchon
“We’d been thinking about volunteering for some time,” said Colleen. “A lot of medical outreach opportunities can be found in South American countries, but we found something right in our backyard.” The Zittels first learned of Shepherd’s Hope through Paul Hoyer, their pastor at Holy Cross Lutheran Church. Hoyer played a key role in renovating the facility and helping to bring Shepherd’s Hope to Longwood. He approached the Zittels to help. With Seminole County continuing to grow and with several free clinics closing, the Zittels saw a real need for quality medical care for uninsured residents. They immediately began recruiting volunteer physicians. Lto R: Tony Jenkins, Board of Directors, The Blue Foundation for a Healthy Florida and Market President - Central Florida, BCBSFL Cindi Kopelman, President, Shepherd's Hope Jayne Willis, Chairman of the Board, Shepherd's Hope
Orlando, Fla.— When the Shepherd’s Hope Health Center opened in Longwood, patients found a local husband and wife team tending to their medical needs. Seminole County residents Drs. Gregory and Colleen Zittel had been looking for a way to help people in their community. They found the perfect fit with Shepherd’s Hope, a free medical clinic for low-income and uninsured residents in Seminole County. The Health Center opened March 19. 12
“I cannot see people without insurance at my private practice due to malpractice issues,” said Gregory Zittel, a specialist in obstetrics and gynecology with a private practice in Lake Mary and a faculty member at Winnie Palmer Hospital in Orlando. “It breaks my heart when people come into the office down and out. There had to be a place for the uninsured to get the attention they need and get plugged in to the right resources.” Shepherd’s Hope currently operates eight clinics in Central Florida in partnership with area hospitals, local health departments, social service agencies and area church congregations. All Shepherd’s Hope health centers are staffed entirely by volunteers. Currently, 2000 volunteers are actively involved in Shepherd’s Hope Health Centers, but more doctors and nurses .are always needed.
May / June
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FLORIDA SCOPE Swimming Advisory Lifted for Silver Beach
Daytona Beach – The Volusia County Health Department (VCHD) has lifted the swimming advisory for Silver Beach in Daytona Beach, FL “We typically see elevated bacteria levels during this time of year due to increased migratory bird populations along the shore,” said Chip Schelble, VCHD Healthy Beaches Program Manager. “The migratory bird populations have been decreasing in recent weeks and the water quality has gradually returned to the good range as typically happens this time of year.”
Maitland Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority sends Delegation to the Capitol Maitland - Nu Iota Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated will send a delegation of chapter members to participate in the annual Legislative Day, on Thursday, April 19, 2007. Also known as “AKA Day at the Capitol”, this year’s delegation will be comprised of 10 chapter members from diverse professional backgrounds. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated founded in 1908 in Washington, D.C. on the campus of Howard University has always embraced service to all mankind. This year as we enter into a year long celebration of our centennial anniversary our thoughts and purpose have not changed. We will be addressing the issues of World Hunger, Mental Health, AIDS, Domestic Violence, Sickle Cell Anemia, Diabetes, Education, Cardiovascular Disease and the Environment in the African American community during our scheduled visit at the capitol.
Routine beach water sampling will continue with results published weekly. Background information on the Aquatic Toxins Program and Florida Healthy Beaches Program can be found at: www.doh.state.fl.us
Pictured: Ms. Gloria Stephens, Ms. Jose-Ann Gordon, Mrs. Vivian Lyte-Johnson, Ms. Susie Bell-Tomlin, Mrs. Marveen Jefferson, Mrs. Belinda Morgan-Sterling, Mrs. Sandra Smith, Mrs. Belinda Davis and Mrs. Michelle Thornton-Taylor.
ANSWERS TO THE ETIQUETTE EXAM FOUND IN THE MARCH / APRIL ISSUE 1. (b) 2. (c) 3. (a) & (c) 4. (b) 5. (d) 6. (c) 7. (c) 8. (b) 9. (b) 10. (c)
FLORIDA SCOPE The Saint Petersburg Alumnae Chapter of
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. & The St Petersburg Alumni Chapter of
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Presents
“The Kreme de la Rosa Ball” Saturday, May 26, 2007 9:00 PM-1:00AM Gulfport Casino Ballroom 5500 Shore Boulevard South Gulfport, Florida 33707 Live Entertainment provided by” Evidence”-Tampa Florida Attire: Formal Men (Black tuxedo) Black & White accessories only Women (dresses-Red, White or Black tea length/ gown) 50.00 Donation Co-Sponsored by the City of St Petersburg Proceeds to benefit local Scholarships and Community Service projects
Rosa Lee Jones, the Secretary for Slain Civil Rights Activist Harry T. Moore. Celebrates 100th Birthday COCOA, FLA. – Rosa Lee Jones, the secretary for slain Civil Rights Activist Harry T. Moore while he organized the first NAACP chapter in Brevard County, is celebrating her 100th birthday today, Monday, Feb. 26, as well wishers stop by her home at 816 Rosa L. Jones Boulevard in Cocoa. Jones, an educator and community activist, founded and operated the Rosebud Kindergarten and Child Care Center, the first black-owned kindergarten in the city of Cocoa. Throughout the weekend her birthday has been celebrated by the community, mayors, city council members, the chairman of the Brevard County School District, state representatives and other dignitaries at the
Radisson Hotel and at Mount Moriah African Methodist Episcopal Church in Cocoa. Letters of congratulations were mailed from Gov. Charlie Crist, Congressman Weldon, and Congressman Mel Martinez. As a journalist, Jones and Harry T. Moore worked together as contributing editors for The Script, the first black newspaper in Brevard County, which was founded and published by the late Dorothy Sweetwine. Jones diligently worked with Moore and his wife, Harriette, who organized the first NAACP in Brevard and fought for equal salaries for black teachers throughout the county. The couple’s house in Mims was bombed on Christmas night in 1951. Jones, fondly known as ``Mrs. Jones,’’ opened Rosebud Kindergarten and Child Care Center formerly on Magnolia Street in Cocoa. With the support of her husband, the late Osborne Jones, the school taught children basic educational skills and social graces. The couple later built a new school on Poinsett Drive, which is now named in her honor – Rosa Lee Jones Boulevard. Mrs. Jones attended early childhood education courses at Brevard Community College toward her certification in kindergarten care. Her witty sense of humor and articulate voice has been popular throughout Brevard County. Jones held popular graduation ceremonies for her kindergarten students, who wore red hand sewn caps and gowns. ``I wanted a place where little black boys and girls could receive a solid foundation in education,’’ Jones said. The students she taught include Dick Blake, the first black Rockledge City Councilman and the first black principal of Cocoa High School; Dorothy Carder-Moore, a community leader and a co-host with Jones on the WKKO Radio Talk Show ``Open House;’’ and Dr. Joe Lee Smith, Vice Mayor for the city of Rockledge and a former campus president for Brevard Community College. Born Feb. 26, 1907, Jones graduated from Florida A & M High School in Tallahassee and Walker’s Business College in Tampa, where she received a degree in business education. She and her husband Osborne raised three children – Anna Laura, Rebecca and the late Robert Jones. An educator, journalist, radio host and champion for human rights, Jones evolved from a historical family. Jones is part of a historical family, which includes her first cousin, the late John Jordon ``Buck’’ O’Neil, who played in the Negro Leagues and later became the first African American coach in the major leagues. Jones’ gift for public speaking paved the way for the radio talk show ``Open House,’’ which she co-hosted each Sunday morning on WKKO-AM 860 Radio Station in Cocoa.
Meek at Grand Opening of Miami-Dade Health Department's Little Haiti Health Center MIAMI - On Friday, March 30th, Congressman Kendrick B. Meek will speak at the grand opening of the Miami-Dade Health Department's Little Haiti Health Center located at 300 N.E. 80th Terrace in Miami at 11:00 a.m. Centrally located in Little Haiti, the center will offer premium health care to residents of the entire community. "I have been a strong supporter of the Clinic since I served in the State Legislature and helped obtain $2.5 million to build this new facility. The grand opening ceremony is a great event for this community, and for the many people who worked so hard to make this day happen," said Congressman Kendrick B. Meek, whose congressional district includes Little Haiti. A health fair, fashion show, entertainment and other festivities will start at 10 a.m. and conclude at 2 p.m. Planning and construction dollars for the Little Haiti Clinic was appropriated by the Florida Legislature during the 1998 and 2001 session. The land has been provided by Miami-Dade County, and the clinic will be operated by the Miami-Dade County Health Department. The Little Haiti Health Center is a 2-story building with 10,000 square feet including common areas, offices and support services. Services at the health center will include family planning, sexually transmitted diseases (STD) testing, lab tests, tuberculosis (TB) screening, education and prevention. 16
May / June
FLORIDA SCOPE Orlando Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. Donates $1,000 to UNCF Orlando - On February 16m 2007, a group of members from the Orlando Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated,m attended the firth annual Mayor’s Black History Month Luncheon held in support of the United Negro College Fund. Each year the chapter donates $1,000 to the fund and this year was no exception. Say James Humphrey, “In these days when Black organizations, in general, and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity in particular, are receiving so much negative publicity, it is refreshing to report on this positive on-going activity.” The Fraternity was founded in 1911 at Indiana University, and after 96 years, the organization continues to uphold its fundamental purpose: ACHIEVEMENT. That is the reason for the yearly donation to the UNCF, the lifetime membership in the National Association for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the annual scholarship presentation ceremony and a myriad of other community related services. The Orlando chapter was founded in 1947 and proudly carries on the tradition. In May 2007, the chapter will hold the second annual Ernest Humphries and Jack LeFlore Memorial Scholarship Golf Tournament. Proceeds from the tournament will be used to fund the chapter’s programs for scholarships and Guide Right educational, occupational and social guidance of middle school and high school male students
Former Senator Leslie Miller Gains New Post at USF Tampa– The University of South Florida has named former State Senator Leslie Miller to the post of Director of Community Relations and Student Ombudsman. The USF alumnus and first black student body president assumed his new duties April 6. Miller comes to USF after more than ten years as manager for Minority Business Development and Governmental Relations at Tampa General Hospital. He also served in the State Former State Senator Leslie Miller Senate for three terms, from 2000 and 2006. He was Minority Leader during his 2004 term. “Les Miller has deep roots in Tampa and cares deeply about USF,” said USF President Judy Genshaft. “We are delighted our students will have the opportunity to work with him and we know he will connect USF with the community in a way that will benefit both.” Miller was first elected to office in 1991 as a member of the Tampa City Council, followed by election to the Florida State House of Representatives where he served from 1992 to 2000. Miller served on the Appropriations and Ways and Means Committees 10 of his 14 years in the state legislature. During the last two years of his tenure there, he served as vice chair of the Ways and Means Committee and served twice as Vice Chair of the Budget Conference Committee. He represented District 18 which covers much of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties as well as a portion of Manatee County. Miller earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in public administration from USF. “Given where life has taken me since my days as a student, I bring an especially well-rounded perspective that I know will serve me well in this new role at my alma mater,” said Miller. “It’s great to be back at USF.”
Seated L to R: Edward Blacksheare, Dr. James Keys, Joseph Williams and Ernest Boyd. Standing L to R: Lonnie Bell, Guest Speaker Charles Greene, the Executive Director of the President’s Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities; Ms. Opal Henry; James Humphrey and Calvin Lang
A member of numerous civic organizations, Miller is married to Councilwoman Gwen Miller and they have two children.
May / June
FLORIDA SCOPE African American Chamber Names Bell Interim Executive Director Orlando - The Board of the African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida today named Lonnie C. Bell its new interim executive director. A recent retiree from Agere Systems, Bell is currently president of the Orlando Utilities Commission and is a past chairman of the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce. Lonnie Bell
The Board of Governors said Bell, a long-time Central Florida business and community leader, will be responsible for the organization’s programming, economic development, fund raising, membership development, partnerships, operations and public relations activities. “We are extremely excited to have attracted someone of Lonnie Bells’ caliber to lead our organization,” said Paul Wyche, chairman of the Chamber’s Board of Governors. “His wealth of experience and thoughtful leadership will be a tremendous asset to the Chamber and Central Florida’s black business community.”
ners and sponsors, and building and sustaining an effective public image. “This opportunity gives me the chance to help our business community to reach out to one another and connect the proverbial dots of economic development, workforce development and overall Central Florida business development,” Bell concluded. A native of Springfield, Ohio, Bell has been an Orlando resident since 1984 and recently retired from Agere Systems after 22 years. Bell earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from Central State (Ohio) University and a MBA from the University of Phoenix. He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. and a graduate of Leadership Orlando and Leadership Florida. Bell is a strong proponent of education and workforce development and has supported those interests through involvement with the NAACP, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida High Tech Corridor and Workforce 2020. He and his wife, Joanne, have two children Greg (Florida A&M University) and Erin (Xavier University). In addition to the OUC Board, Bell serves on the boards of the Preserve Eatonville Community and the Red Cross of Central Florida. The African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida serves as an advocacy and networking organization to promote and empower African American businesses throughout Central Florida, including Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole and Volusia counties. For more information, visit www.blackcommerce.org
“I am excited to work with the Board of Governors and the Chamber team to help build and sustain the Central Florida business community,” said Bell. “There is a lot of hard work to be done but we definitely have the experience and the resolve to make phenomenal inclusive business cooperation the standard in Central Florida.” Bell will be responsible for promoting the mission and objectives of the African American Chamber of Commerce by serving as an advocate on issues critical to the economic success of Central Florida’s black businesses, recruiting and servicing Chamber members, creating strong relationships with partMay / June
Brevard County Original Tuskegee Airmen Receive Congressional Gold Medal of Honor PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, FLA. – Original Tuskegee Airman Hiram Mann remembers the days of segregation in the military. As a fighter pilot, Mann’s task was to escort fellow airmen, protecting them from enemy aircraft during World War II. On Thursday, March 29, Mann, 85, of Titusville, was among 300 original Tuskegee Airmen nationwide to gather in the Capitol Rotunda to be awarded the prestigious Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by the federal legislature, for their heroic service as America’s first black military airmen. In 1941, the Army Air Corps began training a small group of black men to become pilots at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, a historically black college. Nicknamed the ``Redtails’’ or “Red Angels, the red paint on the tail of their aircraft earned them those titles. German fighter pilots called them "Schwartze Vogelmenshen," which translates to the "Black Birdmen." ``I’m glad that we’re finally getting recognition for doing something,’’ said Mann, a pilot who escorted airplanes overseas as a member of the 332nd Fighter Pilot regime. ``I’m very happy that we’re finally getting it. This is history. However, it really irks the heck out of me when Black people have never heard of the Tuskegee Airmen.’’ Members of Congress, about 350, were on hand to witness the historic moment, when the airmen received the recognition many historians say as been a long time coming. The gold medal is equivalent to the Presidential Medal of Freedom, is presented to groups or individuals for acts of exceptional service and for lifetime achievement. The airmen will join the ranks of distinguished recipients including Winston Churchill, Rosa Parks, the Wright Brothers and former Secretary of State Colin Powell. Mann and Noel Harris, of Merritt Island, are members of the Tuskegee Airmen Inc. Gen. Daniel ``Chappie’’ James, Jr. Chapter, based at Patrick Air Force Base in Cocoa Beach. Of the 994 black aviators who were trained as Tuskegee Airmen, less than 385 are still alive. ``Just to think about it, to be a part of history like Dr. Martin Luther King . . . It’s earthshaking,’’ said Noel Harris, 82, who trained as a Tuskegee Airmen pilot and lives in Merritt Island. ``I wish my mother was alive to see it. This has really been wonderful. Everyone seems to be very, very moved with what is being done. ``The airmen seem to be walking tall. It’s been 65 years and we’re just lucky to be alive to be able to be recognized. Many of us are in our late 70s and mid-80s.’’ Bob Griffin and his wife drove up to Washington, D.C. for the once in a lifetime affair. The couple said they wouldn’t miss it for anything. The Tuskegee Airmen are deserving of any recognition they receive, said Gen. Titus Hall, who is a member of the Chappie James Chapter and who is lobbying state officials to have a Tuskegee Airmen Day implemented in the state of Florida. In 2005, U.S. House Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., and Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., presented identical bills in the House of Representatives and the Senate to give the airmen the Congressional Medal. In October 2005, the Senate bill passed and the House followed in February 2006. President George Bush signed the bill into law last April.
By Purvette A. Bryant
Noel Harris 20
Rosco Brown, Jr. May / June
RIGHT: Lt. Col. Alexander Jefferson looks on as President George W. Bush presents the Congressional Gold Medal to the Tuskegee Airmen. Accepting the medal is Roscoe Brown Jr. Also shown is Nancy Polusi, Senator Robert Byrd, D-W.VA and Rep. Charles Rangel, D-NY.
When retired Lt. Col. Lee Archer was asked for his comments, he stated, “When I was a 20 year-old pilot during World War II, I thought we’d never be honored, no matter what we did.” Now, some 60+ years later, he feels that it is a great honor that this special recognition has finally come to the Tuskegee Airmen. Said Archer, “The only recognition we received at that time was when President Harry S. Truman integrated the Air force at the end of the war.” That move by the President made way for the integration of other branches of the Armed Forces. “Back then we were ignored,” said Archer. “I thought it was normal... We were honored by the French, but at home, it was still segregated. Black Americans have always been the law abiding; I’m not talking about criminals, you have them in every race, but when our country is in trouble Blacks have always fought for the country. I Don’t think any other group would have tolerated that for a 120 years.” As an airman, “Ace” as he is called by his friends, flew the most combat missions than any other pilot. The usual number was 50. Says he, “I flew 169 missions.” “I believe that this Honor is many years late in coming,” said Brigadier General Remo Butler of Tampa, FL, “but the most important thing is that they were finally recognized for their accomplishments. These great men also serve as trailblazers and a role models for all Black men. They endured not only the hardship of war but the harsh realities of racism. They didn't make excuses on why they couldn't do something, but they took these hardships in stride and not only excelled in war, but also in he civilian world when they returned. I am proud to know these fine men and prouder to be affiliated with them.”
Brigadier General Remo Butler
“They [the Tuskegee Airmen] were before my time,” said fifty-five yearold Brigadier General Remo Butler. “I was sort of adopted by the Tuskegee Airmen.” The relationship developed in San Antonio, TX in 2000 when the Black Airline Pilots Association collaborated with the Tuskegee Airmen in a special presentation. At that meeting, he gave a speech entitled Why Black Officers Fail. The Tuskegee Airmen were impressed by his presentation, and consequently embraced him as part of their own. Butler is the only Black Brigadier General in Special Forces. He is also CEO/President of Blackrussianmusicgroup Said President Bush during the historic ceremony, “These men in our presence felt a special sense of urgency. They were fighting two wars. One was in Europe, and the other took place in the hearts and minds of our citizens.” Then, he saluted them in a symbolic gesture to “help atone for all the unreturned salutes and unforgivable indignities...” Retired Colonel Elmer Jones said in an interview, “It’s never too late for your country to to say that you’ve done a great job for us.” But for some, it is too late. As the legendary Airmen continue to age, their numbers are dwindling.
By Lucia Reid Judge Robert Decatur
May / June
Tuskegee Airmen Hold Legacy Luncheon
With style and statue reminiscent of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the dynamic Rev. Dr. Francys Johnson, educator, bold civil rights advocate and community servant leader, captivated his audience with an electrifying speech that held his audience in awe every second of his 30-minute delivery. Rev. Johnson is the ninth pastor of Mount Moriah Baptist Church of Pembroke, GA. He has been named an “Emerging Leader” by the National Religious Leadership Summit. The Tuskegee Airmen were constantly praised for their leadership and courage via numerous acts that paved the way for African-Americans well into the 21st Century. The title sponsor for the General Daniel “Chappie” James Jr. Chapter’s Annual Legacy Luncheon was Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida. Proceeds from this fundraiser will be used as scholarships for students attending Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL. Dr. Johnson will also be the keynote speaker at the Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Legacy Breakfast to be held June 22 at the Ramada Conference Center in Tallahassee.
Rev. Dr. Randolph, Rev. Dr. Francys Johnson, Dr. LaVon Bracy
Beverly Colson Neal, Executive Director of the Florida State Conference of the NAACP
Keynote Speaker The Reverend Dr. Francys Johnson
Carolyn Fennel, Mistress of Ceremony
Alpha Brothers: Reginald McGill, The Honorable Tim Adams, Dr. Francys Johnson, Chris McCray, Atty.
Producer and Miami Vice Star, Philip Michael Thomas and Producer, Sandi Morais
Sacha on Broadway Comes to Central Florida Photo by Greg Alexander 24
May / June
Timetta Phillips (SACHA) and Dino Pinta (King Akaash) sing “I VOW MY LOVE WITH YOU” at Hollywood, FL Central Performing Arts Center
COURTNEY BEARD as King Akaash and REQUELL COTHRAN as Princess Micaela at HAMPTON UNIVERSITY, (Oct. 28, 2001)
Sacha on Broadway written by Miami Vice Star Philip Michael Thomas and Sandi Morais along with the late, great August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway play Fences opens at Jones High School this summer. Dr. Ruth “Joyce” Barnes the Principal/CEO and chief consultant for the Colbert Group has a wholly owned subsiderary, Barnes/Wright Production and Entertainment, a highly acclaimed entertainment company. The Colbert Group will bring positive and inspiring productions to the Central Florida area. The company is already producing two major plays Sacha on Broadway a Miami based original musical fairy-tale with book, music and lyrics written by Miami Vice star, Philip Michael Thomas and Sandi Morais, also Fences a Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway play written by the late, great August Wilson. Last month, the production company had three Orlando vocal artist to appear in Chicago on Singsation, the gospel entertainment program, which premiered June 4, 1989 on WBBM-TV. Anthony B. Major will direct Fences. He is the Associate Professor/ Nicholson School of Film and digital Media at the University of Central Florida (UCF). Mr. Major was Vice President of the Red Foxx Corporation for six years and worked as stage manager with Dolly Parton on her television series Heavens to Betsy at Disney/MGM Studios. Gil Lewis will be reprising the role of Troy that he played on Broadway. Mr. Lewis is an accomplished actor, writer, director and visual artist. Jamaican-born Sandi Morais (Producer) will be directing Sacha on Broadway for the third time. Ms. Morais earned a Bachelor’s of Arts degree from Florida International University. She worked as a Physical Education Teacher at Sunset Christian Academy and worked for two years with the Family Children Development Center, a Dade County Special Education program. For ten years Ms. Morais also wrote fitness articles for Caribbean Today newspaper. In 2001-2003 She wrote a column for Caribbean Contact newspaper titled Positive Vibrations featuring true heart-toheart inspirational stories of people who have triumph over tragedy. In 2006 a biography that she wrote on cancer survivor Cathee Roach-Connor was published in a book titled Psalms in the Dance of Life. Ms. Morais is co-writer on Sacha and the Magic Cookie Maker coloring story book. Philip Michael Thomas (Producer) was born may 26, 1949 in Columbus, Ohio. Mr. Thomas received the degree of Doctor of May / June
Terri Crook (HARRIET THE OWL) Patrick Ryel (MARTIN THE FROG) and Deana Butler (RAY THE RAT) January 9, 2005 at the Hollywood, Florida Central Performing Arts Center.
Arts (Honoris Causa) from Shaw University in 1997 for his contribution to the arts. He has been writing children’s music and lyrics for over forty-years. In 1996 he co-produced “We are the children of the world” (A children’s television show with puppets and music in Spanish and English in Costa Rica. His professional acting career began in 1968 with the San Francisco production of Hair. In 1971 Mr. Thomas starred as Gabe Gabriel in Charles Gordon’s Pulitzer Prize winning play titled No Place to Be Somebody at the Morasco Theater on Broadway. He also starred in eleven motion pictures including Stigma (1972), Book of Numbers with Raymond St. Jacques and Freda Payne (1973) and Sparkle (1976) starring opposite Irene Cara. He went on to guest star in over forty television shows. Philip Michael Thomas gained international recognition in 1984 for his starring role as Ricardo Tubbs on the Emmy Awardwinning television series Miami Vice. He won the 1985 and 1986 NAACP Image Award for best performance by an actor, dramatic mini series or television movie. He is the recipient of a CEBA Award and a GOLDEN GLOBE Award. He owned and operated Spaceship Recording Studio and the Miami Way Theater in North Miami, Florida for fifteen years,where he produced musicals, puppet shows, dramatic plays, recorded albums, commercials and produced film festivals and Amateur Night. In 2001 Mr. Thomas was Artist-in-Residence at Hampton University and Sacha was produced as Hampton’s end of the year theatrical production. Mr. Thomas is the co-writer on Sacha and the Magic Cooker coloring story book and he enjoys doing charity work with organizations like The Variety Club, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, The Black Heritage Museum and M.A.A.D. “A Story about LOVE, HOPE, COURAGE, and the POWER within.” Sacha on Broadway is an original musical fairy-tale about a young woman name Sacha Goodman whose lifelong dream is to become a Broadway star. The story begins four years after the Goodman family relocated from Miami to New York City to support Sacha’s dream. Sacha has the chance of a lifetime when she auditions for the lead in a Broadway Musical but she is over powered by fear and is kicked out of the audition. Feeling crushed and devastated Sacha decides to quit and give up on her dream of becoming a Broadway Star. Sacha's mother Olive Goodman who
Continued on page 35 Onyx Magazine
EMPOWERING WOMEN TO MAKE LIFE AFFIRMING CHOICES: A PROFILE OF A CARING PREGNANCY CENTER
Here’s how you can help A Caring Pregnancy Center make a difference: Pray daily for A Caring Pregnancy Center and be sure to include the Board of Directors, the Director, the Volunteers and the Clients.
Pregnant? Scared? Confused? A Caring Pregnancy Center can help give you the power to choose!
Pray daily for the young women in our community to make wise choices.
Committed to empowering women to make life affirming choices, A Caring Pregnancy Center is a non-denominational, evangelical, Christian ministry designed to reach women and families involved in unplanned pregnancies.
Pray daily that God will make available local Christian homes to be used as maternity homes. Tell your family, friends and neighbors about A Caring Pregnancy Center.
Incorporated in 2005, the organization offers a wealth of services including pregnancy testing and counseling; education on pregnancy, abortion, adoption, parenting and abstinence; clothing for both mom and baby; referrals for medical care, social services, legal aid, adoption, and foster care; referrals for housing in maternity homes throughout Florida; post abortion counseling and education; and presentations to schools, churches and youth groups on teen pregnancy and abstinence.
Remember A Caring Pregnancy Center monthly with a financial pledge.
“We believe women are capable of making good reproductive choices when armed with the facts on all their options,” says Rose Tydus, Director of A Caring Pregnancy Center. “That’s why we are so adamant about providing all services free of charge.”
According to statistics, Miami-Dade County has the largest teenage pregnancy rate in Florida, with some women facing pregnancy at as young as 11 years of age. Moreover, approximately 91 percent of the women who have had abortions did so because they thought there was no other choice. A Caring Pregnancy Center gives women a choice. But, we need your support and contributions to continue making a difference in the lives of the families in our community,” says Cesar Sastre, President and Chairman. 26
Donate new maternity and baby clothing.
Tell your Pastor and church family about A Caring Pregnancy Center and how their involvement is vital to the future of our youth. Volunteer at the Center as a counselor, receptionist, For more information on A Caring Pregnancy Center and how you can lend your support, please call (305) 893-2944.
Black Enterprise announces its 2007 Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo Hosted by General Motors May 9th in Lake Buena Vista, FL at the Swan and Dolphin Resorts. Call (800) 209-7229 May / June
FLORIDA SCOPE Presidential Hopeful, Barack Obama, Visits Jacksonville Photos compliments of David Williams
Congresswoman Corrine Brown, Betty Burney (School Board member district 5) and Brenda A. Priestly Jackson (School Board member district 4) pose in photo with Senator Obama. More that 150 supporters attended a private fundraiser at the Avondale home of Jacksonville attorney, Steve Pajcic. The supporters were asked to contribute $1000 each or up to $2,300 the federal limit per person. Obama made a concerted effort to shack hands with everyone, took photos and signed copies of his book. The results of Senator Obama’s fundraising effort has surprised the nation. Having announced that he has raised $25 million dollars as of the first week in April, the Senator dispels the notion that Hillary Rodham Clinton will have a cake walk as the Democratic nominee for President of the United States. At this same juncture, Senator Clinton has raised $26 million. The Chicago Tribune quoted Chris Lehane, who was the spokesman for Vice President Al Gore’s campaign in 2000, as saying, “Anyone who can put together $25 million in a quarter comes off as a very serious and credible candidate.”
Isaiah Rumlin pose with Senator Obama at the private fundraiser in Jacksonville, Florida May / June
Senator Obama raised $6.9 million over the internet from over 50,000 donors. Wrote Mike Glover of the Associated Press, “If money talks in presidential politics, Sen. Barack Obama has 25 million reasons why skeptical Democrats should start to listen.” Onyx Magazine
FLORIDA SCOPE TALLAHASSEE – No one has a lot of love for the tax collector but Americans across the country should really embrace the “tax corrector!”
organizes grassroots advocacy efforts that seek to empower consumers with the ability and confidence to speak with a common voice on critical communications issues.
Dr. Vera McIntyre of Tallahassee Florida was so upset about high communications taxes in the Sunshine State she started a nationwide consumer group to fight exorbitant government tax laws.
“Florida has one of the highest wireless tax rates in the country,” said McIntyre. “Florida’s communications taxes are the third highest amongst America’s 50 states.”
The African-American family and community activist started Communications Consumers United, a not for profit consumer advocacy organization that focuses on identifying and supporting policies that ensure universal access to advanced communications products and services across the United States.
Vera McIntyre and members and supporters of Communications Consumers United are calling for passage of proposed legislation in the 2007 Florida Senate and Florida House of Representatives that would lower Florida’s communications services tax rate by 1.17% - from the current rate of 9.17% to 8%. An 8% communications tax would still be 2% higher than the state sales tax on other goods and services sold in Florida but the reduction from the high taxes now in place would save Floridians $185 million a year in tax costs.
“Communications services and the Internet are tools that can empower our communities and our families. In order to achieve and succeed in the information age we must have affordable communications services. Affordable access can be a great equalizer for economic empowerment and wealth creation.” said Ms. McIntyre. “Florida has the third highest communications taxes in the nation and Black families feel the brunt of those taxes every time they buy a cell phone, a ring tone, internet access or some other communications service.” Dr. Vera McIntyre’s organization may be relatively new but the high tax issue is not new and McIntyre’s record as a Black community activist has been established for many years. McIntyre has been fighting for Black family issues and Black community issues since the early 1970s. She has undergraduate and graduate degrees from Florida State University and a Ph.D. in Christian Counseling from The Jacksonville Theological Seminary. “Every Black Floridian that uses a cellular phone, buys a ring tone, watches HBO or other premium cable TV channels or subscribes to a satellite TV service are paying unfair and unjust communications taxes that are too costly, “ said Dr. McIntyre. “The CCU will work with other organizations to encourage Senators and State Representatives to pass legislation in the 2007 Session that will lower the state’s communication taxes and make the services more affordable.” CCU works to increase the technology absorption rate in minority, urban and rural communities and promotes the important role these technologies are playing in daily life. “African-Americans spend billions of dollars in the American economy and many of those dollars are spent on technology and communications,” explained Ms. McIntyre. “Communications services have become an indispensable part of our daily lives.” Communications Consumers United educates consumers and May / June
Tax issues are not the first issues that Dr. McIntyre has spoken out about. Efforts and activities in the community have gained McIntyre recognition and awards from organizations including the National Alliance of Business, American Business Women Association, Frontiers International, Urban League, NAACP, National Forum for Black Administrators, Florida A&M University, The Girl Scouts of America and a number of community action agencies and religious organizations. Dr. McIntyre has been a host of the TV show “NAACP Speaks” broadcasted on several channels in North Florida. She is also host and producer of her own radio and TV shows called “Straight Talk With Vera McIntyre” aired on WTAL and WSST radio stations and the FAMU-TV network. Fighting Florida’s high communications taxes are my number one priority right now,” said McIntyre. “The tax reduction bills being considered by the Florida Legislature must be passed if Florida families and individuals will see reductions in their wireless and cable TV costs. African-Americans spend billions of dollars in the American economy and many of those dollars are spent on technology and communications,” explained Dr. McIntyre. “We are being unfairly burdened with these discriminatory taxes. CCU is fighting for what is right. Working class people deserve a break. ” If you would like to assist Dr. McIntyre and the CCU in their work with Florida’s policy makers to make sure that your family and your community has affordable access to new and vital communications technology or if you wish to find out more information about Communications Consumers United, please write to Dr. Vera McIntyre, Communications Consumers United, P.O. Box 4281, Tallahassee, Florida 32301. Persons interested in supporting the CCU can also call 850-893-8677. In addition, you may visit the CCU web site at www.communicationsconsumersunited.org. Onyx Magazine
Summer Movie Highlights
By Karyn Beach If there were a magic number for this summer movie season that number would be “three”. Spiderman 3, Pirates of the Caribbean 3, Rush Hour 3, and Shriek 3, all premiere during the summer months. We’ll also see the third installment of several other successful franchises with Ocean’s 13 and The Bourne Ultimatum. While there isn’t too much originality to be found in this summer’s fare, there should be enough popcorn-munching action and gut-busting belly laughs to please the movie-going masses.
May It used to be that the end of May, Memorial Day weekend to be exact, marked the beginning of the summer movie season; but just like we start celebrating Valentine’s Day right after Christmas, the movie season now officially begins at the beginning of May and we are kicking this season off with a bang!
Spider-Man 3 May 4th Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Thomas Haden Church Spider-Man 2 was arguably one of the few sequels that was actually better than the original. So, naturally, hopes are high for this third … and possibly final installment. Spider-Man faces his toughest challenge yet as he battles super villain, The Sandman, as well as his old nemesis and former best friend Harry (also known as the New Goblin). Making matters even worse, Peter Parker’s Spider-Man suit gets infected by an alien black substance that brings out his dark side. 30
DivaSoulSista says: This could very well be the best in the series of outstanding comic book movies. I can’t wait!
Shrek the Third May 18th Mike Meyers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Justin Timberlake The gang’s back again. When Fiona’s father falls ill, he looks to Shrek and Fiona to take over as the rulers of Far, Far Away Land. The couple however, would rather be back at home in their cozy swamp. So they set out to try to find a new ruler for the kingdom while fending off Prince Charming’s efforts to seize the throne. DivaSoulSista says: Shrek might as well be written as $Shriek. Both kids and adults adore this series. I wouldn’t be surprised if a Shrek the Fourth wasn’t already in the works. 1408 May 18th Samuel L. Jackson, John
Samuel L. Jackson May / June
Cusack Based on a short story by Stephen King, 1408 is the number of a haunted hotel room. The film follows an author (Cusack) who’s made a career out of debunking haunted houses and paranormal phenomenon when he encounters the real deal. Samuel L. Jackson plays the hotel manager who knows the spooky truth. DivaSoulSista says: Stephen King adaptations run the gambit from the inspired (The Shining, Carrie, The Green Mile, Misery) to the down-right awful (Pet Sematary, The Lawnmower Man, Maximum Overdrive). With Cusack and Jackson, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this is one more of the former than the latter.
Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End May 25th Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightly Details are sketchy on the plot but anyone who saw the second installment (and just about everyone did), knows that Will, Elizabeth and Captain Jack’s former nemesis Captain Barbossa, are off to save Jack from Davy Jones and his infamous locker. DivaSoulSista says: I loved the first Pirates; the second one, not so much. I really hope this third (and final?) installment has the big pay-off that I’ve been waiting for since the end of Part 2!
Nancy Drew June 15th Emma Roberts, Rachael Leigh Cook, Tate Donovan Emma Roberts, the niece of Julia Roberts, stars as the teenage crime solver. Loosely based on the classic Nancy Drew books, the film attempts to put an updated spin on the character. In this first film (and if it’s successful, there will be others), young Nancy adjusts to moving from the Midwest to Hollywood where she stumbles across a murder mystery. DivaSoulSista says: I’ve seen the trailers and I loved the books as a girl. I think this could be the beginning of a successful new franchise. Young girls will love her.
While there is still time to shuffle some of these movies around (and I’m sure there will be some shuffling), there are no really big blockbusters opening in June. There are a few movies worth mentioning.
Ocean’s 13 June 8th George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Bernie Mac Danny Ocean and his dirty dozen return to the scene of their first impressive crime … Las Vegas. Danny joins forces with his old enemy Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) to pull off an even bigger heist on an even more dangerous casino owner (Al Pacino). DivaSoulSista says: I loved Ocean’s Eleven. It’s one of my favorite films. Moving the gang to Europe for the sequel, Ocean’s Twelve, took a lot of air out of the film’s sails. But going back to Vegas, with Al Pacino nonetheless, makes me excited about the potential for this second sequel. I think this is one sure bet.
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Berny Mac May / June
nemesis Dr. Doom and a new villain, the Silver Surfer, an alien determined to destroy the Earth. DivaSoulSista says: This one has to be better than the first one (The Fantastic Four). That movie bored me to tears! If the trailers are any indication, this will definitely be more entertaining and action-packed than its predecessor.
June 15th Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis, Andre Braugher, Chris Evans The quartet – Mr. Fantastic, The Invisible Woman, The Human Torch and The Thing – face off against their original
June 22nd Steve Carell, Morgan Freeman, Lauren Graham Steve Carell (Little Miss Sunshine, The Office) replaces Jim Carrey in this sequel to Bruce Almighty. This time around God (still played by Morgan Freeman) taps Evan, a local weatherman, to build the next Morgan Freeman ark. DivaSoulSista says: The first movie was just okay. Why they felt it needed a sequel I’ll never know. But Carell is a funny guy and a pretty good actor, so we might be in for a surprise.
Slow Burn June 22nd Taye Diggs, Mekhi Phifer, Ray Liotta, LL Cool J. The action in this crime-thriller takes place over a 24-hour period when a district attorney (Liotta) faces off against a gang leader (LL Cool J) while possibly being set-up by a female attorney in his own office. Slow Burn promises to smolder with lots of twists and turns. DivaSoulSista says: This movie was completed several years ago, played at a few festivals and is even available on DVD outside of the US. The fact that it’s getting a theatrical release now makes me wonder; but if you are a big fan of Diggs or LL, it might be worth checking out at a matinee.
MOVIE HIGHLIGHTS A Live Free or Die Hard June 29 Bruce Willis, Justin Long, Jeffrey Wright Yes, Die Hard. It’s been 12 years since the last Die Hard movie (Die Hard: with a Vengeance), this time John McClane (Willis) confronts an Internet terrorist group intent on destroying the U.S. by infiltrating our computer systems. Of course, it’s going to take some ‘old school’ and decidedly ‘low-tech’ police tactics to bring them down and McClane’s just the man to do it. DivaSoulSista says: Maybe it’s just time for Die Hard to just die. Having said that, Willis is entertaining in this role and this could be a good popcorn flick. Yippee-ki-yay!
July July starts with the biggest weekend of the summer and the month keeps getting hotter with several big releases on tap.
Transformers July 4th Tyrese Gibson, Josh Duhamel, Rachael Taylor, Jon Voight The successful cartoon and toy line from the 80’s has finally made its way to the big screen as a live-action feature film. For those of you who didn’t watch the Transformers religiously after school, the story is simple. Alien robots are fighting for the Earth’s resources. The Autobots are the good robots and the Desepticons are the bad ones. Expect lots of special effects and action. DivaSoulSista says: The built-in fanbase for a Transformers film is huge. If you are a thirtysomething with fond memories of the show, I’m sure you’ll be one of the first in line!
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
July 13 Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter This is the one where Harry starts to grow up or so I’m told. Harry finds himself an outcast when his warnings about Voldemort's return are ignored. Making matters worse, there’s a new witch in charge at Hogwarts who’s brewing up a caldron full of trouble. DivaSoulSista says: The buzz on this sequel has been good and it shouldn’t be surprising if this Phoenix rises to new heights. The promise of action and more mature themes could bring a new audience to the series that already has a rabidly devoted following.
The Simpsons Movie July 27th Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith It’s been a long time coming. There’s been talk of a Simpson’s movie for over 10 years and it’s finally here. So what’s it about? Who knows! Producer James L. Brooks has said they’ve intentionally floated some fake plots and loglines just to throw people off track. However, expect most of Springfield to make at least a fleeting appearance. DivaSoulSista says: I’m keeping my fingers crossed for this one. As a fan of the show, I really hope they make the most of this film opportunity and that they take a few chances. If not, this could end up being just a really long episode. D’oh!
August Jeffrey Wright 32
The dog days of summer usually provide a few dogs movie-wise too. It seems as if the best of the summer comes before now: However, there are a few good flicks you might be interested in as summer begins to come to a close. May / June
AND POPCORN The Bourne Ultimatum August 3 Matt Damon, Joan Allen, Julia Stiles Jason Bourne is still suffering from amnesia and still being targeted by Treadstone – the same CIA faction that trained him to be an assassin. This time around Bourne, with the help of a reporter, is determined to find out who he is. Of course, the few remaining Treadstone operatives won’t make that easy. DivaSoulSista says: The Bourne franchise is one of the most entertaining franchises of the new millennium. Great action, even better chases and enough twists and turns to keep it interesting.
Rush Hour 3 August 10 Chris Tucker, Jackie Chan Since he’s started making Rush Hour movies, Chris Tucker hasn’t made anything else. Seriously, after Rush Hour, he did Rush Hour 2, took a long break and now is doing Rush Hour 3. This time our dynamic duo ends up in Paris where they get mixed up with the dangerous Chinese Triad gang. DivaSoulSista says: The first two Rush Hours combined raked in over $350 million domestically with the second installment out performing the first. Movies like this are critic-proof. Fans of Tucker, Chan and the first two movies will probably love this one too.
The Invasion August 17 Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Jeffrey Wright This film is based on the novel that gave us the horror classic, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. A Washington D.C. psychiatrist discovers that a world-wide epidemic is alien in origin. When her son contracts the disease, she must work to save him … and the world. DivaSoulSista says: Rumor has it that a lot of re-shooting occurred after test audiences panned the movie. Interestingly enough, the film began as a remake of the Invasion of the Body Snatchers but it’s changed so drastically that it’s no longer considered a remake. *Please keep in mind that release dates are subject to change.
Karyn L. Beach is the editor and principal writer of DivaSoulSista.com – a web site devoted to movie reviews and movie news with an African-American spin.
Reps. Kendrick Meek and Carrie Meek Visit Ghana to Mark Nation's Golden Jubilee Washington, DC - Congressman Kendrick B. Meek and retired Congresswoman Carrie P. Meek traveled to Africa in early March as members of the official U.S. Congressional Delegation to commemorate Ghana's fiftieth anniversary of its independence. A major departure point for slaves to the western hemisphere, Ghana was the first African nation to obtain its independence from colonial rule on March 6, 1957. The West African nation was formerly a British colony. The delegation, comprised of Congressional Black Caucus members, visited the W.E.B. DuBois Center for Artists Alliance Gallery and the Ghanaian parliament; attended a formal parade and ceremony in Independence Square located in Accra, Ghana's capital; and participated in a formal banquet hosted by Ghana's President John Kufuor. Prior to the formal state events, the U.S. Congressional Delegation visited Elmina Castle and Cape Coast Castle, two former slave forts along Ghana's coast. "Walking through the castles' dungeons and the infamous Door of No Return was a sobering experience. At these sites, indignity, suffering and man's inhumanity toward his fellow man was the norm, as innocent people were shackled, separated from their families, and forcibly sent to the United States by ship to work as slaves. For many of us in the black
CAPTION: Members of the Official U.S. Delegation gathered in Ghana's parliament. (Front row, from left to right) Reps. Kendrick B. Meek (D-FL) and Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI). (Back row, from left to right) Reps. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (DOH), Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Danny Davis (D-IL) and Gregory Meeks (D-NY). 34
community, we can trace our ancestry to this region of Africa, and to this chapter in human history," said Congressman Kendrick B. Meek. Retired Congresswoman Carrie P. Meek, the granddaughter of a slave and daughter of a sharecropper, added: "The sadness I felt walking around these slave dungeons, knowing that this was a place marked by extreme brutality, was mixed with feelings of faith and pride in the strength of our community to overcome hardship, persevere, and achieve our own American dream." In Ghana marking the occasion was Kofi Annan, a native Ghanaian and the retired United Nations Secretary General, President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, and RainbowPUSH Coalition President Rev. Jesse Jackson, along with international dignitaries and world leaders. Congressman Kendrick B. Meek, the lone Floridian on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, and a Member of the House Armed Services Committee, represents the 17th Congressional District of Florida, which includes parts of Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.
CAPTION: Congressman Kendrick B. Meek and Congresswoman Carrie P. Meek standing outside a female slave dungeon in Ghana's Cape Coast Castle. May / June
Continued from page 25
Michael Chenevert (RAY THE CAT), Chanel Mobley (dancer), Mederith Shank, (dancer), Zemmah Jones & Tirrell Anthony, 2005
TRENT ROBERTS (Harriet the Horrible Owl CASTING HTE SPELL OF IMPOSSIBLE on ARON AND ANTWON SMALLWOOD
Chloe Davis (dancing the ballet for Luna/Micaela at the Armstrong Theater, Hampton, Virginia.
has lived with regret for twenty- five years because she gave up on her dream of becoming a prima ballerina is determined to stop her daughter from continuing on with generation curses and the cycle of broken dreams. One moonlit night Sacha falls asleep and in her dream she meets her Magic Godmother who tells her that in order to become a Broadway Star, she has to face her fears and find the Bridge to Forever. (That dream turns into a living nightmare and Sachaâ€™s own demons of fear come alive). Sacha faces Harriet the horrible Owl/EGO who believes that dreams are for people who sleep. She has cast the Evil Spell of Impossible on all the people in the Forest of Imagination including King Akaash forbidding him to ever find true love. Sacha also meets Samantha the unscrupulous Snake and Dolly the insensitive Duck. They all try to stop Sacha from fulfilling her dream. Through an act of great kindness and unusual courage, Sacha faces her demons and fears when she overcomes self-doubt by breaking the Evil Spell of Impossible. Sacha wakes up from this awful nightmare and realizes that she has the power within to fulfill her dream. She follows her heart and finally becomes a Broadway Star. A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF SACHA ON BROADWAY. The play Sacha and the Magic Cookie Maker opened at the Fort Lauderdale Children's Theater January 12th, 2001 then went on to opened at Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia October 2001. In 2002 Sacha opened at Florida International University. The following year Sacha opened at the Hollywood Playhouse Hollywood, Florida. In February 2004 ten songs from Sacha was performed at Ocean Reef Cultural Arts Center, Ocean Reef, Florida as a Musical Review. In January 2005 Sacha also opened as a Musical Review at the Hollywood Central Performing Arts Center in Hollywood, Florida and three months later at the Byron Carlyle Theater Miami Beach, Florida. The play was further developed and the story line and title was changed from Sacha and the Magic Cookie Maker to Sacha on Broadway. The landmark production of Sacha on Broadway directed by Sandi Morais opened at the Theater of the Riverside Church in New York City September 23, 2005. Sacha On Broadway is an Enchanting Musical Love Story for the whole family. It sends a positive message to people of all ages. "When you dare to dream and pursue your dreams with passion ... all things are possible." Reviews: FROM THE MUSICAL REVIEW at Hollywood Central Performing Arts Center, Hollywood, Florida (January 8th & 9th 2005) "The road to success is not easy" "Everything happens in its own time." "Pursue your dreams with a passion" "Change has to come from you." These are just a small sampling of the powerful statements that resonated in "Sacha". As a nationally, internationally, and locally renown private educator who has worked in the Florida community for the past 30 years in teaching frustrated children to learn to read, this play is one of the most empowering literary pieces I have seen in decades. We need to encourage and empower our youth, and this play is a must for every child and adolescent. --Dr. Deborah Levy, Psychologist, North Miami Beach "How refreshing it was to see "Sacha" a show that is so uplifting and inspiring. The music is beautiful, the energy level is very high, but most important, and the message is one that can affect people's lives. We need more messages like this one that carry hope in the way "Sacha" does. I encourage people to bring their families and friends to see "Sacha." --TV host Meredith Porte - WLRN Art Street. "Sacha" is a most enjoyable presentation." The Legend - Horace Forbes -WAVS Radio host "I enjoyed "Sacha" immensely and my mom did too. The singing was superb." Susan Brandon - Kendall, Florida "Sacha" was wonderful! Loved the music, story and talent." Leslie Llowenthal - Aventura Charter Elementary School. Sacha on Broadway will open at Jones High Schoolâ€™s auditorium June 1, 2007. People's Theatre, Inc. is partnering with Sandi Morais and Philip Michael Thomas as a community liaison. Philip and Sandi were patrons to a People's Theatre's Production of Purlie Victorious in 2002 and the Executive Director, Canara Price, has stayed in touch ever since. "We are excited to be a part of this venture," Price says. "I am sure this community will embrace Sacha on Broadway, knowing how Orlando appreciates quality multicultural theatre. The possibility of Sacha On Broadway touring across country also opens the door for many of our talented community actors to broaden their theatrical platform. You will be greeted with smiles at the doors of this production by the People's Theatre Guild, who will also coordinate ticket sales, concessions, and merchandise for Sacha On Broadway. Tickets can be purchased online at www.peoplestheatre.org
Dr. Robyn Elliott (Daytona) accepting the award in the category of Education
Conrad Lewis & Company, Jacksonville,
GUESTS: Rose Wilson, Daughter & Father, Judge Decatur, and Rep. Geraldine Thompson, Commissioner and Mildred Fernandez who were presenters
Excellence in Music:
Scenes from the 2007 Statewide Onyx Awards
Eric Darius, Tampa
Guests at General Reception
Guests Entering Banquet Room
Mark Russell, Managing Editor, Orlando Sentinel; Rita Perry, Jacksonville Free Press, winner in Communications; Patricia James, Radio Personality, WLOQ 103.1
Shayla Wilson, center, receives $5000 scholarship. Far right, Lillian Seays, far right, Lester Seays, in background Quadir Daniels
Candice Goodwin, Brittiana Daniels, Alexis Davis, Jordan Taylor, Tina
Foundation donates $25,000 to Sickle Cell
Walter Rutledge, ,
Jeff Robinson and Guest
Lavetta Pickens Carolyn Byble
Shayla Wilson, Wilson, Scholarship Scholarship Recipient Recipient & & Shayla Her Mother, Mother, Catherine Catherine Wilson Wilson Her
Harris Rosen Rosen Harris Rosen Hotels Hotels Rosen
Alvin Cowans Cowans
Joseph Cleveland Cleveland Joseph Lockheed Martin Martin Lockheed
DeWayne Jones Jones DeWayne Onyx Intern Intern Onyx
& Robert Decatur
Anne & & Talbert Talbert Gray Gray Anne Charlotte, NC NC Charlotte,
HONOREES Lto R: Dean Oâ€™Brien, Daytona; John Demps, Jacksonville; Darryl Owens, Orlando; Marva Hawkins, Sanford; Keisha Harris, Ft. Lauderdale; Charles Martin, Miami; Glenn Ball, Orlando; Dr. Clara Walters, Orlando; Dr. Doreatha Fields, Palm Bay; LaRue Steward Howard, Orlando Conrad Lewis, Jacksonville; Darryl Barrs, Daytona; Vera Cruse, Jacksonville
The 20th Bi- Annual Bobby Jones International Gospel Industry Retreat will present dance, and the art of making dances, Sunday May 27th through Tuesday May 29th at the Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa in Hollywood, Florida. This three-day event will include instruction in dance technique, praise dance, dance/ theatre performance, dance ministry and a culminating dance and theatre performance. It will also be the official debut of Genesis the newly formed dance company. “The dance company was an evolution,” says founder Walter Rutledge. “It was not planned, but because of the fellowship and camaraderie we established during the 19th bi- annual retreat in December 2006 the formation of a dance company, Genesis, was inevitable.” It was during the 19th bi annual retreat that the dance and theatre components were introduced. The dancers performed Motherless Child an excerpt from Echoes choreographed by Walter Rutledge, featuring a musical arrangement by Dwight Woods. The cast included fourteen dancers and guest artist, actor Merdean Gales. Ms. Gales is best known as the co- host for the Bobby Jones Gospel Hour. The work and classes were designed to accommodate anyone who expressed an interest in dance. “Early in my career Alvin Ailey (famed international choreographer) told me he originally designed his school to offer dance training to everyone with a desire to dance”. Mr. Ailey said, “Everyone should be given a chance to express their creativity through movement regardless of professional aspirations”. “It was with this philosophy that we approached the retreat,” explains Rutledge. Classes during the present retreat will continue to follow that credo and will be open to everyone regardless of prior training, physical disability, or age. Mr. Rutledge began his dance training at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. He made his choreographic debut at age fifteen while a student at the Harkness House for Ballet Arts. As a performer he danced with both the Harkness Youth Dancer and the Harkness Ballet of New York. Upon graduation from Temple University with a Bachelors degree in Fines Arts- Dance, he became associate artistic director and choreographer in residence of the Nanette Bearden Contemporary Dance Theatre. During his tenure with the Bearden Company Mr. Rutledge began to cultivate his skills as a director and producer. He has collaborated with such notables as jazz greats Dizzy Gillespie, Kenny Burrell, and Andy Kirk, gospel legends Tramaine Hawkins, Dr. Bobby Jones, Donald Lawrence, Ricky Dillard and Daryl Coley, international icons Diana Ross, Eartha Kitt, Michael Jackson and Roberta Flack and renowned collage artist Romare Bearden. Most recently Mr. Rutledge was cast as an actor in I Am Legend starring Will Smith. Motherless Child will be reprised for an encore performance at the retreat. Both former dancers and new performers are welcome to participate in the project. “We want Genesis to keep evolving, to service the needs of the participants” added Rutledge. In addition to Motherless Child, Mbalia Cook will present a new praise dance work Rejoice set to the music of Mary Mary. Ms. Cook will have the task of casting and choreographing this work in a three- day period. This is a daunting task for a choreographer with a professional full time company. Mbalia has been dancing since she was two years old. Her mother was a dancer/ teacher and her father was a percussionist, which meant art was a mainstay in her home. At age 12 she has began studying and performing with numerous professionals throughout the Washington D.C. area. These included; Carol Foster of the DC Youth Ensemble, Choreographer Adrian Bolton, Raquis Petree Musical Theatre Productions and Mike Malone Street Theatre. Mbalia is a graduate of Duke Ellington School of the Arts Dance Dept and studied at The University of the District of Columbia Dance Dept. Ms Cook has performed with such luminaries as, Jennifer Holiday, Malcolm Jamal Warner and Debbie Allen. “My life was enlightened by the presence of God and was changed forever,” affirms Ms. Cook. Her passion and commitment to dance, as a religious art form, is evident in her approach and philosophy to both choreography and dance. She was the Director and Founder of the Redemption Dance Ministry for 6 yrs; and presently is the Director and Creator of the Youth Investment Ministry of the Arts, Inc. (YIMA) Dance program. Ms Cook is a new member of the Liturgical Dance Network/ DC,MD,VA Chapter and recently has joined the fitness industry as a Fitness Specialist. Ms. Cook differentiates herself from most praise dance choreographers with her strong background in formal dance training. “I believe you can study dance and still serve the Lord,” says Cook. “A lot of my colleagues believe you can’t be a professionally trained dancer and still be anointed. Training only makes your message stronger.” In addition to dance technique, Mbalia will offer a discussion on the call to Dance Ministry entitled What Is Our Purpose, Dancers or Ministers? The 20th Bi- Annual Bobby Jones International Gospel Industry Retreat promises to offer performing artists of faith an environment to perfect their craft. For more information about how you can be a part of the dance and theater classes contact Ms. Danyelle Haley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615.750.3426. May / June Onyx Magazine 39
Dance Takes A Giant Leap At Gospel Retreat
By Walter Rutledge
The Kenard Lang Foundation Has Fund Raiser to Benefit Scholarship
Joe Caldwell, Lester Seays, Kenard Lane, Donald Hurtz, Brian Seays, Bill Smith
The Orlando Chapter of Jack and Jill of America Celebrates 50 Years (Gala Scenes Below)
Jeanelle Walden, Kitty Ellison and William Ellison Admiral David L. Brewer (L), keynote speaker at the Jack and Jill gala, accepts key to the City (Orlando) from Reginald McGill, Director of Constituent Services
Gena Ashe (second), looks on as Adelle Baker makes presentation: â€œThe Orlando History of Jack and Jill of America.â€? Lillian Seays, co-author extreme left; Valada Flewellyn, co-author, extreme right.
Eddye K. & Royce Walden, Dr. Lance McCarthy, CEO Metro Orlando Urban League; Jeannell Walden; Gloria Grant
Lonnie and Alma Brown
Rita and Christopher McCray
Dr. Janice Choice
Gentry Akens, Melva Akens, Rep. Geraldine Thompson and Clarence Otis Judge Emerson Thompson
Brittiana Daniels, Judge Emerson Thompson, Cheryll Daniels
May / June
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By Cathy Howse Cathy Howse is a Black hair care expert and the founder of Ultra Black Hair Products/UBH Publications Inc., a 17-year old company that teaches the truth about Black hair care and growth. Her book, Ultra Black Hair Growth II, is classified as the only proven black hair growth system in the world. Notoriety for her method has been included in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who of American Women, and Who’s Who in the World. Visit her website at www.ultrablackhair.com or send your hair care questions to her via email at email@example.com., 2007 42
I have finished reading your book, and I found it to be quite informative. I usually wrap my hair at night and tie it down with a head tie. I was wondering if there are any special materials/cloths that should be used to tie my head at night, and if there is, does it ruin the circulation of the blood flow in our head? Or should we be tying our heads at all?? Tying your hair is a good thing as it keeps your hair from matting. There is no special material such as silk etc. that is required, just any type of bonnet or scarf on your head/hair will work just fine. No it does not affect the circulation in your head. If you are tying your hair that tight, you would be experiencing headaches. If that is the case, use a bonnet that has elastic in it and if that continues to slip off your head, put hair pins or clips on to keep it from sliding off. I'm looking for advice on coming out of a cold wave perm product. My first choice would be to go to a press and curl than a perm if I had to. Any suggestions on how to keep the dryness and breakage down would be GREATLY appreciated. I've grown my hair out for the last 4 yrs and it is rather long. I would really like to keep the length? To press your hair now would be a big mistake. If you want to keep it you will need to flat iron it with a plug in iron. Never use irons from the stove as they will destroy hair that is chemically processed. Please read my book Thinning Edges A Chemical Reaction to understand how to prevent your hair from drying out too much during your transition. I have been texturizing my hair for several years but now I am considering going back to a relaxer. How soon after texturizing can I relax my hair? Texturizers and relaxers do not mix. They are two different chemicals. Putting one chemical over the other will cause major hair loss. Cut the texturizer off or wait about a year until you have about 6 inches of hair then relax (you will still have to cut off the texturizer if it is still on your hair.) I made the mistake of washing my hair before relaxing it, and as a result I burned my scalp really bad. What can I do at home that will help repair my scalp?? The only thing you can do is put Neosporin on the sores so they heal quicker. And NEVER do that again!
May / June