Volume 5, No. 28 SmithPublish.com
National Military Appreciation Month
Inside What’s Happening Around Town…. 2 Government/Business ………...........3 School /Sports….……………….…. .6 Asts/Entertainment…….……….…..7 D’ondrae Landers Interview………10 Church & Inspiration……..…..…..15 Tony Bradford’s Corner..… . ….…16 Food/Restaurant………..…………17 Back in the Day – Minnie Riperton . 19 Health & Beauty…………………..26 T.D. Jakes Interview………………27 Calendar of Events…………....…..31 How to Reach Us (888) 841-7779 Email: Lacnews@yahoo.com Submit your upcoming events and information FREE!
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Judge Mablean Ephriam Honoring Unsung Fathers For 9th Annual Father’s Day Awards The H.U.F. (Honoring Unsung Fathers) Awards & Scholarship Brunch is a special Father‘s Day event, created and hosted by Judge Mablean Ephriam. What started as an annual Mother‘s Day Vs Father‘s Day, later on transcending into an intimate jazz brunch for fathers only hosted by Judge Mablean at her home, has now become a ‗must attend‘ affair. Gaining notoriety, the H.U.F. Awards has been a sellout with exponential growth each year. Presiding over [real] divorce cases on Fox TV Divorce Court, Judge Mablean had seen and heard it all. Issues surrounding family, especially the presence of a strong, loving and hard working father is very dear to her. She strongly believes that the positive interaction between a supportive and caring father and his child(ren), nurtures the inner spirit, and paves the way toward healthy adulthood and society. The undertaking of the awards is to identify and recognize fathers who play a vital role in the development of their children‘s lives with the intentions of reaching out to families and communities to perpetuate good quality and responsible attributes of African American and Latino/Hispanic fathers; to encourage and promote positive fathers by spotlighting fathers who accept their role and responsibility, and does it well. For more information and tickets, visit http://www.hufawards.com.
Carson Resident is April Recipient of ABC7’s Jefferson Award The Jefferson Award honors those extraordinary people in our community who volunteer and tirelessly donate their time to help others. This month's winner is Rube Smith, a man who has stepped in to help when his neighbors need him. He is a father figure to many in his Carson community. "He sheds light on this community every day. He is our sunshine," said Randi Banks, who studies the Bible with Smith. READ MORE
Lucy Florence Cultural Center has a NEW LOCATION!
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Don‘t count the Harris brother‘s out yet…..After the dispute and closure at Leimert Park, Lucy Florence Cultural Center has opened its doors at a new location. Visit them at 5671 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90019. Lucy Florence Our Partners Owners and twin http://www.LWSpecialEvents.com brothers Ron and Richard Harris are long-time supporters of culture, performing and visual arts. Perhaps most popularly known as the A-Swirl Twins on Tyra Banks' America's Next Top Model, the brothers have made an indelible mark in the worlds of fashion, entertainment and the arts. The Harris brothers are philanthropists, dancers, teachers, coaches and nation builders. As an institution, Lucy Florence Cultural Center is a safe and sacred space to test creative expression while surrounded by a supportive and guiding energy that flows throughout the building. Learn more at http://lucyflorencecc.squarespace.com
Feinstein urges state Democrats to focus on reelecting Obama California's senior U.S. senator does not make her appearance at the state Democratic Party convention an early reelection kickoff. Instead, she blasts the 'radical' GOP agenda in Washington.
By Maeve Reston, Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Sacramentoâ€” Charging that Republicans have tried to systematically dismantle the American dream, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein urged state Democrats to challenge the "radical" GOP agenda in Washington and turn their energies to reelecting President Obama. California's senior senator did not mention her own 2012 bid for a fourth full term as she spoke at the state Democratic Party convention. Instead, she flayed at the House Republican majority, which she said is "more radical, more hostile to working people, more determined to undermine a Democratic president than the [Newt] Gingrich Congress in 1995." She said "tea party" representatives have no plans for job creation or economic recovery, but only "a radical, ideological agenda to dismantle the social and economic safety net of our country." READ MORE
3 Democrats stand out in race to replace Jane Harman L.A. Councilwoman Janice Hahn, Secretary of State Debra Bowen and antiwar activist Marcy Winograd are among 16 candidates who will vie for the congressional seat in a May 17 special election.
Derrick Barnes “We Could Be Brothers” Book Resonates With Teachers & Students Dear Derrick, I picked up your book “We Could Be Brothers” at ALAN, Orlando Fl. I could never have imagined how much of an investment I had made. I am a high school reading teacher. I have a black male student in my class who is really in need of a relatable book at this time of his life. I told him that you wrote this book especially for the black male. For the year that I have known him, I don’t remember him being this focused on any written materiel or any book in my classroom and I have a lot of great books. Thank you so very much for taking the time to write this book, I think many lives, more than you know, will be changed from the investment you have made in their lives. Carol Monroe Cypress Creek High School Reading Teacher
“ We Could Be Brothers by Derrick Barnes is that rare coming-of-age story that not only takes readers on a journey of self-discovery, but it also inspires you beyond the pages of this book to talk with and listen to characters like Pacino and Robeson. These are young males we all know, mentor, love, and raise, but who we often do not see or hear. Barnes, a very gifted writer, masterfully mixes the themes of class, internalized racism, and the myths and meanings of manhood. You want solutions to the many crises affecting young Black males? Then read this book. Now!” -Kevin Powell-Activist, public speaker, author, editor of The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life Learn more or purchase the book at http://www.derrickbarnes.com/derrick_barnes.html
USTA Women's $50,000 Challenger Presented by Farmers Classic Home Depot Center May. 22, 2011 - May. 29, 2011 (Matches start daily at 10am) Qualifying: May 22-23-24 Main Draw: May 24-May 29 Come out and watch the tennis stars of tomorrow compete May 22-29th at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. This is the only Women's $50,000 event in Southern California and unlike any other $50,000 event in the world it is free to attend. Last year's champion CoCo Vandeweghe moved into the top 100 on the WTA Pro Tour in 2010. Come watch who will be the next break out star. Players such as Maria Sharipova and Caroline Wozniacki started their careers by winning USTA Pro Circuits events. Don't miss the action. For tickets and more information, visit http://www.homedepotcenter.com/contentright.php?page=festival_detail&festival_id=10 5
The Jazz Bakery "Moveable Feast" Presents the Colin Vallon Trio May 22nd, 7pm Keyboard Concepts Recital Studio The Colin Vallon Trio brings fresh energy and new ideas to the piano trio tradition. Gifted leader Vallon is influenced, he says, more by singers than pianists, and the group ‗sings‘ in its own unique way – with an emphasis on melody, texture, shading and dynamics. Restraint is a watchword: demonstrative, soloistic flights are avoided. This is group music that builds tension by holding back, until eruptive energies can no longer be resisted. Pianist Colin Vallon (born in Lausanne in 1980) has led his own trio since 1999, inviting bassist Patrice Moret (born in Aigle in 1972) and Samuel Rohrer (born in Bern in 1977) to join in 2004. All three musicians are strong writers as well as original and subtle players, and the development of the musical language of the trio is a special priority. As individual players, their range is wide. Rohrer has drummed for free jazz titan Charles Gayle and, at the other sonic extreme, accompanied Susanne Abbuehl‘s sung poetry. He also leads his own group Tree (with Claudio Puntin and Peter Herbert) and continues to work with the Wolfert Brederode Quartet. Patrice Moret, a bassist who combines the gravitas associated with the instrument with plenty of drive, has played with Uri Caine, Ellery Eskelin, Matthieu Michel and others. As piano soloist, Colin Vallon has won numerous prizes. He plays in the world/folk-aligned quartet of singer Elina Duni (as does Moret). In diverse projects, Vallon has encountered Kenny Wheeler, Tom Harrell and Kurt Rosenwinkel, amongst many others. Learn more about The Jazz Bakery and for tickets, visit http://www.jazzbakery.com/
'Hip-Hop: A Cultural Odyssey' reveals a musical revolution Hip-hop now has a historical tome as bold and colorful as the larger-than-life people who built its history. Long before Jay-Z, Kanye West, Eminem or Lil Wayne ruled the billion-dollar-ayear industry, the path was paved by DJ Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, Grandwizard Theodore, LA Sunshine and Kurtis Blow. Hip-Hop: A Cultural Odyssey is a luxury, large-format book from ARIA Multimedia that traces the genesis, evolution and global influence of hip-hop culture since its humble beginnings in the New York City streets. Given hip-hop's influential 37-year history, "it needed to be celebrated in a size and scope that would be as impactful as the culture itself," says editor in chief Jordan Sommers. The 420-page, 16-pound opus is stuffed with hundreds of rare photos and 70 essays that cover 30 aspects of the culture and profile 40 icons, from Blow to Nicki Minaj, who "changed the game." There are also more than 150 first-person accounts by participants in the movement. "It was very important to us that this story wasn't told by outsiders, but by the people themselves," Sommers says. "The writers that we hired were, if not right smack in the middle of things from day one, people who had 15 to 20 years as documenters of hip-hop culture.". To learn more or order the book, CLICK HERE
SPMG Media Talks Exclusively to of
D’ondrae Allen Landers, CEO of Bay Entertainment Events, and host of the ever popular Hitmaker’s 1st Fridays and Hitmaker’s Gospel Brunch took time out to talk with us about his life, his projects and being successful in business.
Thanks for taking the time to speak with SPMG Media
You’re quite an entrepreneur! Tell us about you as a child. Where did you grow up? What was it like? I never got into too much trouble by a child’s standard. I’m not saying I didn’t get in trouble, just no more than you’d expect from a child of a particular age. I had a terrible temper when provoked though. I still have it but joining martial arts in the 5th grade taught me to control it. Now I can’t be angered. I grew up in Vallejo California, in the bay area. Everyone pretty much middle class. That’s what I like about the bay area. It wasn’t nearly as segregated by financial status as Los Angeles.
Who wielded the most influence on you as you were growing up? My mother taught me how to distinguish what’s important and what isn’t. She was a single parent working all day every day but she always managed to be there when it counted most. That usually meant when I started to go astray. Trust me, she had ways of getting a brother back on track. In this case my Mother was the disciplinary and my Father was the one that supported whatever I did. Though he wasn’t in the home he was accessible. That combination worked for me.
“…Don’t always feel you need to do things a certain way just because it’s the way it’s done. Always have your own vision.” – Uncle Ray
What did you want to be when you grew up? I didn’t necessarily want to be anything because I was having too much fun being a kid. I did want to be like my Uncle Ray, my Mother’s youngest brother. He was into martial arts and always calm and collective. He was known as “the guy who jogs around town backwards”. That made him popular. One day I asked him why he did that and he said “You’d be surprised how different the world is if you just look at it from a different angle. Sometimes the smallest adjustments can allow you to see the whole world in a different way, don’t always feel you need to do things a certain way just because it’s the way it’s done. Always have your own vision.” He passed away years ago but I’ll always remember the things he taught me.
Tell us about your family – brothers, sisters? I have two older sisters whom I love very much however I have always been close to my youngest sister because we’re only 18mos apart. It’s through her that I learned you don’t always have to like someone you love. In high school there would be days when we would argue before leaving to school and wouldn’t speak all day. I wasn’t old enough to work yet but she worked at McDonald’s. I remember no matter how much we fought she did her best to see to it that I had something for lunch whether she gave me money or food from her job. Sometimes we would even argue in front of her friends but I knew I was her priority.
How did you evolve into the businessman you are today? I have no idea, it just happened. I’ve always held jobs but I was never without a second income. Over time those second incomes outgrew the job’s income. Even when I did have a 9-5 things seemed to work better when I was in charge. I always got promoted quickly or gained management’s trust and respect. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been fired and laid off my share of times also. Once my son was born things changed. You’d be surprised what you manage to do when that child support hit you. Ultimately I spent a stint of my life as a single parent also. It’s an entirely different world.
You founded Hitmakers - First Friday’s– tell us how it started and your vision for it. I started Hitmakers for several reasons all wrapped together to reach one goal. The first thought to create Hitmakers came from going to different similar shows around town and thinking to myself “I can do it better”. I figured a good show isn’t hard to create. I wanted to create a good experience. So I thought about all the things I didn’t like about other local events as a consumer and decided to eliminate them from my event. For the most part it meant creating an event that was more about the people versus the money. Acquire top talent, charge a reasonable price, keep it family friendly, offer a great menu and bring in the right personalities to help me manage it. A major reason I followed through with it is a pet peeve’ I have about big concerts coming into different many times low income neighborhoods and making millions of dollars and when the show is gone that very neighborhood that spent what’s nearly it’s last dollars to support the event has nothing to show for it. I believe if you’re going to make a killing off the neighborhood put something back into it without all the ‘red tape’. My vision for Hitmakers is for it to inspire other show producers and promoters to find ways to entertain and serve the community at the same time.
What has been the response to Hitmakers First Friday’s? The response has been incredible. I had no idea it would grow to what it has and for it to come to mean so much to so many. I’ve had so many people tell me how much they look forward to it every month. The most exciting part is that every month we get people from as far away as the Bay Area, Phoenix, San Diego, Las Vegas, Fresno, Bakersfield and Santa Barbara who come as a group to get away from the stress of life if just for one night. The most humbling part is when one of our guests think highly enough about the event as to make the effort to introduce their family and friends to me. The most gratifying factor is although they’re working; whenever I look at my Hitmaker’s teammates they’re always having fun.
You’ve also been involved in business management with some very profitable businesses. Can you share some of your insights on running a successful business? My number one philosophy to running a successful business is if you do nothing else - master the art of relationship building. Being good at running a business is one thing, doing good business is another. When you’re doing good business your customers will talk more about you then they will about your business. We all have friends that become customers - that’s easy. If you want to be successful get your customers to become friends.
What advice would you give others who want to go into business for themselves? It’s ok to try different businesses to get into. Second, when something doesn’t work it doesn’t mean it can’t work. Sometimes it’s all about how you execute it. Also, just because you don’t like being on a 9-5 job doesn’t mean you’re fit to be an entrepreneur. In many cases liking your job means adjusting yourself and if you can’t do that then you’re nowhere near ready for the adjustments you’re going to have to make working for yourself. On a 9 to 5 your attitude can cost you your job but when you’re working for yourself it can cost you your family and livelihood. Make sure you take interest in your adjustments now so they’re easier later. Lastly, being tired of your job isn’t the time to leave. The time to leave is when your job is in your way. Be interested in the business, not the money.
You operate your business in a very professional way. I remember you posted your “To Do” list as a picture on FB and shared your philosophy for business follow up (I got extremely convicted!!!) Anyway, share with us that philosophy. Giving you a “Soap Box” moment here. Oh that. I got a lot of responses after I posted it. There were actually several messages hidden in that action. One was that since everyone says they’re busy no one takes the term seriously. So if you want someone to understand where you’re coming from sometimes you have to share and let them in. This can be applied in different facets of life. This is a way of “training” people how to work with you. Another message is that most people think that writing things down is only good to help to remember to get things done. But it serves even better in time management. Looking at your to-do list allows you to look at your day from the outside looking in. This way you get a realistic view and subconsciously start to “Organize, Prioritize and Realize.” Organize: design a plan of execution of each task. Prioritize: determine which tasks are more pressing regarding due time. Realize: if you do the first two you’ll come to realize contrary to what people think, there is plenty of time in a day. How you manage that time will determine your effectiveness and your stress level.
You’re a sexy, single young man out there making it happen! Do you have marriage and family in your future plans? I definitely would like that and if I had my way I would’ve been married long ago. I do desire that companionship. Unfortunately I’m still developing plans to have a future at all, then I’ll work on future plans. I guess all the attractive women working around me isn’t helping the situation though. Gotta work on that!
What more can we expect from you in the coming years? I would prefer that you expect more from the people and businesses that I touch. Their success, happiness and peace of mind is how I justify being here.
What do you love about your life? My life actually feels like it’s mine. I think life has treated me fairly. Though I’ve never made a lot of money, I’ve gotten much more than I’ve ever wanted. I’ll take being surrounded by great people over being surrounded by money any day.
Lastly, what do you know for sure? I know for sure that my blessings aren’t my own. For more information on Bay Entertainment Events and D’ondrae Allen Landers, visit http://bayentertainmentevents.com/
Gospel Showcase at Knotts Berry Farm …Happening Saturday, May 21st CLICK HERE for Video Promo The 2011 Gospel Showcase will pack two stages at Knott's Berry Farm with powerhouse gospel performers from the playlist of “Spread the Word” (broadcast every Sunday noon – 6 p.m.) on KJLH. Featuring Karen Clark-Sheard scheduled performers at the showcase include Shekinah Glory Ministry, Pastor Norman Hutchins, Beverly Crawford and more. While you are here enjoying a full day of family fun at the amazing Gospel Showcase, be sure not to miss all that Knott's has to offer like a high thrills ride on Silver Bullet sm or Xcelerator, stroll through the Park’s Old West Ghost Town® or hang with the Peanuts Gang in Camp Snoopy! Make it a day of great savings when you download a coupon for our Joe Cool BBQ which includes an all-you-can eat meal of hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken and more! Admission is $33.99 (ages 12+) and $22.99 (ages 3-11 and 62+). Special discount offer available online only, download your special discount coupon now. Event includes a full day of theme park fun and entertainment.
Inspiration for Today… Iyanla Vanzant A mistake is a great opportunity for learning and for healing. A mistake reminds us that no matter how old we are, how smart we believe ourselves to be, regardless of how much we have accomplished, we are still human. A mistake is a lesson in humility. A
mistake is the way we learn our limitations. It is a reminder that there is always more for us to learn about ourselves and our capabilities.
If We Are Children of Royalty, Why Are We Loving Beneath Our Privilege? “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” - 1 Peter 2:1-10 Key Verse: 2:9 Royalty may refer to: Royal family (by extension the ruling house of any monarchy, regardless of the title), or one or more of its members.
As images of the Royal wedding kept people up all night and captured the collective imagination of the world, I could not help but wonder aloud: If We, Christians, Are Children Of Royalty, Why Are We Loving Beneath Our Privileges? Why do so many of the children of the Most High God, who is Love, choose to walk the underprivileged path, not taking advantage of the vast number of opportunities to love extravagantly which arise daily, as sure as the sun and to be blessed in the process? Instead, many princes & princesses settle for loving beneath their privileges like the children of a lesser god? Have we forgotten that we are royalty, and not refugees, and as such we are expected to love lavishly? Or are we simply & willfully ignoring this inconvenient truth because, truth be told, Real Love is more often not, just that: an inconvenience. Imagine what Christian relationships would look like if we learned to love like we were worth the price God paid through Christ for us! Selah… The greatest gift to any man is a virtuous woman. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night: Ruth 3:11 And now, my daughter, fear not. I will do for you all you require, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of strength (worth, bravery, capability) This is Real Talk, Sankofa! Matthew 13:44-46 Selah...
Tony Bradford is director of The Sankofa Project. Their mission is to destroy the works of the devil (Myths, lies & stereotypes), restore the Village, uplift the Race and Man up the Black CommUNITY. Learn more at facebook.com/BraveHeart.RevolutionaryLover.
Culver City restaurateurs hoped to lure the president with 'Obama Family Chili' By LEILONI DE GRUY, Staff Writer – Los Angeles Wave Newspaper
Creative ideas aren‘t always enough to reel in enough business to make ends meet in this down economy — which is why Rick and Margie Hodges, owners of Tub‘s Fine Chili in Culver City, took extra steps: reaching out to President Obama. Rico Cuevas prepares a dish at Tub’s Fine Chili, whose owners have mounted a campaign for President Obama to visit the establishment when he comes to Culver City on Thursday. (Photo by Gary McCarthy)
With President's Obama‘s visit to Sony Pictures Studios last month, the pair whipped up a batch of the Obama Family Chili recipe, in hopes of enticing the known chili-lover to stop by their establishment. While the President didn't visit, the restaurant has received a lot of press. Tub‘s Fine Chili, which opened its doors nearly two years ago, offers up a number of tasty fare suitable for all palates and preferences. With seven different chili‘s on the menu — steak with pinto beans, ground chuck, smoked pork with black-eyed peas, ground turkey with kidney beans, chicken with whitewashed beans and hominy, crumbled soy with three beans and veggies, and bacon/beef with black beans— each carrying a sassy name, they can be served in a toasted bread tub made from homemade cornbread at a nominal price. For those that like a little kick, a habanero infused oil, known as Tubs-Nitro-Tonic (TNT), provides spice without altering the taste. If standard servings of chili aren‘t favored, there‘s chili casserole, pizza topped with chili, Romaine lettuce topped with vegan chili, beef dogs cradled in cornbread buns, chili-cheese nuggets, and chili-cheese corn chips and buffalo chips. Sweet treats include hushpuppy tails with honey butter; frozen bite size brownie cups filled with Maraschino cherry, ice cream and topped with sundae-style nuts; root beer floats; and a vanilla ice cream sandwich made with chocolate chip cookies, filled with Ghirardelli fudge brownie dough and rolled in peanuts. ―I go to sleep thinking about all of these ideas,‖ Rick said. ―That‘s how we got many of the items on our menu. I will try it the next day, sort of like trial and error until it sticks.‖ Learn more about this fabulous eatery at http://tubschili.com.
innie Julia Riperton (November 8, 1947 â€“ July 12, 1979) was an American singer-songwriter best known for her
vocal range of five-and-a-half octaves and her 1975 single "Lovin' You". She was married to songwriter and music producer Richard Rudolph from 1972 until her death in the summer of 1979. They had two children - music engineer Marc Rudolph and actress/comedienne Maya Rudolph. Riperton was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Daniel and Thelma Riperton. The youngest of eight children in a musical family, Riperton embraced the arts early on. Although she began with ballet and modern dance, Riperton's parents recognized her vocal and musical abilities and encouraged her to pursue music and voice. Baby picture of Minnie Riperton
At Chicago's Lincoln Center, Riperton received operatic vocal training from Marion Jeffery. She practiced breathing and phrasing, with particular emphasis on diction. Jeffery also trained Riperton to use her full range, which contradicts traditional operatic training. While studying under Jeffery, Riperton sang operettas and show tunes, in preparation for a career in opera. Jeffery was so convinced of her pupil's abilities that she strongly pushed her to further study the classics at Chicago's Junior Lyric Opera. The young Riperton was, however, becoming very interested in soul, rhythm and blues, and rock. After graduating from Hyde Park High School, now Hyde Park Career Academy, she enrolled at Loop College and became a member of the prestigious Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated. She dropped out of college to pursue her music career. In 1967, Riperton met songwriter Richard Rudolph, whom she married five years later. They have a son named Marc, and a daughter, Maya, an actress and former cast member from NBC's Saturday Night Live.
Career Took dance and vocal lessons as a girl; earned extra money singing at local studios as a teen; signed a recording contract with the Gems on the Chess Studios label and recorded under the name Andrea Davis, 1966; hired to sing with experimental rock band, Rotary Connection, 1967; group recorded six albums and toured nationally with the Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, Santana, others; group disbanded, 1970; backup vocals for Quincy Jones, Roberta Flack, Freddie Hubbard, Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles; released debut, Come To My Garden, 1971; Perfect Angel, 1974; Adventures In Paradise, 1975; became an activist, fund-raiser, and lecturer for breast cancer awareness; released Stay in Love: A Romantic Fantasy Set to Music, 1977; signed with Capitol Records; released Minnie, 1979; Love Lives Forever, 1980.
Riperton was blessed with an astounding five-and-a-half-octave vocal range, and achieved her greatest commercial success with the hit ballad, “Lovin’ You”.
Life's Work CLICK HERE to view Riperton singing Lovin’ You Singer Minnie Riperton was well on her way to becoming a pop and soul legend when she died of breast cancer in 1979, at age 31. Riperton was blessed with an astounding five-and-a-half-octave vocal range, and achieved her greatest commercial success with the hit ballad, "Lovin' You." Though her debut album, Come to My Garden, failed to score a hit, it drew critical attention and success quickly followed with the albums Perfect Angel and Adventures in Paradise. Just as Riperton was enjoying her treasured family life and the joys of creative success, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The artist then became a tireless activist for breast cancer awareness, in addition to performing and recording Stay in Love, and her final album, Minnie. Riperton died in 1979, but her work lived on through her fans, contemporary hip-hop acts such as A Tribe Called Quest who have sampled her songs, and a collection of her work called Petals: The Minnie Riperton Collection, which was released in 2001.
Born to Dance and Sing Minnie Julia Riperton was born on November 8, 1947, in Chicago, and was the youngest of Daniel and Thelma Riperton's eight children. She started taking dance lessons at age three, and studied modern dance and ballet. Even as a girl, Riperton's goal was to become a famous singer. To this end, she started taking voice lessons at age nine, and began studying opera soon after. She was a dedicated and disciplined student, and it was not unlike her to cut short playtime with friends in order to be on time for her music lessons. Under the tutelage of Marion Jeffries, Riperton was a tireless opera student who spent months just learning how to breathe, as well as how to listen to and hold vowels. It took years of study for Riperton to discover her rare, five-to-six octave range. Though she mastered and began singing operas and operettas, Riperton was more attracted to the rock, pop, and soul styles and the popular success that was possible with those genres. Though she ceased her classical training to pursue success as a pop vocalist, it was Riperton's classical skills that would set her apart from her contemporaries.
"I write about ... being happy ... and loving," she said in the Epic bio, "not necessarily one person, but loving in general-because there's really nothing else. " ( Minnie Riperton (in white turban) pictured here with her grandmother Minnie Matthews, sister Clarice, Elaine, niece Yolanda and unidentified males)
Riperton sang with the a capella choir of Hyde Park High School as a freshman, and often left school early to earn extra money singing backup at local studios, which paid ten dollars per song. She was still just in her mid-teens when she signed a recording contract with the girl group the Gems with the legendary Chess Studios record label, where she worked as a receptionist. She briefly worked under the stage name Andrea Davis, and recorded the single "Lonely Girl," which became a minor hit in the Chicago area in 1966. The recordings from these years were later reissued on Minnie Riperton: Her Chess Years, which was released in 1997. In 1967, Riperton was hired to sing with the Rotary Connection, a rock and jazz experimental vocal group which had a small but dedicated following. The group received its biggest accolades for its progressive and experimental 1968 Christmas album, Peace, which produced the holiday single "Christmas Love," which featured Riperton on vocals. The group recorded six albums and toured nationally with such acts as the Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, Santana, Sly and the Family Stone, and Jefferson Airplane before disbanding in 1970. Riperton also did some radio and commercial work during this time.
Created Enchanted, Loving Life Riperton was playing a Chicago club show with the Rotary Connection when she met Richard (Dick) Rudolph, who would become her husband and creative partner. Riperton and Rudolph co-wrote most of Riperton's subsequent songs. The couple had two children, a daughter and son, Maya and Marc, whose names Riperton sings in her songs; Maya is the name of the girl in "Love And It's Glory," and at the rapturous end of "Lovin' You," and she sings to Marc in the song "Wouldn't Matter Where You Are." The Riperton-Rudolph household in Los Angeles was Riperton's haven--there, she was surrounded by her friends, family, children, and a veritable petting zoo, which included several dogs, cats, birds, and fish. "I live an exciting, beautiful life which, when viewed from the outside, might appear to be some kind of fairy tale inhabited by a princess," she was quoted as saying in her 1976 Epic bio.
Weeks after her surgery, she appeared on the Ebony Music Awards, where she won an "Ebby" award. As she accepted the award, Riperton broke down in tears as she considered what she and her family were going through and how fortunate she felt to be able to be present to accept the award at all.
Her music embodied this blissful environment that Riperton surrounded herself with, this loving life she led, and the songs she wrote were all love songs. "I write about ... being happy ... and loving," she said in the Epic bio, "not necessarily one person, but loving in general--because there's really nothing else. " For live performances, her stage set included potted plants, trees, hanging vines, and live caged birds. Riperton in studio with Quincy Jones
Riperton continued to sing backup vocals and do studio work for such artists as Quincy Jones, Roberta Flack, Freddie Hubbard, Etta James, Aretha Franklin, and Ray Charles. In 1969, she was able to record her own debut album, Come To My Garden, which was released in 1971. Though the record won critical kudos, her record company listlessly promoted the album and sales were low. Frustrated and on the verge of heading into semi-retirement in Florida at age 22, the young artist met Stevie Wonder backstage at Chicago's Black Expo in 1971. When she introduced herself, Wonder was thrilled--he apparently was among the few who had heard her record, and was a big fan. Wonder played backup and wrote two songs for Riperton's 1974 release, Perfect Angel. Riperton returned the favor by singing backup on Wonder's Fulfillingness' First Finale and Songs in the Key of Life.
Tragedy on the Heels of Success Riperton visiting with LaToya and Michael Jackson
Perfect Angel went platinum and was number one on the R&B chart for three weeks. "Lovin' You" was the first single in the history of recorded music to achieve gold status without the support of bass or drums. That success was followed by Adventures In Paradise in 1975, and launched Riperton's career. But Riperton's high times ended quickly. In 1976, the singer announced that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer and had undergone a modified mastectomy, which sidelined her career for the better part of a year. Despite the illness, and the demands of motherhood, Riperton assured her fans that she would not quit music, and remained true to her promise--the period following her diagnosis and surgery was as productive as any time in her short life. Weeks after her surgery, she appeared on the Ebony Music Awards, where she won an "Ebby" award. As she accepted the award, Riperton broke down in tears as she considered what she and her family were going through and how fortunate she felt to be able to be present to accept the award at all. In addition to her already busy recording and performing schedule, Riperton became a spokesperson for breast cancer awareness, touting the importance of regular self-examination and the benefit of early detection. During a 1976 appearance on the Tonight Show, Riperton unwittingly divulged the details of her experience to a shocked guest host, the late Flip Wilson, and a national viewing audience.
Riperton later confided that she was as surprised by her unplanned disclosure as the speechless Wilson was. She previously had been hesitant to discuss the ordeal and wanted to avoid sympathy, but was moved by a sense of responsibility to spread the word about the disease. She felt that, by sharing the details of her story, she could reach out to other breast cancer victims.
Tireless Performer, Activist, Mother Every aspect of Riperton's public life then became fueled by her crusade for breast cancer awareness, and she spread her wings as an activist, fund-raiser, and lecturer. She performed and spoke at charity events and, a skilled tennis player, was a regular at celebrity tennis tournaments for charity. She was recognized in 1977 by President Jimmy Carter, who presented Riperton with the American Cancer Society's Courage Award. The next year, she became the American Cancer Society's National Education Chairwoman. The Rod McGrew Scholarship Fund posthumously awarded Riperton its Communicator with A Conscience award, which her daughter Maya accepted. Neither her home nor professional life suffered as a result of her impassioned work against breast cancer. She returned to the studio to record her third album for Epic, Stay in Love: A Romantic Fantasy Set to Music. Written by Riperton and Rudolph, with the help of such artists as Stevie Wonder, Leon Ware, and Marlo Henderson, and produced by Freddie Perren, Stay in Love was a "concept album about a couple's relationship," according to Epic press materials. "I know I'm lucky and I know I'm special," Riperton is quoted as saying in her 1976 Epic bio. "... at this stage of my life, I'm transmitting feelings, thoughts, and emotions to other people through my music." Riperton then signed a contract with Capitol Records that assured her creative control and producing duties on her recordings, a rarity among female recording artists of the era. She entered the studio in the summer of 1978 to record what would be her last album, Minnie. Riperton died July 12, 1979 in Los Angeles. In her New York Times obituary, according to The New Crisis, Riperton was heralded as "one of the finest black singers of the '70s... . Using her voice instrumentally, she combined the forthrightness of pop and soul singing with the intricacy of jazz in a manner that managed to be both popular and intelligent."
Love Lived On Dick Rudolph released a posthumous collection of Riperton's work, called Love Lives Forever, a year after her death. Rudolph worked with Riperton's vocals from the album she was working on when she died. Quincy Jones likened the project to "keeping the bridge and moving the water," according to Rudolph in Right On. Rudolph then enlisted the help of Riperton's friends--Peabo Bryson, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and George Benson-to perform the arrangements and other vocals to accompany Riperton's voice track. "It was difficult to keep working after Minnie died," Rudolph told Right On. "... I love listening to this album. It turns out to be a joy. It was a form of catharsis in many ways... . That's something that Minnie taught people: Whatever's going down, you have to deal with it. By dealing with it straight on, you garner strength."
Riperton's legacy lives on. The Minnie Riperton Legacy Preservation Society was founded in 1999 by fans to promote her musical work and to carry on her campaign against breast cancer. The group petitioned Capitol Records to release more of the artist's original material, and has hosted the Minnie Riperton Website. The group has also been involved with Renaissance Runners of Los Angeles, which has hosted the annual Minnie Riperton Walk and Run for breast cancer awareness. Capitol records has set up a scholarship fund in her name, and a Minnie Riperton Cancer Research fund was founded. A critically-lauded collection of her work titled Petals: The Minnie Riperton Collection, was released by Capitol and The Right Stuff in 2001. Younger audiences know of Riperton because hip-hop acts such as Arrested Development, A Tribe Called Quest, and The Roots, have all sampled her work, and singer Trina Broussard remade Riperton's "Inside My Love," for the Love Jones soundtrack. Rapper Q-Tip has referred to Riperton a genius. Twenty years after her death, Rudolph, who has since remarried, told Jet, "Twenty years have passed, and yet she's very real and her contributions and her gift to the world still exist and still move people in a positive direction. The thing that Minnie would be happiest about today is that people are still moved in a positive direction by her music." In one of Riperton's last interviews, according to a 1980 article in Right On magazine, Riperton told a reporter, "I definitely have something to say and a lot of people seem only too happy to bring my creativity into their personal consciousness... . I try to write and record things which will somehow transcend negativity--and even, strange as it may sound, beauty. I want to arrive at a space that might be considered timeless." For more information on Minnie Riperton, visit http://minnieriperton.wordpress.com
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T. D. Jakes Talks About His Latest Film 'Jumping The Broom Dallas mega church pastor Bishop T.D. Jakes has produced his third movie, Jumping the Broom, a romantic comedy set against class divisions that opened Friday (May 6), starring Angela Bassett and Loretta Devine. Jakes, who plays Rev. James in the film and served as producer, talked about its discussion of sex, family feuds and forgiveness. Why did you decide to make a movie about an African-American couple and the challenges they faced as they got ready to walk down the aisle? I think it's very, very important that we begin to hone in on issues that we often don't talk about. We all have to fight through the practical application of day-to-day living. The movie doesn't seem to be a "Christian film," but does it reflect insights you've gained as a pastor? Through counseling for 35 years, you begin to find out that ultimately the only glue that really holds a family together is their ability to be able to forgive each other. I think the common theme in the movie is a message of forgiveness, which is congruent with Scripture. How do you mean? Jesus teaches us to forgive over and over again. One of the things that happen in the movie is families running into situations where their love is being challenged. They have to learn to forgive. I think families have lost a sense of forgiveness. When they find problems, they just walk away.
The film opens with the female lead in her underwear. Why did you decide to include sexual content in the movie? The story shows a woman who has made a decision to change her lifestyle from being a fairly promiscuous person to a person who has made a vow of abstinence. The contrast in her life is what testimony is all about. You can't show somebody that Jesus is the answer if you can't show the before and the after. And we were able to achieve that without showing any nudity at all.
As you've screened the movie, have you gotten any criticism from clergy for the film's frank discussion of sex? Considering the divorce rate that we're seeing in the world and even more rampant in the church, I think the clergy has welcomed a discussion that promoted marriage and abstinence in a humorous way that is entertaining. I think they understand that we are losing a battle while at times being extremely prudish in our inability to discuss it at all. The message of abstinence is congruent with Scripture; the images are as simple as a J.C. Penny catalog. Some have criticized church-produced movies as too sanitized. Are you trying to move away from that? When people don't see themselves on the screen, regardless of what the issue is, it doesn't ring authentic. I think you can show real people without being vulgar and without having a rating that locks out our younger people. Our younger people need to have this conversation. Where's the line between showing a character's religious side and hitting moviegoers over the head with a Bible? I've learned over the three movies that people don't go out on Friday night to be preached to. You have to show faith is an element that is planting a seed without necessarily trying to reap the harvest at the same time. The title Jumping the Broom comes from a slave tradition. Do you use it at your church or at weddings where you officiate? From time to time. Many African-Americans choose to reflect on their heritage and identity, much like the Jewish couple might step on the glass. It's totally a matter of choice. You play the role of the marrying minister in the movie. Do you prefer producing or acting? To be honest, my playing the role was a last-minute decision. Being able to walk on the stage and do a little bit of acting was fun, but my focus is really on producing. How does this film compare to your other movie, Woman, Thou Art Loosed, which addressed domestic violence?
Service â€“ Adelle M. Banks
I have learned that serious subjects require comedy to make them more palatable on the screen. The art of the movie is to be comedic with the characters and yet serious about the subject. SOURCE: Religion News
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25th Annual JazzReggae Festival at UCLA Sunday, May 29th, 12pm – 7pm UCLA Intramural Field CLICK HERE for more information.