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The Focus April Showers Edition

Apr 2015

Jerel Rhodes

With the “Things” That are Changing Boys to Men The Official Magazine of Focused Radio

FocusPoints The Change is in the Rain pg 4 April Showers: Tank on Fire pg 6 Beauty and the Beast pg 9 Spring pg 13 Fashion Trends pg 14 Winter is Over, Spring is Here pg 16 Rejuevenating for Progress pg 17

Editor in Chief: TommyP Story Editor: Lenai Clegg Photo Credits: Facebook Instagram NuFocus Media

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Well the March madness is over and yes the Duke Blue Devils won the championship. The great thing about that was it shows just how far we have come as a society. Duke University was always known for it’s history and high standards. Normally thought to be full of clean-cut, rich boys from the other side of the tracks, the Duke Blue Devils starting five was some young men with Afros and “swag.” All it took was for someone to give them an opportunity. This month we sit down with a young man who is opening up opportunities for young men that look a lot like Duke’s starting five. Jerel “Tank” Rhodes has opened the door for urban youth to get the college experience while they are in the most impressionable stages of their lives. His Rebounding Roanoke is the umbrella for the Renaissance Academy, that has opened up a world of opportunity and understanding to many that would never have known that it is possible to go to college and be successful in life. Like the Boys II Men song, “these are the things that change boys to men!” TommyP

The Change is in the Rain Most of us welcome the rain when we don’t want to go anywhere or do anything, but if we have plans, it sucks! How many times have we planned a vacation only to have it rain every day we are there. Or have plans to go to a football game, cook-out, or something enjoyable and it’s cancelled? Oddly enough, we are fully aware that the rain is necessary for growth, and that without it everything will die, including us. But we’d rather enjoy the sunshine and wish away the rain. Water represents life. The rain must come in our lives to produce growth in us. Those rainy days are the perfect opportunity to do some internal cleansing. Make a list of things that need to be done when the rain stops, and follow through. Clean up your surroundings, rearrange some things and ways of thinking, and get rid of things that are no longer producing fruit in your life. Make room for the blessings that await you. Take time to rest, and listen to the soothing sounds of each raindrop as they purposefully tap on your window. If you listen close enough, you’ll hear your spirit speaking life to you through a voice that only comes from the rain. We can’t pick and choose when it’s going to rain, it usually comes at the most inconvenient times. We just have to trust that if the rain has come, some things are being washed away and new life is beginning. The bible says that the sun shines on the just and the unjust, just as the rain does, that we may be the children of God. There is nothing we can do to deserve the sunshine nor is there anything that we’ve done so wrong to cause the rain. Both are necessary for balance, growth, gratefulness and hope. Endure the rain. Mama said “rain won’t last always”, but thank God for it. Because without it, how could we fully appreciate the sunshine? Lenai Clegg, Inspirational Speaker

Tank On Fire

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Jerel “Tank� Rhodes was given a vision at a young age to Rebound Roanoke. He has found a way to give back to his community by opening doors that were closed to him growing up.

by TommyP “Let’s bring back Phi Boy Phi.” I remember like it was yesterday my good friend saying to me. “Let’s do more than just be pretty boys, let’s be a real high school frat.” Jerel Rhodes has always been a man of vision and understanding. Seeing the needs of Roanoke and putting to action what was needed. Some 25 years later he is still on watch finding the problems and making solutions. His Renaissance Academy is a “brotherhood” of young men that are learning tools to be prepared for the next level of life. I sat down with my good friend to learn about this awesome program. One that is teaching young black men how to tie a necktie, prepare for college, and learn character that will equip them for success. TP: Man I am amazed at what you have been doing with these young men of the Renaissance Academy. Where did all this come from? JR: When I was in 11th grade, God dropped in my spirit, Rebounding Roanoke. Not really sure what that meant, I went on with my life until He reminded me again while I was in college. It became clear that life is all about positioning. Just as a basketball player has to be in the right position to rebound a basketball, once they do, they can either put it right back up for the score if they are on offense or if they were on defense they can now transition. TP: Wow, that’s deep bro. JR: Yeah it was real deep and full of layers. We being athletes understand that concept because we competed all the time. I’ve learned it’s the same in life. A lot of opportunities are closed off to young men coming from the The Focus Apr 2015 8

urban community simply because of bad positioning. Not knowing what’s out there and how to capitalize on the opportunity forces us in to bad habits and situations that stunt our potential. TP: You were a great athlete growing up, it would seem that would have been your thing to teach the youth? JR: So were you and that’s the reason why I chose to become an educator. The athletics are great, however if you don’t have the character to sustain you for success, you run the chance of blowing great opportunities. I want to be able to inform the uninformed of “the big picture.” Our youth normally only get one side of the story. Expanding your mind and having someone to guide them is where I saw the major disconnect. I’m just trying to do my part as God gives me the ability to make those choices and decisions easier for the young men that want to take part of this program. Jerel “Tank” Rhodes is definitely doing that and then some. The Renaissance Academy is transforming young boys into fine young men. One man’s calling will potentially yield so much return for Roanoke. Jerel “Tank” Rhodes, you truly are a Star of the

Star City!

We truly appreciate


Tiffany Dews

Account Manager Virginia Blood Services, Advocate

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Those Making it Happen

Ronnie Dews Manager of Professional Services Northeast Agent Xerox

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Spring It’s spring time! It is time to clean out your closets, get rid of the old, and pull out the new! My favorite book says, “If any man thirst, let him drink. If any man hunger let him eat.” How can a person eat or drink if they are not willing to work hard and plant the seeds before spring time? I think it is human nature to want to enjoy bountiful blessings and new opportunities in the spring of their own lives. There are so many people who’d rather enjoy the fruit without any labor. Spring time is a time of reaping what you have sown. If you’ve planted your seeds on good ground and in the right season, you will definitely be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor. In order to enjoy the harvest, you have to put in hard work and be dedicated to your mission. When I was in my early teens, I worked in the cotton fields during the summer. Before the season of summer, the farmer had to plant the

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by Will Speaks

cotton seeds in the right season and he would also have to check the temperature of the ground before the seeds were planted. In order to reap the harvest of a field full of cotton, he would have to make sure that he planted those seeds on good ground. Before you could enjoy the fruits of your labor, ask yourself, “What’s your temperature and attitude like?” If you don’t have the right attitude, you could do the right thing in the wrong season and time, and not be rebirth into a full, healthy, and fruitful life. Planting in the wrong season, or accomplishing your goals in the wrong season could cause stress, headaches, and depression. You can also be promoted on your job in the wrong season. Spring time is a time of refreshing and transformation. If you’ve spent 2014 in a tomb, this is your year to come forth! Its spring time, a time of new beginning! Be encouraged, be inspired, be phenomenal, or be forgotten!


‘MUST HAVES’ FOR THIS MONTH 1. STEP UP your scent with the New Ralph Lauren fragrance. Your wardrobe will be complete with just a little dab. ($42, www. )

Fashion Trends

2. NAILED IT with the new hot OPI Gel Polish, classy, fun colors. Last longer and chips less. ($12.50, ULTA beauty stores)

4. SCULPT TO PERFECTION with the new trending Contour Kit. Flawless and beautiful in all shades while looking like a fierce model. ($20, BHCosmetics)

3. LIPS GALORE try the latest Christopher Kane collection of NARS. Super sheer beautiful glosses in every summery color and definitely worth the price. ($25, www.narscosmetics. com)

5. BLOOM YOUR LASHES with COVERGIRL Full Lash Bloom Waterproof Mascara by LASHBLAST. Gives you exceptional lash fullness that’s soft even to the touch. ($8, www. )

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Winter is Over, Spring is Here Life is always in motion, from sickness to health, failure to success, sadness to happiness, ultimately moving us toward our destiny. When some elements of our life are painful, there is always a reason and sometimes the “why” is answered in the next level of life. During these difficult, frustrating, and questionable moments; remember these life experiences will change. The current circumstances that may be surrounding your life today, financial difficulties, a less than desirable living environment, a troubled marriage, other significant relationship concerns, unemployment, business and health challenges are just a reflection of the general nature of the season we find ourselves in. “…weeping may endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning.” So, the question is; what do you do when nothing appears to change for the better despite your best efforts? Just continue to do the best you can. Be consistent with a positive mind, speak words of optimism regarding your situation, rest and regenerate through meditation, thanksgiving, and praise to the Creator for the many blessings He has bestowed upon you. Be disciplined and consistent with quality actions, establish positive connections with a mentor, family/friends, and write your vision or plans of resolutions for the next season. Do not allow complacency or mediocrity to become a part of your efforts. Let all your efforts be motivated and inspired by a spirit of excellency. Above all, endure these challenging times with patience, change occurs just as the seasons of nature; at the appropriate and appointed time. SPRING is here, a time of creation, renewal, and new energy. Take notice of those things that are dead and no longer useful in your life. Proactively remove them and make room for the new. Plant seeds to begin new projects, establish new relationships and expand for new growth. Create, create, create, for our Creator, the Lord; His mercies are new every morning. Reva “Mac” Spencer

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Rejuvenating for Progress by LaTron Brown MBA

So the proverb goes, “March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers.” This wonderful process continues its cycle—year after year, generation upon generation—without ceasing. There is Spring, Summer, Autumn, then Winter. For me, this flow has never proven ill-advised. But I’ve often asked the question, why? What I found was if you were to beg the question—on why does the earth change seasons, and how does it know when to snow, then rain, get ridiculously hot, only to cool off and then snow again—no one could really tell you. They might become very stiff-necked with confidence and poise to provide some scientific-like regurgitation on atmospheric pressures and barometric gradients. However, if you continue to analyze each explanation, you will eventually meet the barebones rationale: It just does. We must see and hear deeply. Some thinkers would suggest the earth simply performs its purpose, the way it was created to perform it, and it is guided and nurtured by the same innate wisdom that produces great fruit in its season. So too, this wisdom is within each of us. Our body’s millions of cells, at this very moment, is doing its work existing and multiplying without complaint. However, our minds are free to do what it thinks of (even with a lot of complaining). But where do our thoughts come from? Many call it Spirit, and its most vital function is to nurture us through the renewing our minds. This rejuvenation produces creative innovations. Creative thinking helps us to accept and create innovative methods for living. It is at work anytime we have a powerful idea or ‘find our muse’. It gives us the confidence to not stand for the status quo. It convicts us on our moral and ethical duties of being good parents, servant leaders, social entrepreneurs, or civil servants. It produces the desire to run for city council, Mayor, Congress, President to spark change at a greater level. This wisdom helps us understand and accept the differences among us all. It helps us learn new things. Most importantly it guides us to perform our sacred duty—to exist and to create. We get ourselves into trouble, often, when we have no direction, no focus, and no goals. Chaos starts at the individual mind affecting: mental and physical health, finances, family structure, and eventually communities. The mystery of life is recognizing its work in our daily life as we enact change in our community, schools and careers. We just have to have an open mind and be willing to accept the challenges as they come. Do not be dismayed by unfortunate circumstances because these experiences are simply there to nurture the open mind. However, it is destruction to the closed mind. It is destruction to the one who is quick to anger, argue and anyone who causes turmoil and strife. We must be open to receiving life lessons in order to grow. When truly in tune, we recognize our job is to simply shower our purposes with harmony, focus and consistency, knowing that in due time our own flowers will come to full bloom.

Chocolate Layered Madness with Buttercream & Chocolate Ganache Cake 1 ½ C Granulated Sugar 1 ½ C Packed Brown Sugar 3 Large Brown Eggs 2/3 C Oil 2 2/3 C All Purpose Flour 2 tsp baking powder 2 tsp baking soda 1 tsp Kosher Salt 1 Tbsp Good Vanilla 1 1/2 C Milk 1 1/2 C Water 1 1/4 C Cocoa Powder Frosting 1 1/2 lbs Unsalted Butter, Soft – 6 Sticks 3 C Confectioners Sugar 2 Tbsp Good Vanilla 1 Egg White 2 tsp milk – as needed Kosher salt, a pinch Ganache 1 1/4 C Semisweet Chocolate Chips 3/4 Tbsp Light Corn Syrup 3/4 C Heavy Cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Oil 3 (10-inch) cake pans and line the bottom with parchment paper. In a Stand Mixer, combine the brown sugar and oil on low until combined then add eggs one at a time making sure they are each mixed in well. Let the sugar, oil, and eggs mix. Sift together the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt in a separate bowl. Set this mixture aside. In another small bowl, mix the vanilla & milk and set this aside. Bring the water to a boil, mix in the cocoa and whisk until smooth. To the egg mixture, alternating add the flour mixture and the milk mixture beginning and ending with flour. With the mixer off, scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition. With the mixture on low add the cocoa. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and pour this mixture into the prepared cake pans. Bake the cake for approximately 15 minutes or until tester comes out clean. When cake layers have cooled, 10 minutes remove from pans and refrigerate until cold. For the frosting - in an Stand Mixer beat the butter on low while adding confectioners sugar Add the vanilla and salt, egg white & milk and beat for 5 to 9 minutes on a medium speed. Fill and frost the cake and refrigerate for 15 minutes to set frosting. For the ganache - using a heatproof bowl add the chocolate chips and the corn syrup. Bring the heavy cream to a full boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and whisk till smooth, set aside. Pour ganache over the top of the cake slowly, use a cake spatula to smooth top & to gently push ganache over the sides. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or longer. Serve the cake cold or at room temperature. Enjoy – Live, Love& laugh !! By Tuana Smith- Sweets An Treats 4 U, (215) 219-0883

Don’t Stop The Music What’s up everyone this is your girl Ms. Kiki, giving you a musical update! So music today has not been the greatest. Either it’s all Bankhead or twerking music. I have found some great artist that will give you what need from sultry soul to Holy Ghost filled gospel. Avery Sunshine gives us sunshine every time she opens her mouth to sing. From the move of her fingers when she plays the piano to how she involves her audience in every song she sings. Although my girl has been out in the industry for over ten years, she is just now making it mainstream. You can get her album The Sunroom off of ITunes, Google play, or singles right from the Focused Radio app. Erica Campbell is giving us a new sound in the gospel world. Her new song “I luh

God” has become quite the controversial song. However it’s quite catchy, her new album offers this and so much more. Who says you have to put God in a box to give Him to the world? Keep doing your thing Erica Campbell. You can get her album Help 2.0 offline or in your local stores. Kwabs is a new artist that entered the scene last October with his Ep Walk. His baritone vocals walk up and down your spine awaking all of your senses and adds new flavor to the R&B world. I am looking forward to hearing more of his amazing music. I hope you will take time out to listen to some of these amazing artist God Bless ! Ms. KiKi


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The Focus April 2015  

Jerel "Tank" Rhodes has taken his Rebounding Roanoke to higher heights.

The Focus April 2015  

Jerel "Tank" Rhodes has taken his Rebounding Roanoke to higher heights.