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URBAN FAITH MAGAZINE | MAY 2010 | $3.00

Taking Mahogany Ensemble Theatre to the Next Level Page 4


“Thank you” is not just good manners, it’s good I am grateful to for your health our new sponsor, my friend and Feeling down? Having trouble sleeping? Catch soror, Attorney colds easily? You might be surprised at the sim- Reshonda L. ple habit researchers now say keeps you hapBradford. Be pier, healthier and better rested: Gratitude. sure to give her a call her when you are in need of law advice. In studies by researchers at the University of She can handle anything! California – Davis, those who write down three blessings every day were compared to those I am also thankful for my sisterfriend, Angelique who do not. The more grateful group had Feaster. Angelique is the Founding Artisitic Distronger immune systems, caught fewer colds, rector for Mahogany Ensemble Theatre. Read had less trouble falling asleep and staying more about her story on page 5. asleep, and felt better about their lives. They were even more likely to exercise. Interestingly, And I am grateful that you have taken time out it’s not enough to simply say what you are of your busy day to support Urban Faith Magagrateful for. You must write it down, according zine. Be sure to visit our website at to researchers. Apparently, there is power in www.urbanfaithmagazine.com to subscribe. the written word. You will get the magazine directly in your mailbox. On our website you may also join our To start your gratitude habit, keep a notebook online community and interact with me and at your bedside. When you get up, ask yourself other readers. a simple question that evokes gratitude, such as, “What three things do I most look forward This Month’s Challenge:: to today?” or “What three things am I most grateful for today?” Or write in your gratitude Grab a notebook or journal this week, and start journal before going to sleep – a practice that making note of what you are grateful for. has been shown to improve sleep habits. Rather than counting sheep to cure insomnia, try Until Next Time counting your blessings. Ask, “What are the three best things that happened to me today?” Be Grateful or “What did I most appreciate today?” Other benefits to keeping a gratitude journal, according to the research, including feeling more alert and energized, and being more willing to give emotional support to others.

Alynetta Beck


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Just a few pics from Mahogany Ensemble Theatre’s productions from the past 5 years: 1. The Wiz 2. Roll of Thunder 3. The Bluest Eye 4. Shakin the Mess Out of Misery 5. Amazing Grace


Recently I had the opportunity to attend Mahogany Ensemble Theatre’s production of a Raisin in the Sun. The cast was awesome! Afterwards, I and a few other patrons of the arts discussed how Mahogany Ensemble Theatre was Shreveport’s best kept secret. If you want to theatre experience, stay on the look out for Angelique Feaster and Mahogany Ensemble Theatre (MET).

taining this theatrical genre. Mark your calendar for the 2nd biennial festival celebration! This year’s festival will take place from Saturday, September 18, 2010 thru Saturday, September 25, 2010.

This week-long festival spotlights African American theatres, filmmakers, performing artNo longer a secret, Mahogany Ensemble Thea- ists, scholars, and arts organizations . This tre productions are fast becoming THE place to year’s festival will honor the memory of inaube in Northwest Louisiana. Led by Founding gural national chair, Judi Ann Mason as well as Artisitc Director Angelique Feaster, MET is has highlight three areas of her life’s work: The grown from a one-woman operation to a staff of Arts, academia, and activism. five, which includes a resident choreographer, production manager, ticket manager, and techni- The public is also invited to participate by precal director. senting a play, spoken word, or staged reading, be a guest artist, scholar, or panelist, conduct a In the past five years, the company has proworkshop, exhibit your creative work., or perduced such plays as “The Wiz,” “Shakin’ the form in the college showcase. Mess Out of Misery,” “ The Bluest Eye,” and “Roll of Thunder.” Now, MET is poised to take its efforts to the next level. Theatre enthusiasts are invited to purchase season tickets or to become members of MET. In addition to producing plays, Ms. Feaster is busy in the community bringing theatre to schools, holding summer camp, and preparing for the Southern Black Theatre Festival. Inspired by the efforts of the National Black Theatre Festival, the Festival’s mission is to celebrate the rich tradition of African American theatre in the south while forging a regional collective of culture bearers committed to sus-


7 AWESOME Steps to Turning Your Dreams into Your Reality The idea of setting goals is nothing new. God has given us everything we need to accomplish our goals. It is up to us to prepare and use those tools to accomplish our goals and to sustain ourselves in this life.

When success is measured by how rich, famous, or important you are, life soon rings hollow.

In reality, we set goals and set goals, but often we never seem to get any closer to where we want to be. Our goals must be specific. We must know exactly what we want. Our goals must be measurable. As we act to achieve our goals, we must be able to gauge how far we have gone in achieving our goals. Our goals must be achievable. We must set goals that are possible to achieve. Our goals must be realistic. We must honestly look at the realness of our goals. Our goals must be timely. We must establish a time line to achieve our goals. Be AWESOME in setting and achieving your goals. Here are a few steps to keep you on task.

A –Actualize and define your need or desire! By visualizing what

In Uncommon, Tony Dungy reveals a better way. From wisdom learned in childhood to his years of coaching and mentoring in the NFL, Coach Dungy’s personal stories and valuable life lessons map out the less traveled path to real significance. Turn your life into something truly meaningful.

you want your end result to be and seeing yourself living that result, it becomes more real and thus your brain views it as being attainable. When you take the time to make your dreams reality in your mind’s eye: seeing it, touching it, tasting it, savoring it, your success in achieving that goal becomes more do-able. Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. (Proverbs 29:18)

W – Write it down! I tell this to people all the time. Write down your goals. What do you want to accomplish? What is your heart’s desire? Write it down. Write it in a journal or a diary, write it on a sticky note and put it on the bathroom mirror, write it on a white board, write it in magnets on the fridge. Whatever you do, keep it where you can see it all the time. Then the LORD replied: "Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. (Habakkuk 2:2)

E – Energize it! Your dreams, desires and goals mean nothing if you don’t act on them. Continual movement toward your goals is essential to reaching them. Take action now. It doesn’t have to be a big action, it just has to be something. Small steps are easy to make and require little effort. Take action now. Jesus said, "According to your faith, let it be done unto you" (Matt 9:29). How can anything "be done unto you" if you are not exercising your faith in what you desire?

S – See your success! Make your goals more real and attainable by visualizing yourself living them. How do you look once your goal is reached? How do you feel? What new direction can your life take once your current goals are met? How can that lead to new goals? Continued on page 9.


MARK YOUR CALENDARS Join us for the 2nd biennial festival celebrating the rich tradition of black theatre in the south. This week-long festival spotlights African American theatres, filmmakers, performing artists, scholars, and arts organizations dedicated to preserving & advancing the artistic legacy of the African American experience. This year’s festival will honor the memory of our beloved, inaugural national chair, Judi Ann Mason and will highlight three areas of her life’s work: the arts, academia, and activism. Produced by Mahogany Ensemble Theatre

Call for Participants Play a leading role in this year’s festival       

Present a play, spoken word, staged reading Conduct a workshop Be a volunteer, intern, partner Exhibit creative work Be a festival collaborator Perform in the college showcase And much more! For More Information Visit www.southernblacktheatrefest.org Or Call 318-745-ARTS (2787)


Singing background can be an awesome opportunity to share God’s word with people, travel, and meet new people. That is, if you can land a gig with Christian recording artists, groups, or choirs that are on the move. International, award-winning singer Donnie McClurkin just announce that he is searching for background vocalists to minister and travel with him. Who knows?! This could be your opportunity! If your schedule and lifestyle allows, here’s how you can pursue this exciting chance to operate in your gift and calling:   

Make a YouTube video of yourself singing Email the video link using the form on the website: http://donnieradio.com Make sure to include in your email: Your name, where you’re from, and a valid return email address, so you can be contacted if selected.

Singer/songwriter Deitrick Haddon is preparing to make his motion picture debut in the new movie Blessed and Cursed. Written by the artist, the movie serves as a modern day adaptation of the Biblical account of Saul and David. Joining Haddon in the film are actors Sheryl Lee Ralph and Drew Sidora. In addition, the film features guest appearances by Kierra Sheard, Karen Clark Sheard, Damita Haddon, Dr. Bobby Jones, J. Moss, Jor'el Quinn of 21:03, Mali Music, and Rance Allen. The movie is set to release to DVD on July 27, 2010. Haddon, along with his choir Voices of Unity, will release an accompanying soundtrack to the movie, featuring the lead single "Judah", on June 29, 2010.

Fences stars Denzel Washington and Viola Davis took home the Tony for the Best Performance by a Leading Actor and Actress in a Play award both thanking God for their wins. “I don’t believe in luck or happenstance,” said Davis. “I absolutely believe in the presence of God in my life.” She also thanked the people in her life "who held me up when I couldn't hold myself up" and thanked her husband. "I still think God sent his blessings to the wrong house, but I'm gonna take him!" Davis previously won a Tony Award in 2001 for August Wilson's King Hedley. “My mother always said man gives you the award and God gives you the reward,” first-time winner Washington shared in his speech. “I guess I got both tonight.” Washington also thanked his longtime wife Paulette in the audience and his children watching from home, adding, “Go to bed!”


(BlackDoctor.org) -- There is a myth that dark skin doesn't burn, and therefore doesn’t need sunscreen. The reality is that all complexions can burn. Darker skin does provide some protection from the sun's UV rays – it has more melanin for natural protection -- but you can’t count on that alone. The extra melanin doesn't guard against the UV damage that accelerates aging or causes cancer. The best thing for darker complexions to do is to begin each day by applying a sunscreen or moisturizer with an SPF of 15 to 30 -reapplying often while in direct sunlight. Following are common skin problems caused by sun exposure and tips on how to rescue your skin from the damage.

Continued from page 6 7 Steps to Your Dreams O – Open your mind! Accept all options as possible. In order to move forward with your goals, you need to leave negative thoughts behind. Establish a daily routine of positive self-talk and choose to work through fear and adversity. The key to success is belief in yourself. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)

For Darkened Facial Skin Changes in the skin’s pigmentation occur as we age and are very prominent in African American skin. Exposure to both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) light stimulates the production of melanin which most likely accounts for darkening of the skin. There are 4 commonly occurring types of darkening. • • • •

Localized areas on the face and neck More generalized areas on the face and neck Dark under eye circles Uneven skin tone

A way to treat the problem is to adopt the daily regimen of applying a SPF 15 or 30 sunscreen. For those who are experiencing pigmentary changes, a SPF 30 combined with a glycolic acid cream or lotion are recommended. Microdermabrasion and chemical peels are a great solution for AfricanAmericans with this problem. It is recommended to undergo glycolic peels and, for sensitive skin, gentler salicylic peels. For Hyperpigmentation Hyperpigmentation -- dark spots or splotches from UV-ray exposure -needs to be treated with a prescription for 4 percent hydroquinone, which is faster-acting and more effective than the over-the-counter variety. But make sure you don't use a hydroquinone fader longer than six months, because a rare condition of permanently darkened skin tone could happen. If this occurs, take a break for a month or two and then resume treatment. The widely held idea among women of color that tanning will solve hyperpigmentation, by enabling the darker areas to blend in, is purely a myth. For Dark Freckles Another pigmentary problem caused by the sun is dermatosis papulosa nigra, or DPNs – a benign cutaneous condition common among blacks. It is usually characterized by small, brown or black bumps that are sometimes mistaken for moles. It is felt that a combination of heredity, aging and exposure to the sun are factors in the development of DPNs. While not dangerous, they can easily be removed in a doctor's office. Since there is no cream that has the ability to remove DPNs, treatment involves either excising (cutting) the lesions with as special surgical instrument, called a gradle scissor, or desiccating (burning) them with an electric needle. These procedures are well generally tolerated and healing generally occurs within one week. Side effects of removal may include light or dark skin discolorations which usually fade rapidly. By Felicia Vance, BDO Staff 11-Jun-2010 , Copyright © 2005-2010, BlackDoctor.org. All rights reserved.

M – Measure your success! Don’t think you have to wait until you’ve reached your goals to consider it a success. Each and every step along the way that moves you closer to the end result is a success and a reason to celebrate. If there are ten, five, or even one thing you must do to reach your goal, each thing accomplished is a success.

E – Every day! You need to review your goals each and every day so you never lose site of them. Don’t get caught up in day to day activities and forget your goals. Review them each day and take one small step toward reaching them. Step by step, one day at a time. By practicing to reach your goals every day, you develop new habits that bring you closer to those goals. Make your mantra AWESOME and you’’ll see more dreams realized. Goal-setting is important, but by choosing to be AWESOME, you will find it easier to determine which goals to work towards, and make it easier to take the steps necessary to reach them. Each of these AWESOME directives will aid you in taking the steps necessary to set, move towards and reach your goals. You have the ability to live your dreams. Take small steps, make little, easy to follow changes, do something positive every day and your dreams will become your reality. You have The Power to change. You have The Power to choose. Choose to be AWESOME. Choose to be The Power. The prerequisite to receiving God's guidance is the willingness to accept it. "Commit your works to the Lord, and your plans will be established" (Proverbs 16:3).


Author Sheila L. Jackson



Urban Faith Magazine - June 2010