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Nobel’s Nobel Hope is You! By Lora-Ellen McKinney, PhD Views about why President Obama received a Nobel Peace Prize.

Out & About Galas, Banquets and other social events in Seattle.

The Joy of Living with a Toddler By Bartley Felder Appreciating the joy a toddler adds to your life.

What is Your Savings Rate? By Patrycia L. Taylor How do you save money?

The Eriam Sisters By Starla L. Fitch Learn more about the talented teens who appeared on America’s Got Talent.

Monica, Still Standing By Karla D. Clark

Up close and Personal with Grammy Award-Winning, Multi-Platinum Recording Artist Monica.

Jacqueline Moscoe - Back from London By Jacob Galfano Ms. Moscoe meets the playwright, Teddy Hayes - an African-American living in London to learn more about his play—Obama on my mind.

Dandre, A Community Ambassador By Lora-Ellen McKinney, Ph.D Learn how one young man is giving back to his community.

Oh, My Back!

By Dr. Cherita Raines

In Every Issue

Help for people who suffer with back pain.

What I Choose to See By M. Roberts

Choosing how you view your circumstances.

A Session with Chef Amadeus By Chef Amadeus

This month, Chef Amadeus is sharing one of his favorite recipes - Jack Bites.

A Word from our Editor What People are Saying… Family Activities Calendar Green by Susan Thoman Food by Evelyn Ray Laugh Out Loud Real Estate Community Calendar

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Urban Life Northwest, November 2009, Volume II, Issue XI Publisher/Editor - Starla L. Fitch Copy Editor-Sylvia Fitch Graphic Design-Miklos L. Fitch Photography - Lorie Woods of Beaux Arts Studios Advertising/Marketing - Starla L. Fitch Contributors- Lora-Ellen McKinney, Ph.D., Cherita J. Raines MD, MPH, Djuna Basconcelo, Patrycia L. Taylor, Evelyn Ray, Bartley Felder, Tim Jackson, M. Roberts, Chef Amadeus, Karla D. Clark, Jacob Galfano, Susan Thoman Urban Life Northwest is published monthly. Direct all editorial and subscription inquiries to P.O. Box 94057, Seattle, WA 98124-9457, call (425) 533-7802 or visit our website - No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without consent. All advertising claims and offers are the sole responsibility of the listed advertiser. Query in advance of article submission; unsolicited materials may not be returned.

Back issues available - Order Today! Minimum order 3 issues for $5.00! Additional copies $1.75 each.


Autumn is finally here. This is our arts and entertainment issue and we have some great articles this month. Our cover story is about a local singing group, The Eriam Sisters. They were whisked onto the world stage when they made it to the finals of America’s Got Talent. Unfortunately, they did not win the show but it provided great exposure for these talented teens who reign from Renton, WA.


Remember Monica? She was an up and coming R&B artist in the 90’s whose career made some unexpected turns. Thanks to freelance writer and publicist, Karla Clark, we will find out what Monica is doing now and where she is going with her career. Last but not least, more about Obama On My Mind, a dynamic musical currently playing at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center. We originally brought attention to this musical in our September 2009 issue and this article is a follow-up which will shed more light on what has proven to be a funny and thought-provoking production. I saw the show a few weeks ago and I was pleasantly surprised. I knew it would be funny but I never thought it Starla L. Fitch with the Eriam Sisters would be hilarious! I laughed till I cried. The songs added life and meaning to the overall production. The performers were outstanding - KUDOS! I met the playwright, Teddy Hayes, who was visiting from London, England, and asked him what he thought about the American production of his play, he was very impressed and proud of how LHPAC performed his play. This show is a must see - get your tickets today! In addition to our awesome Urban Life Food contributor - Evelyn Ray, we are introducing another food guru - Chef Amadeus, be sure to check out the tasty recipes they have submitted for this issue. Happy Thanksgiving!

Starla L. Fitch Publisher & Editor

Become a fan on facebook! Follow us on twitter!


Dear Starla, I was impressed with what you said on the radio. (Referencing the Voices of Diversity show, which aired on October 7, 2009) I looked up your magazine online and have been going through all of the issues. I’m loving it! It is exactly what we need in the Northwest. Too bad, this magazine is not still in print but you can add me as a online fan! H. Taylor - Bellevue, WA Received October 8, 2009

Urban Life Northwest! Great magazine! I look forward to reading each monthly issue. A lot of magazines and newspapers are no longer in print and we have to adjust to getting our information online. I prefer reading online, it keeps me from having so much paper lying around. Portland is really into keeping it green so less paper is a good thing. M. Lawson - Portland, OR Received October 14, 2009


URBAN LIFE POLITICS The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Barack Obama stunned America. And the President most of all. Citing "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples," in particular, nuclear disarmament, Europe was, of course, considerably less surprised by the choice than we. Exceptionally pleased with a president who sought to restore America’s moral standing in the world, they honored him for being who he was and who he was not – George W. Bush.

By Lora-Ellen McKinney, Ph.D

Having selected him last February, his presidency was not, however, the essential selection criterion. His galvanizing campaign was. The manner in which he gave hope to the world and changed the international political landscape - through the philosophical underpinnings of the campaign, his capacity for truth-telling – these were factors influential to the Nobel Committee. “Faith, we are told in Hebrews 11:1, is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith and hope, this Bible verse intones, are intangible things. Beyond its illusive and ethereal nature, hope, candidate Obama, opined, is even audacious. It is more than risky and outlandishly daring to hold himself, his country and the world not just to high expectations, but to a reasonable ones in an era where common sense in increasingly uncommon. And so, for challenging the us to be our best selves, to seek consensus and eschew discord, for promising to work toward global cooperation in all arenas and to work with American enemies, for daring through an accident of birth to look like the world’s majority, Barack Obama will receive the Nobel Peace Prize, a singular honor. And one that he cannot enjoy. It’s a controversial honor at home and abroad. Dan Balz of the Washington Post wrote that many were disconcerted that the honor was presented to “a president still in his first year in office with no major accomplishments internationally”. France’s Liberation noted that the prize was deserved “because he’s Obama, with his life symbolically on three continents (and) because his success has become synonymous with dignity and hope.” The New York Times called it a “mixed blessing”, while the China News (an unofficial missive) referred to the win as “an award of encouragement.” Arab newspapers reported their concerns that inspirational the Nobel prizewinner, already engaged in two wars, may one day bomb Iran. Given this Obama’s, not surprisingly, was a most somber press conference. While any such honor must be met with humility, there was no hint of joy that morning, no trademark bounce in his step, no sly smile. Certainly, the president felt the need to stave off the criticisms of the far right by stating that he may have accomplished less than other recipients. These include Mother Theresa, the 14th Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King, Presidents Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and Jimmy Carter and Vice President Al Gore. He felt it important to state to all listeners that was a community award, requiring collective effort. "I will accept this award as a call to action," Obama said. Throughout his statement, the psychologist in me saw a different president than has typically presented himself to the nation and world. No matter what the circumstance, President Obama has been a smiling, jovial man. On Friday, October 9, 2009, the world was too much with him. We saw a sad, even depressed, man. And he said something, rather quickly, that slipped by. The president indicated that his daughters had awakened him (though Robert Gibbs had also called). He usually awakens for workouts at 5:30 a.m. I fear that Congressional rancor and community angers, perhaps even the day-to-day labors of the job may be wearing him down; they have certainly lined his face and turned his hair gray. Presidents age at two to three times the rate of the rest of us. Nine months in and it shows. He’s tired. The man has been busy with two wars, bank bailouts, car company assists, the closing of Guantanamo, health care, global warming treaties, and meeting the needs of every imaginable domestic and international concerns and constituencies on a daily basis while fielding personal death threats. That's enough to make you sleep through your workout even with a trainer. Certainly there are many who believe that peace-making leadership is about more than inspiration and that making nice will not end wars, stop Iran from building nuclear weapons, keep the Taliban from deadly assembly across the Afghan-Pakistan border, truly green the environment, get health care for all by November, shut up Rush Limbaugh, or make Michael Steele understand that he would not have his job if the president had not been elected. Obama could be a bit less deliberative and use the bully pulpit more often and more effectively. We know he gets angry (recall his face when Joe Wilson yelled, "You lie!?). It's possible to work toward yes and, if yes is not forthcoming, to make a deliberative (rather than cooperative) decision. It is possible to "prescribe" an outcome. For example, it is highly likely that the messy summer could have been less so had President Obama said to Congress that he wanted them to first have a conversation about healthcare as a structure for helping people, then challenged them to work collaboratively on a bill that had the following components - a public option, a balanced budget, and provisions that better regulated insurance companies. That way, the work might have been done earlier and, if it had to go to the summer, many questions would have been answered in advance of the town halls. But that is apparently not his style. He appears to be governing like you teach a graduate seminar - assuming the students have the goal of figuring out the problem for a beloved teacher or a grade. Not so. But this is what Obama has absolutely right. He told us that hope was an outrageous thing. The Nobel Peace Prize Committee believed him. We should act like we do too. In accepting the award, President Obama has broken the mold again by asking us all – the world – to brighten the corner where we are. So let's quit waiting on him for inspiration. Get cracking on your own steam. The man is tired. *Lora-Ellen McKinney, Ph.D. is an expert in community health, social services, social justice and education. She heads her own consulting firm and is a published author.



By Starla L. Fitch Believe it or not, there are black socialites in Seattle and you will see them out and about at fashionable events with worthy causes. They are Seattle’s “black who’s who” and these people put their money where their mouth is, so to speak. They support our communities not only with their money but also with their time by helping to make things happen. To aspire to be in this group, you have to do more than just show up at an event, you have to be willing to give of yourself in support of our communities. Kudos to the “black socialites”, keep up the good work! The Galas, Banquets and other events are often times the “life blood” of an organization and we need people of color who are willing to “represent” and be counted. On October 9, 2009, Atlantic Street Center (ASC) celebrated 99 years of service to the community with their Big League Dreams 11th Annual Gala and Auction. Several of Seattle’s black social elites were in attendance. This was a grand event! If you missed it, you missed a spectacular evening! Kudos to Atlantic Street Center, its’ board of directors, the magnificent sponsors (Urban Life Northwest was one of the proud sponsors), the volunteers, Twanda Hill who served as the event coordinator, and all of the well dressed attendees. I look forward to 2010 when Atlantic Street Center will celebrate 100 years of service to the community. I don’t know how they will top this year’s event but I’m sure they will try. I hope to see you at the next one! Urban Life Northwest is on a mission to get 100 readers to pledge a minimum of $10.00 to help ASC. Support Atlantic Street Center in its’ effort to help Seattle area youth. Please visit the ASC website at, If you can give more than $10.00 please do so. Click the Network for Good icon and put ULNW in the designation box. Everyone who gives and mentions Urban Life Northwest, will receive name recognition in our December 2009 issue. On November 12, 2009, I will be a panelist for the Black Gold Mega Event, a powerful, upscale networking, dinner and inspirational business program for progressive black business owners and professionals, if you haven't gotten your tickets, it’s not too late, visit for more information about this stellar event. Urban Life Northwest will be there snapping photos and taking names. Get out and about! Get involved in something that represents people of color in a positive and professional manner! From Top to bottom, Edith & Leonard Elion (Edith is the Executive Director of ASC) Rev. Aaron & Michelle Williams (Rev. Aaron Williams is the Pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church Rev. James & Tammi Broughton (Rev. Broughton is the Pastor of Damascus Baptist Church) 6

From Left to Right (Top row) Starla L. Fitch (Publisher of Urban Life Northwest) and Sebrena Burr (ASC Board of Directors) - Isaiah Anderson (Director at LHPAC), Teresa Everett (Volunteer Coordinator for ASC) and Councilman Larry Gossett (King County), (Middle row) Carmen & Carver C. Gayton, PhD (Carver was the guest speaker for the evening and is the founder of the NW African American Museum) Raphael and Jenifra Madison (Raphael is a member of the Breakfast Group and Jenifa is a teacher in the Mill Creek School District) (Bottom row) Dr. Brenda Jackson (Vice Principal of Zion Preparatory Academy) and Flo King (Teacher at Zion Preparatory Academy - Mrs. Jonetta White (Wife of ASC boardmember - Geno White) and Bridgett Allen (friend of the Whites)



By Bartley Felder

Simply put, a toddler is a young child learning to walk and can range in age from one to three or so years in age. While toddlers are demonstrably curious about everything, those of us fortunate enough to spend time with them sometimes feel as if every minute of our time and every ounce of our energy are being sapped in our attempt to keep up and catch up with them as they scurry about discovering the world. Most of the time we revel and marvel in these non-stop activities. Surprising joy can come from re-discovering the forgotten and over looked ingredients of which life is made viewed from the perspective of a toddler. Just as our "patience battery" begins to run low, the toddler will do or say something that brings joy to your heart. During that rare moment when you realize all is quiet, there he/she is concentrating very hard on extracting that tiny piece of lint embedded in the carpet. As he/she triumphantly “toddles” to bring it to you, your heart melts at this newly demonstrated awareness, initiative, dexterity, and comprehension. What dad does not turn to putty when his 2 year old tries to grab his moustache that keeps moving every time he speaks or the 3 year old who tries to cross his legs like Dad even though his little legs cannot quite make it…..yet. Or how about mom, while getting dressed sees her toddler walking in high-heeled shoes with a pretend cell phone at her ear saying who knows what. Or the joy reflected in the smiles on the faces of parishioners in church when the toddler sitting on Mom or Dad's lap in the congregation begins to mimic the movements of the choir director as she directs the choir. While these antics would cause one to look askance at an older child or an adult and even cut a wide berth around them, in a toddler, these actions are sheer delight. The term "terrible two's" may be a catchy phrase, but is it accurate or even a fair description of this extremely intelligent child during this phase of development. It is easy to see the negatives, but perhaps a conscious attempt to focus on the positives will invoke a new term. You tell me. Toddlers learn at breakneck speed and their experiences are being hard-wired for life; therefore it would behoove each of us to savor and encourage (or maybe sometimes discourage) every aspect of it, or we will surely miss a priceless moment that may never be repeated. Bartley Felder is a native of Washington D.C., has a BA degree in Anthropology, who has traveled the globe and loves to write.

Pacific Northwest

Orthodontics C. Neil Nicholson, D.D.S. Orthodontist

2815 S. McClellan Street Seattle, WA 98144 (206) 722-5000 8

November 7th & 8th – Sixth Annual Jefferson County Holiday Fair, Come one, come all! Get a head start on the holiday season at this annual event! Enjoy a day of browsing stocking stuffers, gifts, arts and crafts and a whole lot more. Top the day off with festive food and festive entertainment. There will be fun for the entire family. For more info visit (PORT TOWNSEND) November 14th – Family Day at the Burke Museum! Meet the Mammals. Discover the diversity of mammals, ranging from foxes to whales. Talk to mammalogists, touch bones, pelts, horns, and antlers, and see amazing specimens including enormous whale skulls! Activities include mask making, drawing and mammal costume contest. This event is included with museum admission. Time: 10am – 4pm. For more info visit (SEATTLE) November 14th & 15th – Washington Fruit Place at Barrett Orchards presents a Christmas Open House. Just because it's winter it doesn't mean that the fun is over at the orchards! Come enjoy Washington specialty foods all day, hot apple cider, and look for potential Christmas gifts for the family! For more info visit (YAKIMA) November 18th to 22nd – Disney on Ice presents Worlds of Fantasy, from wheels to waves, Pride Lands to pixie dust, your family's favorite Disney moments come to life at Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Fantasy with dazzling skating, special effects and beloved characters certain to create a lifetime of memories. For more info visit (SPOKANE) November 21st & 22nd – Get into the Holiday spirit with a visit to Wenatchee's Festival of Trees. This wonderland of Christmas enchantment features full-sized trees, mini trees and wreaths decorated by local organizations, businesses and clubs. And to up the ante on your holiday excitement, there are holiday concerts with music and choral groups and a Gala Auction and Dinner featuring an exclusive 5-course meal. For children, there is a gingerbread village, Santa's workshop, a Teddy Bear Tea - and the big event - a visit with St. Nick himself. Location: Performing Arts Center of Wenatchee, for more info visit (WENATCHEE)

November 26th thru December 27th - Portland International Raceway presents Winter Wonderland Lights. Recognized throughout the Pacific Northwest as the "Largest Holiday Light Show West of the Mississippi", the 17th annual Winter Wonderland - Powered by Comcast will grab your attention with glimmers and glows around every corner. Since 1993, a journey through Winter Wonderland has become a Holiday tradition for many families, friends, and social organizations to celebrate the spirit of the holiday season. Please call or visit website for exact days of operation. Time: 5pm – 11pm. For more info call (503) 232-3000 or visit (PORTLAND) November 27th – Macy’s 2009 Holiday Parade, Presented by The Oregonian and Entercom radio, the 2009 Holiday Parade will feature more than 25 inflatable floats, local middle and high school marching bands and nearly 500 costumed characters. Time: 8:45 am. New Parade Route: Formation will begin at NW Park and Davis, then travel east to Broadway, south on Broadway to SW Alder, east on Alder (past Macy’s) to 4th, north on 4th to NW Flanders, west on Flanders to Park for disband. For more info call (503) 223-0512. (PORTLAND) November 28th - Oregon Zoo Zoolights 2009. The zoo comes alive as you walk through this winter wonderland of more than a million lights. This winter festival includes our lighted zoo train, choral and ensemble music, and our fantastic gift shop. Closed Dec. 24 and 25. For more info visit (PORTLAND) 9


The fact that the nation has recently experienced and is now slowly emerging from a recession, leads one to believe that no one has any money to save. But if you’ve been reading the newspaper or listening to the news broadcasts lately, you know that the opposite is true - the savings rate is higher now than it was before the recession.

By Patrycia L. Taylor

There is an inverse relationship between saving and spending - when one goes up, the other goes down – and in a recession the assumption is that most of our money is needed for spending on basics like food, clothing and shelter. Before the recession, saving money did not appear to be a concern for the masses. Saving was way down, spending was way up. People assumed that their jobs and paychecks were secure. It was no problem to qualify for credit cards or mortgages. Financial institutions were throwing credit at anyone who had a pulse. On top of that, consumers put faith in their rapidly rising home values and began to tap into their home equity and lines of credit. The running joke for a while was that people were using their homes as ATM machines. For some consumers, there were just too many temptations or opportunities to ignore. One author described it this way: “Americans are spending and consuming like there is no tomorrow, and we’re not doing it with cash”.

Now that confidence in their income status quo has been compromised, consumers have proven that they do know how to save when necessary. They proved it also back in the mid 1980’s, when consumer credit was not easily attainable. Consumers had to save up their money in anticipation of large purchases. The savings rate reached a high of 14.6% in 1975, and settled around 10.9% in 1982. Compare these highs to the savings rate before the recession. During those years, Americans were saving at a negative rate, around -1%. The current savings rate is round 6%. Economic analysts calculate the savings rate by subtracting taxes and spending from personal income. You can calculate your own personal savings rate and see if your perception of what you’re savings equals your reality. To calculate this rate, determine your annual income and your annual savings. Note that savings is money set aside that you don’t spend. If you save money to spend later, it doesn’t count for this equation. A simplified version is shown below.


If you made $100,000 last year and managed to save $7,000, your personal savings rate is 7%, Compared to the current 6% for the nation, you would be doing very well.

7,000 ————— 100,000



= 7%

But let’s say you had a hard time this past year. You had to charge about $2,000 on your credit card and you used up $3,000 of your savings. Your formula would then look like this:

-2,000 + -3,000 ————— 100,000


-5,000 ————— 100,000





You can see how it is possible to put cash aside, but not really save money. If your personal savings rate is negative, work towards increasing it to a high positive number. Remember: (1) Saving brings order to your finances (2) The habit of saving initially means more than the amount of savings. (3) Those who pay themselves first get wealthy, those who pay themselves last break even or go broke, and those who don’t pay themselves at all can become destitute. *Patrycia L. Taylor, MBA is a Financial Advisor living in South Seattle. You may contact her via email at



By Susan Thoman

Fall is the time when the leaves change color, the wind rustles the trees, and people put their gardens to bed for the winter. It is also time to collect leaves for a compost pile, hook up a rain barrel, mulch plants and shrubs to protect roots from freezing, plant bulbs for spring color, or spend rainy, cold nights with a natural gardening book. Carl Woestin is the Landscape Conservation & Waste Prevention Team Lead for Seattle Public Utilities. Since 2003, he and a team of experts have taught local residents to grow organic food, make and use compost, choose the right plants, learn proper watering techniques, and grow healthy lawns and gardens without using chemicals. This past spring, local courses were offered in Wedgewood, the Central Area, Beacon Hill and Mt. Baker. Over 240 people participated in evening coursework. As the seasons change again, consider your plans and set goals to be "greener" by considering what you do in your home and your own back yard. By recycling food and yard waste and learning earth-friendly gardening and landscaping techniques, the community helps minimize pollution, keeps lakes and streams clean for salmon, minimizes erosion, and creates healthier neighborhoods. To learn more about natural yard and lawn care and future educational opportunities offered in the city, email: (Seattle) or (King County).

*Susan Thoman has been working in the environmental field since 1986. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Washington State Recycling Association, and also has a passion for writing about community sustainability. 11


Beautiful, talented, professional, intelligent, respectful, and just “allAmerican” girls. These are the words I use to describe The Eriam Sisters. I met these talented sisters prior to their appearance on America’s Got Talent. They were on program to perform at the 4th of July Celebration in Renton, WA at Coulon Park. I enjoyed their performance so much that I had to get them for Urban Life Northwest. Little did I know at that time, these girls were on their way to take America by storm on national television. When I found out that they were going to be on America’s Got Talent, I was excited for them and when the show aired, I watched intently. These girls did Washington proud! Although they did not win the show. They made it to the finals and gave the other performers a run for their money. In my interview with them, they expressed how much fun they had on the show. They said it was the best experience of their lives (thus far). They hope that the people they’ve met will be instrumental to their success.

Who are the Eriam Sisters? Sisters by birth and sisters in every sense of the word. They have a true love and respect for each other. As siblings, they admit they don’t always get along but they are always willing to work out their issues and say I’m sorry. They even wrote a song about their lives as sisters entitled - No More. This song, as they explained it, says I’m sorry, which sisters, at times fail to say. There are no big “I’s” and little “u’s” in this group. They are a family and a team. Working together to achieve a dream.

At age 16, Lianda is the oldest. Next is Salina, age 15 and the baby of the group is Haben, age 12. Their proud parents are Mulugheta and Tiblets Eriam. Originally from East Africa, the family moved to Washington when their father, Mulugheta started working for Boeing. These girls are not only talented vocally but they also possess other talents. I was surprised to learn that Haben is a talented artist. She shared a few of her drawings and sketches with me during the interview and I must say, that if she ever changes her mind about music, the art world will welcome her with open arms. They all agree that Salina is the “smart” one, who maintains a 4.0 grade average. She said that if she was not singing, she would become a lawyer. Lianda is the dancer of the group, she is the only one who can use her second talent to the benefit of the group.

There is an album in the works that I’m sure will take The Eriam Sister’s career into a whole new level. I will definitely announce the release of their album when the time comes. In the meantime, look for them at local events. They love their fans and are never too busy to say hello. They get lots of positive and supportive comments on their Facebook and MySpace pages. They try to read every comment they receive and send a response but at times that is not always possible, remember these girls are still in school and that is a priority as well as their career. So if you don’t get a response, don't take it to heart, because they are doing their best to manage school, career and family.

These girls have what it takes - talent, determination, personality and looks. With their talent, I’m sure success is in their future. *Photos by Lorie Woods of Beaux Arts Studios,



By Karla D. Clark, special contributor

Up close and Personal with Grammy Award-Winning, Multi-Platinum Recording Artist Monica. She Talks about her New Show, Motherhood and Overcoming Trials

What happened to Monica? That has been the burning question in many young R&B fans minds for the last few years. The sassy young artist who topped the charts bringing us hip tunes such as “Don’t Take it Personal” and “The Boy is Mine”, a duet with Brandy, all of a sudden disappeared leaving a gap on the R&B scene. Now, after dealing with the loss of loved ones, health issues and motherhood, Monica is back and stronger than ever. She has a new reality show on Black Entertainment Television (BET) called Monica: Still Standing, a fitting title given what she has been through. The original BET series which airs Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. gives viewers an intimate look into the singer’s everyday life. Initially when the show’s executive producer James DuBose approached Monica with the idea of doing the “docu-drama”, she had reservations. “It was very scary stepping into the type of situation that would expose me and my life,” said Monica. “I thought about being judged and being under a microscope.” However, after some words of wisdom from her mom and working with DuBose on an hour-long “test” show that aired on Peachtree Television, Monica felt at ease. “I was able to see that James wanted to truly show my life and not put together something that was scripted or high *Photo courtesy of Black Entertainment Television drama,” Monica states. A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Monica Denise Arnold made a splash into the music world as an R&B / pop singer and songwriter at just 15 years old. She became the youngest female artist ever to have two back-to-back No. 1 hits on Billboard's R&B singles chart and later added acting to her list of accomplishments. Now at age 29, even with all of her success, Monica isn’t immune to trials and tribulations. At age 18, Monica lost three people very close to her—including a cousin, her grandmother and her boyfriend at the time Jarvis Weems who committed suicide right in front of her. A few years later, her dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Although he miraculously made it through, Monica found the pressure of everything mounting up on her which eventually affected her own health and forced her to take some time off. “I needed to slow down. Everything that happened forced me to step back and take a look at who I wanted to be. My faith brought me through it all. I wish more people knew about the love of Christ,” said Monica. “In my family we don’t believe in getting stuck on the negative. We bond together and find the positive. That is the moral of my show. Our love and support for one another,” continues the superstar. The title of Monica’s television show “Still Standing” is also the title of her much anticipated fifth album scheduled for release in December. Like the TV show, the album will mainly focus on Monica’s life and overcoming obstacles. There will also be a few finger snapping, head bobbing tunes as well featuring artists such as T-Pain (who Monica swears can actually sing!), Missy Elliot, Neyo and Stargate and Polow to name a few. When asked who she would like to work with that she hasn’t yet, Monica enthusiastically says Mary J. Blige, who has been a significant supporter professionally and personally. Even with a busy career and all of life’s challenges, Monica is a loving mother of two young boys Romelo and Rodney. “My boys always come first. Before career, before anything,” said Monica. In addition to the show and album, the singer has a new clothing line coming out in 2010. Inspired by her sons, her Regions of Rock clothing line will feature hip styles for boys only. As far as what the future holds, Monica says she has some more acting in her plans but right now she’s taking one day at a time. “I constantly pray about what God wants me to do. Right now, I feel the show is a way for me to help people who might have gone through similar trials,” Monica said. 14

*Karla D. Clark is a publicist and freelance writer.

By Jacob Galfano At Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center (LHPAC), Artistic Director Jacqueline Moscou believes the 2008 Obama Campaign is more than a historical social movement: it is a passport to global theater communities as the play moves from London to Seattle and cities beyond. This October at LHPAC, Moscou will direct Obama on My Mind, a musical comedy by playwright Teddy Hayes. Hayes – an African-American living in London – wrote the musical because he wanted to stage the energy of last year’s campaign injected by those individuals behind-its-scenes. To help prepare his tour of the musical abroad, Hayes invited Moscou for a month-long residency in London to collaborate with him, his cast, and other theater companies. Jacqueline Moscou The production’s developments have both Moscou and Hayes inspired: “The most exciting thing for everyone here is the talent I've assembled in Seattle. From the musical director and choreographer to the set designer, it is clear the vision of the playwright is taking a leap,” said Moscou from London.

Now back in Seattle, Moscou returns her focus from global to local; she will direct LHPAC’s production of the U.S. premiere of Obama on My Mind, which features a dynamic cast of actors. Some are deeply experienced and well-traveled, like Demene Hall, Ron Davids, Josephine Howell and Umeme; others are newer to calling LHPAC home, like Annie Jantzer and Kimbre Lancaster. All have a strong commitment to enhancing Seattle theater by utilizing the global reach of this project. While in London, Moscou found the impact of the momentous Obama Campaign on those of African descent to be remarkable – even thousands of miles away and almost a year later: “One woman told me she felt she was treated differently after [Obama] won. Another described the looks in the eyes of the young Black children at an East London school that Michelle Obama visited as those of sheer joy. She said it made her want to be a child at that school and that she could not imagine that a Black American could produce such awe and inspiration.” Which is precisely what LHPAC Executive Director Royal Alley-Barnes hopes to accomplish: “Promoting a musical that is about a political experience in a non-partisan way but still infused with humor and good fun is a welcomed challenge,” adds Alley-Barnes. “We will attract scrutiny, but this is a play about people, not political parties.” Moscou agrees that now is the time for this musical: “Americans need to see energetic dancing, catchy songs, and great fun; shared humor brings us together. We are going to depict exaggerated characters under extraordinary circumstances… otherwise it isn’t theater. Theater is always a little larger-than-life.” But she does not want to lose sight of the bigger picture either: “The story takes the audience right up to that sheer historical moment that illuminates the magnitude of the movement, the global experience of seeing an AfricanAmerican in the White House. In other words, it will capture the essence of how exciting it is to win!”

* Jacob Galfano works with the LHPAC and is a freelance writer.



By Lora-Ellen McKinney, Ph.D One definition of the word ambassador is “an authorized messenger or representative” of a particular group or mission. Seattle’s Youth Ambassadors are a diverse group of: …committed and inspiring teens ranging from sixth grade to university students. This group of leaders strives to connect to their community by influencing with the powers of peace, love, and compassion. Started in 2007, they are the brainchild of Lori Markowitz, a community activist. These fifty youth began their initial relationships with an invitation to participate as Youth Ambassadors to mark the arrival of the Dalai Lama in Seattle. As part of the Seeds of Compassion, a five day event to explore ways to increase compassion in youth, the youth met world faith, education, civic leaders and rock stars all dedicated to making the world a better place. The youth were so moved by what they learned during these five days that they decided to stay together as a group. They realized that they had become a family committed to serving others. The Youth Ambassadors now meet monthly, deepening their friendships, exploring the definitions of compassion, and carrying out service projects that touch the hearts of people in need.

Dandre with fellow Youth Ambassadors

Dandre (pronounced DeAndre) Glasby, a Youth Ambassador, proudly lives the definition of “ambassador” every day. A 11th grade student attending Renton High School, Dandre recently rallied the group to assist an elder of the community, Mama Jackson, whose home was in need of serious repair. This is how the idea emerged: Dandre was being interviewed about gentrification by TVW, a community television station, when they came upon a house that had serious problems. A man was sitting on the porch who noted his concerns that the condos being built in the neighborhood were making life difficult for long-time residents of the neighborhood. He went inside the house and out came Mama Jackson who explained that the shift in the neighborhood has led to a series of mortgage increases that she feared might put keeping her home beyond her reach at some point. Dandre thought that the least he could do was to stabilize the home’s curb appeal. He checked in with Lori Markowitz, got the go-ahead, and approached the Youth Ambassadors.

The youth spent several months rebuilding the front stairs, painting the house’s exterior, cleaning the yard and building an access ramp for this sweet, funny and devout woman with whom they now have a special and cherished relationship. Thankful for their help, Mama Jackson invited the Youth Ambassadors to attend church services with her at the New Hope Baptist Church. Dandre said” It was a great experience. We were lots of different religious cultures. The preacher had words that moved us all. And we had dinner afterwards and shared our experiences. For some Youth Ambassadors, this was a new experience; for others it was familiar. In the context of this service, however, these young people were recognized for the work that they had done on behalf of a woman who needed and appreciated it. It was a moment that created a spiritual bond for all involved. Grateful tears flowed. For Dandre, this is simply part of what it means to engage in service to others. It is important for him to find avenues for service. When he graduates he plans to attend culinary school to open a restaurant; he understands that creating moods through delicious food is one way that we take care of each other. “I have to live life differently,” he says. “I’ve had too many friends die. Just this year. Violently. So all that I do has to make a difference.” The compassionate response creating non-violent models or to helping an elder is the same: you see a need. You fill it. You don’t look for praise or individual credit. Everyone has a role to play. Everyone will lead when it is their turn. Dandre did a remarkable job of pulling his community together to create a safe home for Mama Jackson. He beautifully lives out the definition of what it means to be a Youth Ambassador. And he plants seeds of compassion so that they can grow. In his family of friends who comprise the Youth Ambassadors. In the hearts of those who learn of their work. And in the spirit of a woman who can now feel secure in her home. 16

*Lora-Ellen McKinney, Ph.D. is an expert in community health, social services, social justice and education. She heads her own consulting firm and is a published author.

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By Cherita Raines, MD, MPH

Low back pain is a common symptom driving people go see their primary care physician. Acute episodes of back pain are usually self limited. However, people with persistent or fluctuating pain that lasts longer than three months are defined as having chronic low back pain. Estimates, of the economic impact of chronic low back pain, range from $12.2 to $90.6 billion annually. Alas, there are some things that you can do at home to help ease the pain.

What can cause low back injury?

Many things can cause low back injury including muscle strain or spasm, ligament sprains, joint problems or herniated disk (“slipped disk). However, the most common cause is using your back muscles in activities you are not used to, like doing yard work or lifting heavy furniture.

What can I do for relief when I’ve hurt my lower back? Lie on your back on the floor with pillows under your knees, with your hips and knees bent and your feet on a chair, or just with your hips and knees bent. This takes the pressure and weight of your back. It may take 1 or 2 days of this kind of rest for a hurt back. However, resting longer than this can cause your muscles to weaken and slow your recovery. Even if it hurts, walk around for a few minutes every hour. Heating pads can also relax muscles spasms. You can use heat for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. Ice packs and massages can also provide some relief. In addition, there are nonprescription (over the counter) medicines that reduce pain or swelling including aspirin, acetaminophen (brand name: Tylenol), naproxen (brand name: Aleve) and ibuprofen (brand name: Motrin). Please take these medications as directed on their packaging.

Call your doctor if you are experiencing any of the following: • Pain goes down your leg below your knee • Your leg, foot, groin or rectal area feels numb • You have fever, nausea or vomiting, stomachache, weakness or sweating • You lose control over going to the bathroom • Your pain was caused by an injury • Your pain is so intense you can’t move around Your pain doesn’t seem to be getting better after 2 to 3 weeks

Tips for preventing back strain: • Don’t lift by bending over. Lift an object by bending your knees and squat• • •

ting to pick up the object. Keep your back straight and hold the object close to your body. Avoid twisting your body while lifting. Push rather than pull when you must move heavy objects. If you must sit at your desk or at the wheel of a car or truck for long hours, break up the time with stops to stretch. Wear flat shoes or shoes with low heels, 1 inch or lower. Exercise regularly. An inactive lifestyle contributes to lower back pain.

As with all medical advice, please contact your family physician if you have any questions. *Dr. Raines is a practicing physician at the UW’s Roosevelt Family Medicine Clinic in Seattle, WA. To contact Dr. Raines, send an email to



By M. Roberts I’ve always loved the beauty and majesty of the fall season. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have nestled in the backdrop picturesque views of Mt. Rainier, the Olympic and Cascade Mountain Ranges. Tree leaves convert water and sunlight into glucose (their food source) through photosynthesis. The glorious red, yellow and orange colors we see are caused by a reduction of the amount of chlorophyll in the leaves which is what allows them to maintain their green color. In the very same manner for which we have the ability to choose to recognize or dismiss the beauty of nature; we also have the ability to choose to recognize the existential beauty that exists in people, our opportunities, as well as, our trials. It is a choice. She may choose to see the potential in her opportunities, choose to see the best in people and/or choose to see the best that life has to offer. Her perspective dictates her outlook. Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV of the Bible states: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” There is not only hope in that verse, but also reassurance. Everyone can choose to see the beauty in our lives, our opportunities and in all people because God chooses to see the beauty in us, as well as give us a future and a hope. Your present circumstances today do not dictate the outcome for your future. There is real beauty in that irrefutable fact. In fact, beauty can be found in practically any situation; if one looks hard enough. It’s all in how you choose to view the circumstances. If you are going through a difficult trial that is really testing your patience and your faith, remember the aforementioned assurance from God’s word. The leaves on the trees return to being green in the spring after photosynthesis begins to occur again. If the Lord provides for the trees, flowers, plants, birds and other animals; how much more would he be willing to do for those who were created in His glorious image? Neither doubt, worry, fear nor depression is from God. Every test ultimately yields a testimony, every challenge brings forth opportunity and every doubt, worry and concern provides a premise from which to rejoice, praise and realize the beauty of a future and a hope that the Lord has designed specifically for you. It’s all in what you choose to see. May you always continually choose to recognize the beauty that is already in you and around you, and gain strength from the promise of beautiful things to come, with an assurance of hope for the future.

M. Roberts is a motivational speaker, marketing consultant and trainer. He is the author of three books. To contact M. Roberts send and email to 19


So the holiday season is upon us. When I was asked to be an Urban Life Northwest contributor, I was very excited to share my passion for cooking. I am a huge fan of the holiday season. Cooking and entertaining clients and friends is what I live for. My love for holiday cooking began with what my mother and grandmother would cook for the holidays. One of the things, I would always look forward to were the rum balls my mother would make. I loved them so much that while in the navy, my mother sent a batch to me as a care package. When they arrived on the ship she gained a few more sons. The guys on board begged me to ask her to send more. Over time, I added my own twist to this recipe. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a huge Jack Daniels fan. So the recipie I will share with you this month, I call “Jack Bites”. Enjoy!

2-table spoons cocoa powder 1-cup powdered sugar 2 teaspoons chino 5 ¼ -cup Jack Daniels 2 -table spoons light corn syrup 2 -cups crushed vanilla wafers 1 -cup chopped pecans

Sift cocoa, chino 5 and powdered sugar into a bowl. Stir in Jack Daniels which has been combined with the syrup. Mix well, add crumbs and nuts and mix well again. Roll into small balls. Drop into a bowl of powdered sugar; roll around to coat on all sides. Allow to dry for several hours or overnight. It even freezes well. Depending on the size, this recipe makes about 3 dozen tasty Jack Bites. *if you are making this for kids or non drinkers substitute Jack Daniels with either coke or vanilla extract **chino 5 is a special spice created by Chef Amadeus, to get this spice, visit his website at


To contact Chef Amadeus or if you have any questions about your holiday cooking send an email to

1- small onion 1 - celery stalk 2 tsp. butter 1 - cup of shrimp 1 - jar of oysters 1- cup of crab 1- cup of lobster Parsley to taste Black pepper to taste

By Evelyn Ray

Make cornbread dressing according to the direction on the box of cornmeal. Preparation: SautĂŠ onions and celery in butter until soft, lower the heat then add pepper and parsley, continue to cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Cut seafood into bite sized pieces then add to your sautĂŠed veggies, cook for another 4-5 minutes. Add this mixture to your prepared cornbread dressing. If this seems too dry, add chicken broth to get the consistency you want. Place in a shallow baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve with your favorite meats and side dishes. Enjoy!

*Evelyn Ray is the owner of Royal Catering. Her dishes have a Southern flare but are influenced by local ingredients. You may contact Evelyn at


Tim Jackson, is a nationally syndicated cartoonist, illustrator and graphic designer. Monthly, he creates original illustrations specifically for Urban Life Northwest.



By Djuna Basconcelo Trust me, this only looks boring at first glance, once you fully grasp the meaning, you’ll get excited. First a disclaimer, this not some fancy, risky, sub prime thing that led us into our current financial situation. It is legal, IRS sanctioned, and doesn’t put people into more house than they can afford. Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) is not a mortgage, it is a tax credit for first time home buyers that puts extra money in each paycheck so house payments are more affordable. This means fewer tax dollars are withheld from regular payroll, increasing take home pay. Imagine getting back 20% of the mortgage interest you pay for as long as you live in the home, this is a dollar for dollar savings, not just a deduction. It saves the homeowner tens of thousands of dollars in interest payments over the life of a loan. The MCC converts 20% of the mortgage interest paid annually to a tax credit when taxes are filed with the IRS. The other 80% of mortgage interest paid remains tax deductible. The certificate stays with you as long as you own and live in the home, so refinancing is an option. The MCC can be used in addition to the $8,000 tax credit. To qualify in King and Snohomish counties annual income is limited to $90,000, or up to $97,000 under certain circumstances. A first time homebuyer is someone who has never owned a home, or has not owned one in the last 3 years. Wage earners, salaried people, and 1099 workers are eligible. This program is for purchases not refinancing. Debt to income ratios, credit scores, and other basic loan qualifications still apply. There is a 1 time MCC fee of $750. Example A Example B 1. Mortgage Loan Amount



2. Interest Rate



3. First Year’s Interest



4. Mortgage Credit Certificate Rate 20%


5.Calculate the tax credit line 3 X 20%



6. Calculate Monthly Benefit line 5 / 12 months



The monthly benefit on line 6 of our 2 examples “grosses up” wages and salaries, meaning it is counted as income allowing a person, if they choose, to buy a home in a higher price range. Imagine moving from the $185,000 maximum purchase price up to $235,000. That can make a major difference in the size, location, or condition of the home the buyer buys. In this example the family was able to buy the home they really wanted instead of the one they could live with. There are only 2 lenders in the Puget Sound area qualified to offer this program, if this can help you are someone you know contact me via e-mail and I will put you in touch with an MCC expert. *Djuna Basconcelo has worked for Keller Williams Realty for 10 years. She specializes in helping her clients find homes that they love. Visit her website at


1408 22nd Avenue Seattle, WA 98122 (206) 322-6410

November 5th - For networking and community activism attend First Thursday Seattle, Location: Rainier Vista Boys & Girls Club, Time: 6:00 pm. For more info call W. Larry Williams at (206) 852-8145 or email (SEATTLE) November 5th – FREE first Thursday! On the first Thursday of each month from now to January 2010, admission to the Burke Museum is free and the museum will remain open until 8 pm. Enjoy our current featured exhibit at no cost! For more info visit (SEATTLE) November 7th – SRJO A Tribute to Ray Charles: Genius + Soul = Jazz, The award-winning Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra presents the opening concerts of its 2009-2010 subscription concert series with a celebration of the historic musical kinship of Quincy Jones and the great Ray Charles in a pair of concerts. For more info visit (SEATTLE) November 7th & 8th – Sixth Annual Jefferson County Holiday Fair, Come one come all! Get a head start on the holiday season at this annual event! Enjoy a day of browsing stocking stuffers, gifts, arts and crafts and a whole lot more. Top the day off with festive food and festive entertainment. There will be fun for the entire family. For more info visit (PORT TOWNSEND) Now – November 15th - Obama On My Mind, currently playing at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center. This entertaining musical comedy, directed by Jacqueline Moscou, is bound to be one you’ll remember fondly for many years to come. For more info call (206) 387-1177 (SEATTLE) Now to November 16th – Celebrating Breath by Eric D. Salisbury at C Art Gallery. Salisbury is a veteran painter who continues to express passion and evoke uplifting emotion with just a few strokes of the brush. Gallery Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday 3pm-6pm, Sunday 12-5 and by appt. Location: 855 Haiwatha Place South, for more info visit (SEATTLE) November 11th – 15th – Joint Admission Offer! The Museum of Glass and the Tacoma Museum of Art are teaming up to encourage patrons to visit both museums as each is featuring solo exhibitions by Native American artists who reference their culture in contemporary art. The ticket price is $15 for regular adult admission to both museums, a $6 savings over purchasing individual admission at each museum. For more info visit or (TACOMA) November 27th to December 31st – The Seattle Center present Seattle Winterfest 2009. Nothing says Christmas more than the Seattle WinterFest that takes place right after Thanksgiving until just before New Years. There will be a variety of live entertainment, food, activities for the kids, ice skating and a whole lot more! For more info visit (SEATTLE)

November 11th – Say Hey NW! Partners in Diversity invite you to attend this very special and fun event, another party to welcome new professionals of color relocating to Oregon or Southwest Washington, but there will also be a couple of special “twists” to make Say Hey a kick-off for the upcoming holidays! Dress Festive! Business (business or business casual is fine for men), ethnic attire, or cocktail attire is optional but encouraged! Location: Multnomah Athletic Club,1849 S.W. Salmon Street, Time: 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, If you are new or would like to suggest we contact someone new to the area, please contact Vicki Nakashima, Partners in Diversity, or (503) 516-3505 (PORTLAND) November 12th - Urban League of Portland is having their Equal Opportunity Day Awards Dinner. Join us for our annual event to celebrate our programs, our progress and our fortitude. Location: The Oregon Convention Center, Portland Ballroom Time: 5:30pm to 9:00pm For more information contact Eli Liliedahl-Allen, Fund Development Officer for information regarding advertising, sponsorship, and tickets email, call (503) 280-2611 or click on the link (PORTLAND) November 27th – 29th – Oregon College of Art and Craft invite you to Enjoy fine wine, delicious hors d’oeuvres and a festive atmosphere at the special pre-sale preview on Friday, November 27 from 5:00-7:00pm in the College’s Craft Retail Gallery. All guests receive 10% off their total Craft Retail Gallery purchase and a raffle ticket for the chance to win a certificate for a Hands On Café Sunday Brunch, an original piece of artwork, or free tuition to a weekend workshop. If you are already a member of OCAC you will receive an additional 10% at the Friday pre-sale event. Admission is $3.00 for the Friday event only, and is free to the public on Saturday and Sunday. For more info visit (PORTLAND) 23

November 2009 Issue  

Our Arts and Entertainment Issue!!

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