Urban Sentinel (January 2021 Edition)

Page 1



KNOWLES The Ultimate Businessman


From The Desk of The Editor Reginald Kearney Editor

Corretta L. Doctor

Brandon J. Jolly

Business Manager

Layout Designer

Yvonne Medley

C. NaTasha Richburg



“Happy New Year” The year 2020 is behind us as we enter 2021. I hope and pray 2020 will be a year of new beginnings and opportunities. The year 2020 was an unbelievable year as we battled a pandemic, job loss, food lines, and many deaths which can be attributed to the COVID-19 Virus. It is my prayer that 2021 will bring us all back to a new normal because of the medical advances that have been made in developing a cure for the COVID-19 virus. This month’s cover features the “Ultimate Businessman”, Dr. Mathew Knowles. Dr. Knowles is an entrepreneur, author, educator, husband, father and grandfather. He is well versed in music, history, business, and many things in between. After reading the article, you will be left with many new nuggets of inspiration. This issue also features a plethora of great stories that are filled with heartwarming sentiments and words of encouragement. We are excited for you to turn each page and enjoy the articles from front to back.

Musa Bangura

Anita Davis-DeFoe



Stacey Henry-Carr

Bridgette Alfred



Sarah Jefferis

Jay Arrington



Claudia Newby-Tynes

Dr. Sharon H. Porter



Urban Sentinel Magazine Address: 102 Discovery Ct.

We are striving to be a favorite magazine to readers around the world. We are reaching homes across nations and sharing stories of empowerment, inspiration and entertainment from the film, music and literary industries. In keeping with our broad approach to bringing you the very best information in a highly professional manner, we are striving to be the best. We value the feedback from our readers because it helps us to grow. Please email us at reginald.kearney@marylanddailyexaminer.com with your feedback. If you would like to advertise with us, send an email with the word ‘Advertise’ in the subject line. Like us on FaceBook at The Urban Sentinel, follow us on Twitter at @UrbanSentinel and you may follow us on Instagram at @theurbansentinel . Visit our website at www.UrbanSentinelMagazine.com . I invite you to view our new show, ‘Urban Sentinel Live’, which can be viewed on Facebook @UrbanSentinelLive on Monday nights at 8:30pmET. It is a half hour show that features guests that have been featured in the Urban Sentinel magazine. Shows will resume on January 11, 2021, as the staff is enjoying the Holiday Season.

La Plata, Maryland 20646 Phone: 301-661-3989 Editor Reginald Kearney Advertising Inquiries Phone: 301-661-3989 E-mail: reginald.kearney@marylanddailyexaminer.com Website: www.urbansentinel.com


Thank you for your continued support. The Urban Sentinel magazine and talk show are great ways to share amazing stories about amazing talent. We thank you in advance for sharing our brand with your fans, family, and followers. We hope you enjoy all of the great stories in the January 2021 edition.



Bryan Carroll


Bryan Carroll: Exposing Youth to Super Powers to do Good


Keep It Moving Forward in 2021


Leading!! It’s All About the Mindset


Dr. Fredrick Jacobs: Celebrity’s Soul Food CEO


Are You Blocking Your Success? Choose to “Get It Done 2021”!!


Mathew Knowles-The Multifaceted Intellect


Does Black Really Crack


4 Principles of Effective Leadership Part 2


Toyin Okunuga-Hush to Roar


Our Brother’s Keeper


Freedom’s Eve


Dr. Fredrick Jacobs



Dr. Anayo Umerah


The Rearview Mirror of my Mind


Joshua Proby


Let’s Talk Weight Loss


Chris Jasper: Still Making Love Songs


Rodney Perry: Loving to Make People Laugh


The Leather Man


Raising Daughters


Music From The heart of A Man


Her Love For Handbags


Positioning for the Pivot


Living From The Inside Out


I'm Speaking


Takia Ross Baltimore’s Beautiful Beacon of Light





Bryan Carroll E X P O S I NG YOU T H TO


by C. NaTasha Richburg for the urban sentinel It is not uncommon for youth in some communities to have a dream that helps motivate them to manage the ebbs and flows of life. In order for a child’s dream to manifest into successful gratification, the assistance of a loving adult may be required to show them the way. Bryan Carroll is that loving adult. The 36-year-old single father has an adorable 3-year-old daughter. Bryan has navigated his personal life’s dream to give many youth instructions on how to achieve the kind of dreams that replicates positive outcomes that afford intensively developed success stories. Bryan’s insightful energetic positive nature personifies many different roles such as educator, motivational speaker, community organizer, youth consultant, author, and behavioral specialist. Bryan’s outgoing nature afforded him a role on the Oprah Winfrey Network show, “Ready to Love Season 3 [which is] a dating series from Will Packer Media and Lighthearted Entertainment, that explores the real-life dating interactions of sexy, successful and grown black men and women in their 30s and 40s who are each looking for lasting love and an authentic relationship. A unique twist on a typical dating show, Ready to Love highlights the men's observations and experiences in the search for true love in Houston.” Bryan’s life’s journey that landed him a role on reality TV began in Baltimore, Maryland where he graduated from Randallstown High School as an All-State football and baseball player. After graduation, Bryan seized the opportunity to continue his passion for football at Grambling State University, later transferring to Louisiana Tech University to finish his college football career.

Twelve years ago Bryan took a leap of faith and purchased a one-way ticket from Baltimore, Maryland to arrive in Houston, Texas determined to tryout and win a spot on an Arena Football team. On day two of tryouts, Bryan made the Houston arena football team. Bryan’s dream of playing professional football was ultimately dashed by a broken ankle that made him missed pro day due to a series of hernia injuries that needed surgery. Bryan’s passion to make a professional football team later evolved into his desire to become an educator positioned to support the betterment of Houston, Texas youth, in and out of the classroom. Currently, Bryan teaches middle school in Houston. The experience in the classroom has developed an acute awareness in Bryan regarding how many of his students lacked the prerequisite literacy skills needed to be successful in life. From that awakening, Bryan used every opportunity to advocate selflessly on the behalf of underserved youth, regardless of whether the youth live in his community or in other communities throughout the United States. Bryan uses several types of his B super curriculum: 1) Social emotional learning (SEL), 2) Equity and; 3) Social skills to ensure uniformity of an educational approach. Each curriculum is designed to help educators and students navigate the systemically tough educational culture. Bryan also plans to open an early childhood learning center in the not-too-distant future that will prepare youth to read before entering school. What are the most important lessons your students have taught you? I learned patience from my students and the



importance of demonstrating unconditional love. Knowing that everyone is not an athlete or musician or scholar, I know all children have abilities. I need to do what I can to provide assessments for youth to help them find their personal life’s work. Imagine teaching students who can’t read due to many social and personal reasons. My team and I will be in place to determine what that child can achieve. In what additional ways have you tried to reach out to youth? I have written a children's book entitled "Super Sharing" and will be releasing its follow-up, "Super Strong" in early 2021. I want youth to know that they have super powers to do “good,” and I’m here to help them figure out their power. What programs do use to support the community? I have "coming of age" curriculums and mentoring programs that provide life skills, athletic training, college preparation, and coaching protocols for young athletes. With my non-profit organization Community Under Reconstruction through Education (CURE), I seek to encourage children to be strong mentally, socially, emotionally, and academically. CURE specializes in diverse intellectual and physical activities, in addition to offering training programs related to human development. Bryan's work in-group homes in Baltimore and Houston as a case manager, coupled with 10 years of teaching special education, has equipped him with the competencies needed to effectively reach those who have been labeled "hard to reach". Bryan has an infectious personality that radiates a reachable level of “hope”, revealing visual solutions in the thought processes of the youth’s mind before being actualized in reality. This level of “hope” is needed in these turbulent times. Bryan’s positive approach to life leverages creative ways to engage youth at different skill levels in a variety of ways to succeed in spite of their circumstances. Bryan’s ultimate goal, galvanized by a strong team of like-minded individuals, is to help our youth develop the necessary life and social skills needed to succeed in today's world. Website: https://bryancarrollandassociates.com/





by Claudia Newby-Tynes for the urban sentinel Time waits on no one. Try using a stop watch or

a plethora of complicated and life-threatening blows.

unplugging a clock from the electrical outlet in order to

Some people have uttered, "If one more thing happens,

control or stop time. Time keeps right on ticking. Have

that's it! I'm leaving!" Then in an instant, that one more

you ever tried to halt time because you needed more

unthinkable and unimaginable thing happens. That

than the 24-hour day you are allotted? Or have you ever

one more unthinkable and unimaginable thing that

yelled to the world, "Stop, I want to get off?" Of course

happened is the straw that broke the camel's back.

not! How ridiculous is that!

While this is not my present stance, there were some instances in my life where I totally related.

In 1978, "Stop the World, I Want to Get Off " was a New York Broadway musical starring Sammy Davis Jr. The

Doesn't this sounds just like Year 2020 all over again?

title alone is symbolic to living in a pandemic climate

Literally speaking, it's a good thing we cannot control

today in the 21st Century. The musical title also bears

or stop the world to get off when and where we want

some semblances of the lethargic and tired behaviors

because we are tired of life. But figuratively speaking, we

experienced by some during these tumultuous times.

can speak faith-filled words to the world situations. We can control every detrimental or negative circumstance

Listen up! The New Year 2021 has arrived, and it's

that's contrary to our own life. You see, we are living in

our time to go forth. It’s our time to keep it moving.

extraordinary and exciting times. I, too, am elated to

There is little time for half-stepping, making excuses,

be alive for such a time as this. Our time is now. Our

or getting stuck. Let's move forward into the plans and

NEW, NOW, and NEXT time is now! It's time for us to

purposes God has ordained for us in this season. He

go forth and possess every mountain in our sphere of

has provided revelatory lamps for our feet to illuminate

influence. There are seven (7) mountains of influence.

our pathways as we walk into our purposes.

Which mountain is yours to possess and reclaim? (1) Media

The world, as it appears, has dealt its inhabitants with



(3) Education (4)Economy

Yes, I create my worlds with words. What's your


superpower? The storms of life will throw us off balance

(6) Religion

at times. The mishaps of life will make us feel fatigued

(7) Arts and Entertainment

and lethargic. But when we open our mouths and speak to the contrary storms, they will cease. In Mark

God has given these mountains to us (the believers)

4:39 Jesus spoke to the storm, "Peace be still!" The

to possess and reclaim nations for His Kingdom and

Apostle Paul spoke to his life’s circumstances in Acts

showcase His glory in the earth. It's our time in 2021 to

20:24, "None of these things move me...." The Word

go forth and keep it moving forward. It’s manifestation

of God is our superpower when we speak them into the



How do you keep it moving forth? Read on. A few

In this New Year, I encourage you go forth and keep

months ago, my writer's eye caught a glimpse of a post

it moving forward into your NEW, NOW, and NEXT

on Facebook. The image displayed a black hoodie with

dimension. Happy New Year!

a graphic design of a vintage typewriter. The words inscribed on the hoodie read, "I create worlds with words.

What's your superpower?”

These words

reminded me of a biblical reference in Mark 11:23, paraphrased, "... I am a whosoever and I can have whatsoever I say." These words spoke to me, so I added the graphic on the lock and home screens of my cell phone. Are you getting the message now? You and I have to open our mouths and say something as I stated in my book, "Say So! Speak Up! Put Me in Remembrance of My Word" published in July 2019. As believers, we are reminded to align our words with the Word of God to effect change in our sphere of influence. Words are powerful and they matter. Speaking faith-filled words changes our thought patterns. When we change our thought patterns, we change our minds. And when we change our mind, we change our world.



It’s All About the Mindset by Anita Davis DeFoe for urban sentinel

The reality of the organizational matter is that no matter

return to work and nothing changes, they simply return to

how beautiful the office building, how intricate the computer

old behaviors, the old comfortable daily routines, the same

system, even the nature of the products and services

lackluster outcomes.

distributed in the marketplace, in the end, organizational results and impact are a reflection of leadership. It is reported

What is leadership mindset? These are the leaders’ mental

that organizations worldwide spend some $356 billion on

lenses that dictate what information they absorb, use to make

leadership development, yet Training Magazine reports

decisions and to navigate the situations they encounter, how

that 80% of organizations surveyed rated their leadership

he or she leads a team. Leadership mindset colors every

development programs as not very effective. Sadly, leadership

action. Without question, mindset drives what leaders do and

programs fail to achieve anticipated goals even though

why. This explains why two different leaders might encounter

over 80% of organizations rate leadership development

the situation but process and respond to it very differently.

programming as a priority according to a 2019 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report.

You may wonder: if mindsets are so important, which ones should a leader develop? A scan of social sciences research

Why aren’t companies getting more bang for their leadership

identified four distinct sets of mindsets that have been found

development buck? It is suggested that the reason is most

to affect leaders’ ability to engage with others, navigate change

likely because the vast majority of leadership development

more successfully, and perform in their leadership roles more

efforts overlook a specific attribute that is foundational to how


leaders think, learn, and behave: their mindsets. Growth and Fixed Mindsets. A growth mindset is a belief It is noted that whether a solo entrepreneur or a leader within

that people, including self, can change their talents, abilities,

an organizational setting, an alarming number of individuals

and intelligence. Conversely, those with a fixed mindset do

who attend trainings forget roughly 70% of new information

not believe that people can change their talents abilities and

shared within 24 hours. Too many managers after training

intelligence. Those with a growth mindset are more mentally



primed to approach and take on challenges, take advantage of feedback, adopt the most effective problem-solving strategies,

Promotion and Prevention Mindsets. Leaders with a

provide developmental feedback to subordinates, and be

promotion mindset are focused on winning and gains. They

effortful and persistent in seeking to accomplish goals.

identify a specific purpose, goal, or destination and prioritize making progress toward it. Leaders with a prevention mindset,

Learning and Performance Mindsets. A learning mindset

however, are focused on avoiding losses and preventing

involves being motivated toward increasing one’s competence

problems at all costs. It has been suggested that those that

and mastering something new. A performance mindset

those with a promotion mindset are more prone to positive

involves being motivated toward gaining favorable judgements

thinking, more open to change, more likely to persist despite

(or avoiding negative judgements) about one’s competence.

challenges and setbacks, and demonstrate higher levels of task

Leaders with a learning mindset, compared to those with a

performance and innovative behaviors compared to leaders

performance mindset, are more mentally primed to increase

with a prevention mindset.

their competence, engage in deep-level learning strategies, seek out feedback, and exert more of an effort. They are

Mindset is so critical because it drives every opinion you

also persistent, adaptable, willing to cooperate, and tend to

have, every decision you make, and every action you take. It

perform at a higher level.

influences the culture around you and sets the tone for your team. It determines whether you first seek to understand or

Deliberative and Implemental Mindsets. Leaders with a

rush to judgment. It shapes your decisions around how you

deliberative mindset have a heightened receptiveness to all

focus your organization’s efforts on creating, marketing,

kinds of information as a way to ensure that they think and act

and delivering your products and services, as well as the

as optimally as possible. Leaders with an implemental mindset,

expectations you create for your team or collaborative

are more focused on implementing decisions. Comparing the


two, leaders with deliberative mindsets tend to make better decisions because they are more impartial, more accurate, and less biased in their processing and decision making.


How are you leading?

Celebrity’s Soul Food CEO

Dr. Fredrick Jacobs



Celebrity’s Soul Food CEO Dr. Fredrick Jacobs by Paula Bernette Brooks for urban sentinel

Dr. Fredrick Jacobs heads up Celebrity’s Soul Food, a thriving restaurant franchise company. Although many restaurants are closing due to the pandemic, Celebrity’s Soul Food is continuing to add franchises across the country. Dr. Jacobs stated emphatically that his parents raised him to put God first in all things! He believes his faith is the foundation of success in his many endeavors. Despite PhD’s in Theology and Counseling, he remains humble and is comfortable being referred to as simply “Dr. J.” A radio personality, therapist, pastor and philanthropist, Dr. J. is determined to make “Soul Food” a cuisine that is well-known, savored and marketed globally! When asked how in the world he manages so many different projects successfully, Dr. J stated unequivocally that he could never make it without the love, care and support of his wife, Taja Jacobs, known affectionately as


“Lady J!” Lady J is also a Minister and Chief Sustainability Officer of Celebrity’s Soul Food Management Company. The husband and wife team are evenly yoked partners in all their ventures, including parenting two children that the doctor told her she would never be able to have! Dr. J revealed that they met in seminary school when he was 27 years old. At the time, he was selling insurance and Lady J became his appointment setter. He stated that he realized she was the one for him, when she continued to set appointments for him from her hospital bed. Lady J. stated with gratitude, “Dr. J and I have something super special that only God could have established. He had me at the word ‘Hello!’ Our entire journey is rich with seeing the hand of God. We are a unique family that has evident fruit of our love for God and our love for each other!” Dr. J believes that although the pandemic is a scourge to many in the restaurant business, it also presents an exciting opportunity for restaurant workers to become business owners! He explained that his company is debt free and connected to all the resources needed to launch and maintain a Soul Food restaurant. Dr. J is excited about assisting workers who have always dreamed of owning their own restaurant achieve their dreams. He stated with enthusiasm, “Even with the pandemic, we are still growing! We have grown 140% since the beginning of the pandemic! We have furloughed no one and have continued to hire! I’m also pleased to say that even though I’m an African-

American CEO, my company is very diverse. We are expanding in New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. Of course we are developing in Atlanta and Florida! We’re trailblazers in territories where you never knew Soul Food to be, or where it doesn’t even exist!” Dr. J continued earnestly, “As we go into the New Year, I want people to know that although the pandemic is causing disruptions, it’s also giving them an opportunity to stop and think. People have been dreaming a long time, and working long hours for other people’s businesses. They have never dared to step out to do it for themselves! The pandemic gave these hard workers time to pause and reflect on their lives. Some of them may have realized that they have nothing to show for their hard work. Some may also worry about leaving a legacy for their children. Many of the people that I’m bringing on are becoming empowered, pivoting and walking toward their dreams!” With so many well established restaurants closing their doors or laying off workers due to the pandemic, it was only natural to wonder exactly how Celebrity’s Soul Food franchises will stay afloat. Dr. J’s answer was multi-pronged. First and foremost he stressed that the parent corporation supports their businesses in every way. From helping them find prime real estate and negotiate a reasonable price, to providing food vendors at below market rates. Secondly, Dr. J. stated that he only recruits business people who have had experience in the industry and who are truly passionate about owning their own restaurant. He also explained that the restaurant industry has to become innovative and use technology wisely, in addition to serving meals that are consistently tasty and flavorful. Celebrity’s Soul Food is the first to use Artificial Intelligence, or robot servers! Their purpose is not to replace URBAN SENTINEL MAGAZINE | JANUARY


the waiter or waitress, but to assist them and make their job easier. Another key component of Dr. J’s formula for success is to provide delicious meals at an affordable price! His pork free restaurants will feature the expected oxtails, fried chicken and macaroni and cheese, as well as vegetarian dishes. He exclaimed with pride, “Our food is absolutely not just traditional Soul Food. As a matter of fact, we created our own lane and our own space! We are neither fine dining nor fast food casual. We are what’s called “Quality Casual! What we’re doing is giving people a fine dining experience at a fast casual price! We want to be the Chick-Fil-A of Soul Food! I want to pay homage to the amazing meals created by our grandmothers and forefathers! I want to provide a space where people can come together whether looking for authentic Soul Food recipes, or plant based and vegan options.” Dr. J noted that one of his most popular dishes is his 24 carat chicken wings, actually marinated in edible 24 carat gold! Dr. J beamed as he stated, “So our restaurants believe in the concept of one world, and what I like about the cuisine is the diversity of people it attracts. People from all walks of life can come and enjoy each other in peace and unity! They may not agree on all other topics, but they can enjoy the food and the fellowship and that’s what our Soul Food is about! It’s much more than just the flavor! He also believes that giving back to the community is a must! He doesn’t tell his franchises how they have to give back, only that they must! Dr. J believes that no business should simply take from the community without giving something back in return. Dr. J. took a moment to describe what it was like growing up in High Springs, Florida. He stated that his family values and love of traditional cuisine shaped him into the fantastic chef and entrepreneur that he is today. He was in love with, and in awe of, his mother’s and grandmother’s down home cooking! On many days he could be found in the kitchen with them, instead of outside playing. As Dr. J reminisced about his first experience with “Soul Food,” a dreamy expression crossed his face, and he said passionately, “I can remember laying in the living room when I was growing up. My grandmother was cooking in 14

the kitchen on a wood stove. The delicious aroma of her cooking was calling me! It actually woke me up! It reminds me of a rainy day when I wanted to go out to play, but couldn’t go outside. All of a sudden the sun came back out! That’s what Soul Food is to me! That’s what it brings you. It’s not just that people want to eat. Soul Food makes you feel good! It brings back memories. Mama’s gone, but you still feel her because you cooked together, ate together and fellowshipped together. It was good food that brought our families together!” Dr. J continued his education and successfully managed a mental health facility, before relocating to Los Angeles. He went on to open his own therapy practice and also hosts “Dr. J the Counselor,” a popular radio show on Stevie Wonder’s radio station, KJLH 102.3 FM. He uses the platform to counsel couples and dispense relationship advice. He also became a pastor, transforming lives by teaching God’s word. However, Dr. J found that he was still very much interested in food. Especially the way the table could be used as a setting for people to come together, fellowship and even iron out their differences. So he invested in learning all he could about Soul Food and the restaurant business. “I traveled all around the world, to study under grandmothers, great grandmothers and great chefs! I opened my first restaurant with only $16,000 to my name! I had to show proof of concept. I took Soul Food to Lake Forrest California, where Soul Food had never been. They told me it wouldn’t work, but let me tell you, it did better than we expected. Dr. J continued enthusiastically, “Then I was asked if Soul Food could make it in a small town where people could afford a higher ticket. So I went to a smaller town and did it for a year. The restaurant was probably 1500 square feet. We were selling coffees, gumbo, shrimp and grits and high end dishes of that nature. You know what? That restaurant exceeded our financial projections! Then I decided to try a college town to see if that would work. I opened my next restaurant in Gainesville Florida, near the University of Florida, home of the Gators. Not only did I cater to them and promote ‘Soulful Sundays,’ we also elevated the elements of the restaurant and put in a nice atmosphere that judges, attorneys, students and everyday people could enjoy! Once again we were pleasantly surprised at the

outcome! We went on to cater events for celebrities like Steve Harvey, Oprah Winfrey and many others!” Dr. J reflected thoughtfully, “The next question I asked myself was ok, how do I come out of the kitchen, out of the business and sell this concept? Not too long ago we partnered with United Franchise Group out of West Palm Beach. They are the leading franchise group in the world with over 1600 locations in 80 countries! We have a full training system and center of executives and IT for marketing, accounting and production. We deal with all of that and make sure that the systems and vendor relationships stay in place.” Dr. J was clearly excited as he talked about the 200 store rollout now underway. “We currently have 40 stores that are in development across the United States! Many are coming online by the end of December, and a large cluster of them will open the first

quarter of next year. We’re selling daily and we just sold Las Vegas, California and Tennessee! I’m just thankful because we’re taking Soul Food not only where people understand it and know about it, but also to places where it is not known!” May God continue to bless the New Managers of Soul Food, Dr. Fredrick Jacobs and Lady Taja Jacobs, as well as all the franchise owners investing in their dreams! Can’t wait to experience the ambiance and delicious cuisine at a Celebrity’s Soul Food Restaurant, part of The Fastest Growing Soul Food Chain in America! You can stay informed in any of the several ways that follow: ladyj@celebrityssoulfood.com; www.celebrityssoulfood. com; www.drjthecounselor.com; Celebrity’s Soul Food Management Co.352-579-9920






Are You Blocking Your Success? Choose to “Get It Done 2021”!! S P I RI T UA L N O U RI S H M E N T B RO U GH T TO YO U B Y THE URBAN SENTINEL AND UPSHIFT GLOBAL by dr. anita davis-defoe for urban sentinel

Do you feel like giving up on your dreams, especially in light of the challenges faced in 2020? Do you feel

Once you realize that the only person that can hold

like settling for whatever comes your way? Have you

you back is wearing your clothes, listening to your

lost sight of your personal goals? Have you allowed

music, walking around in your shoes, and thinking

the struggles of life to steal your personal joy from day

your thoughts, you will have solved one of life’s most

to day? Has loss caused you to become discouraged,

perplexing mysteries. With this realization, you will

disappointed and feeling permanently derailed? If you

have unmasked the dream bandit; uncovered the thief

can answer yes to any one of these questions, it is time

who robs you of your inner peace; you will truly begin

to do some serious soul searching; it is time to think

to understand that the only person that can hold you

earnestly about the things you want out of life.

back is YOU.

Are you using your gifts and talents doing work that

Daily we need to take a personal inventory. Daily we

you enjoy? Are you pursing your dreams passionately,

need to chart the progress being made relative to the

fearlessly, and persistently? Do you review your list of

achievement of the wishes that flow from our spirits and

goals daily and take positive steps to achieve them? Do

our hearts. Daily we need to check ourselves and make

you listen attentively to your boundless inner guide

certain that we have not made a success blocker one of

instead of your limiting inner critic? If you can answer

our dearest and most trusted friends.

no to any of these questions, it is time to take charge of your life; it is certainly time to figure out the mental

What is a success blocker? Success blockers are

roadblocks that may be holding you back. You must

attitudes, beliefs, and self-defeating behaviors that keep

decide which side of the garden you are going to plant

us from accomplishing our goals and dreams. The seven

your dream seeds, getting it done or settling for what

most common success blockers include fear, doubt,


excuse-itis, self-sabotage, procrastination, laziness, and


embarking on endeavors that simply go against one’s

opportunities for improvement, chances to use life

value system. Are you guilty of blocking your own

lessons to grow; fleeting moments designed to prepare


you for both the joy and responsibility that comes with achieving your heart’s desires.

Fear is far more than false expectations appearing real, fear is like stepping into a pool of cement and

The next time you feel like quitting, the next time fear,

remaining stuck there making no attempt to get free.

doubt or procrastination knock on your door, stop and

The fear, the anticipation of things possibly going wrong

take a look in the mirror; ask the face that you see there,

keeps some of us from trying anything. Consequently,

“Are you blocking your own success?”

we accomplish nothing. Others allow doubt to stop

Know that what we choose to nurture in our gardens

them from pursuing their goals, rationalizing that the

flourishes, so make the decision that you will get it

risk is far too great to even make an attempt at going

done in 2021. That’s right, DONE…daringly, observing,

after what they truly want. Meanwhile, that same person

noble, expectations; yes, choosing to pursue your true

will empty his or her pockets to buy lottery tickets,

heart’s desire when it comes to your personal and

knowing that the odds for winning are practically slim

professional aspirations.

and none. Making excuses works for some of us, while others do something to derail their own progress every time it looks like success is right around the corner. Putting things off or just choosing to do nothing hoping to merely get by is the option for others. Consciously choosing to pursue dreams and goals that go against one’s beliefs or opting to do things simply because you want to fit in with the crowd rarely works. Success Blockers….the tools of self-defeat. Success Blockers…. beliefs and behaviors that without fail haunt many of us for all of our lives. The journey to achieve personal success is rarely a straight path, very seldom a magic carpet ride. The road to accomplish a dream is always a roller coaster ride on a scenic freeway that ultimately leads to opportunity and personal fulfillment. The pathway to personal joy may be filled with numerous obstacles, but these are merely



Mathew Knowles

THE MULTIFACETED INTELLECT by Stacey Henry-Carr for urban sentinel I am not sure what you know about Dr.

what they needed from the trees they explains his brilliant book, and #1 Best

Mathew Knowles, but the man I spoke to

would pay his grandfather to clear the Seller, The DNA of Achievers-10 Traits of

shared, HIS-story of a foundation seeded

land. Dr. Knowles said, “He was paid Highly Successful Professionals.

with entrepreneurship and intellect.

by someone else to clear his land so he

He is well versed in music history,

could farm.” With an admiration of this Then there was Dr. Knowles’ Godfather,

business, and many things in between.

process, Dr. Knowles ended the story by Reverent Walker, another early mentor

His stories were rich and insightful and

saying, “Just genius!”

who would talk to him about education

will always be relevant to our current

and perception. His mentor would

events. Dr. Knowles has a zest for life

Although his mother and father had always get dressed up in a suit even to go

that was expressed when he shared a

regular jobs when he was growing to the grocery store and young Mathew

vivid and descriptive explanation of his

up, they found unique ways to make Knowles would ask him why he put a

location. We talked while he was on his

additional money that would surpass suit on just to go to the grocery store.

patio enjoying the 68-degree California

their weekly income. His father made Reverend Walker told him that people

weather and looking out at the Pacific

$30 weekly driving a delivery truck for form an opinion by the way you look, so

Ocean. He expressed his vigilance about

a company selling produce but was able it is important to give them a good first

staying safe amidst the pandemic as he

to convince the owners to let him keep impression.

is in the high-risk category as a cancer

the truck overnight. His father used the


truck to haul wood and metals after It was the early dreams and visions of

Early Inspiration

tearing down old houses. He also sold young Mathew Knowles that he would scraps of old cars he purchased. While his later manifest to be his successful life.

Dr. Knowles has mastered the Urban

mother made $15 weekly as a maid, but He vividly remembers as a child of 6

Sentinel’s January theme of Education

she convinced her white employer to give years old in Gadsden, Alabama laying in

and Business and had a plethora of

her hand me down clothes that she used the backyard on a blanket looking up in

insights to share with the readers. As

to make beautiful quilts that she sold. the clouds and would think, “One day I

an entrepreneur, author, and educator

Although his parents did not have a lot, am going to be a businessman.” When

his early inspiration started with his

they creatively found ways to make more people asked him, what are you going to

grandfather, his mother, father, and

money as an entrepreneur than they did be when you grow up, he would reply, “A

mentors. When he was growing up in

on during their day jobs. Dr. Mathew businessman.”

Gadsden, Alabama, his grandfather

Knowles's parents did not settle for the

owned 300 acres of land and leased 100

status quo and their actions helped to Dr. Mathew Knowles has come a long way

acres to the local paper mill who would

shape the mega entrepreneur. He said, since that young boy laying in the fields,

come and cut the trees to make paper. But

“It runs on both sides of my family, but he started being a businessman since

what fascinated the then young Mathew

and my children are entrepreneurs. he was in the 5th grade in the catholic

Knowles was that after the papermill got

Entrepreneurship runs in my DNA”. This school where he sold candy to his peers.


It was at this young age he learned the art of negotiation when he asked the owner of the grocery store if he could buy a larger volume of candy and pay less. You can find the word businessman in his bio and descriptions. It is safe to save he manifested his dreams and continues to build on them.

Business History As a successful mega entrepreneur with many businesses under his belt, it is important to know how Dr. Knowles got started with the different facets of your businesses. He shared that in 1980 he and his “former wife and friend” had a black hair salon called Headliners. It started with her passion for beauty, make-up, and hair. He said he encouraged her to get her license and then they would open a hair salon. He said this was always his thought process even with his children Beyonce and Solange. If they wanted to be doctors, he would have encouraged them to go to medical school, and then he would have bought a hospital. He never wanted them to work for anyone. He told his children that if they dreamt small and succeeded,




unimpressed. However, if they dreamt big, tried, and did not make it he would be extremely impressed. He dreamt big and started at an early age, so he shared his philosophy. “If you are going to dream big. It requires the same amount of URBAN SENTINEL MAGAZINE | JANUARY


energy to work on a small dream as it does a large one so why not go big. Small ideas and big Ideas take the same amount of energy because the thought process is the same.” Dr. Knowles said coupled with the hair salon Headliners, he also created one of the largest hairstyling books in the world called Hair International, it was an oversize book sold around the world, while he started Music World Entertainment. To be a successful businessman, he had to know when to let go. He decided to let go of Hair International magazine businesses. He said, “One of my failures was when I thought I was in the publication business and turned out that I was in the delivery business because the Cash on Delivery (COD) returns for the magazine were costing me.” Dr. Knowles explained that he did extremely well in Corporate America. He worked at Xerox in the elite division, Xerox Medical Systems where he sold diagnostic imaging equipment and was the number one sales representative worldwide for 3-4 years. He also was one of the first blacks in America to sell MRI/CT scanners with Phillips Medical Systems and a Neuro-Surgical Specialist at Codman a division of Johnson & Johnson. He was passionate about his work. Before he was an entrepreneur, he was an Intrapreneur because he successfully ran the job like it was his own company. He said he transitioned out of Corporate America because of the defining moment in the hospital. His job was to go into surgery and support the on

Neurosurgeons how






instruments. But one day he got paged by the Neurosurgeon and he immediately thought he had


done something wrong. However, when

with each other because although they

but because of his athletic abilities, he was

he spoke with the Neurosurgeon, he

were from Africa, they did not all speak

awarded a basketball scholarship and his

explained to Dr. Knowles that manage

the same language. This reminded me

parent never had to pay for college. He

care that oversaw the medical cost,

that Dr. Knowles has been a professor

said his natural transition from college

shared that he had the highest cost per

and an educator for over 12 years. I was

was Corporate America, but he knew he

procedure. This Neurosurgeon needed

being educated and it was fascinating.

only wanted to spend 20 years there.

instruments. Dr. Knowles said he lost his


There are multiple facets to Dr. Mathew

passion for the job because he was more

Dr. Knowles was born in 1952 in

Knowles that is not known to many

about quality not cost.

Gadsden, Alabama where he grew up

people, one being that he has been a

and lived until 1970. His mother went to

college professor for twelve years. He

Dr. Knowles wanted to give this advice

High school with Coretta King in Marion,

teaches Sports, Event and Entertainment

to the Urban Sentinel readers on living

Alabama, and brought the awareness


their passion and success; You must first

of desegregation to Gadsden. He said

School of Business.

identify what your passion is because

growing up in Alabama his formative

Emancipation of Slaves through Music

you cannot live it until you identify it. He

years and education from 1958-1974 he

at the Art Institute which is a school

said, “If you live your passion a positive

desegregated and integrated all aspects

with many creative people. In January

work ethic will coexist with that passion.

of his academics up to his Junior

Extraordinarily successful people put in

Year in college. He explained

the work. If it is their passion then it is

that he never went to a black

fulfilling, rewarding, and fun, while the

school until he transferred to

other is a job and a paycheck.”

Fisk University. He said, “That

to cut costs and could no longer use his

allowed me to see another way Dr. Knowles said he always had a passion

of looking at things outside of

for music. Growing up his mother made

an Afrocentric way. It was great

him take piano lessons and he is grateful

to have the unique perspective of

that she did. He was the lead singer in the

both Eurocentric and Afrocentric

choir at his school and was in a boy group

view of things and ways of how people

in high school. He came into the music


business because he wanted to start a


new direction for himself. His passion for

Fisk University, he was

music gave birth to his company Music

uncomfortable because

World Entertainment, Artist World, and

he had never been to

his book, The Emancipation of Slaves

a black institution. Dr.

Through Music. It was my question about


how he thought music can change the

that he was the first in

world we live in that gained me a music

his immediate family

history lesson. His intellect about the

to go to college. His

passage Blacks took and how the music

parents were going to

we listen to today was derived from the

do whatever it took to

Slaves' desperate need to communicate

send him to college

different he









He teaches The

Mathew Knowles

2021, he will teach, The Music Industry

his stories are seeded with deep history,

in a Digital Age at the University of

insights, and knowledge that is relevant

Houston. He has lectured at over 25

to anyone aspiring to be an entrepreneur.

different Universities including Harvard,

When I asked him which of his five books

Cornell, Alabama A&M. Howard, Texas

was his favorite, he said, “When you

Southern, Fisk, UCLA, the University

create something it is like your baby, so

of Cape Town in South Africa. He views

there is no favorite. They are the creation

it as an opportunity and privilege to be

and I have gratitude and love for all of

in front of young minds. As a student

them. It is up to the readers and their

of life, he earned an MBA, and Ph.D.,

choice. I will let the consumer pick their

from Cornerstone Christian University


and recently completed a professional development course at Harvard, on

I asked him what would he put on

Ethical Leadership.

the billboard?

He responded, “Live

every moment as if it is your last.” This

He explained that he is constantly

successful businessman said he would

learning and if you want to be successful

put the billboard in Time Square because

you must stay sharp and relevant. Dr.

he would want it where it would get

Matthew Knowles is strategic about his

the most visibility. He did not produce

life and business. Writing five books,

successful businesses by accident. He

going back to school, everything that he

prides himself in keeping things simple,

is doing is strategically plan for the next

understand the goal, how you will obtain

five years of his life. He is focusing on

it, and have a strategic plan. He believes

the television Industry for the next three

in it and lives by it.

years, but the highlight of his career and life is in academia. Harvard and The


Art Institute is giving him an advanced

conversation with a quote that was on

way to do it online. He explained that

a card given to him by a Nun he had

his style of teaching is high energy and

donated money to during one of his

entertaining. He keeps it simple and

travels. It stated, “Pray not for a life free

understandable to the audience. He said,

from trouble, pray for triumph over

“Some highly successful people keep it

trouble.” He then stated that “What you

quite simple.”

and I call adversity God calls opportunity.




Often, we give up and never ask what is

He said a year ago he would not have

the opportunity within the adversity? We

thought he would be teaching online,

must see the opportunity to grow and not

but now he recognized the paradigm has

a reason to quit.”

shifted. Dr. Knowles has a deep passion for academia. Dr. Mathew Knowles is a storyteller, and








by Olympia Kent for urban sentinel According to the Urban Dictionary, the skin of African Americans doesn’t wrinkle or show age as much as individuals from other ethnic backgrounds. What happens when people try to guess your age? Do they make you 10 years younger than what you appear to be? Does black crack? There are people who look at our skin with the notion that they just have good genes. But what are good genes? Is there such a thing? We know Genes are hereditary, which means they are transmitted from one generation to another, and every individual is a product of its genetic makeup. While on a recent photoshoot with cosmetic doctor Anayo Umerah, we had an interesting conversation on African Americans getting Cosmetic work done and I was shocked with some of the information she had given on cosmetic surgery and getting treatments to preserve your youth.

Dr. Anayo Umerah

After failing to pinpoint my age, she enlightened me on the old saying “black don't crack”, but in her words “but it breaks”!! Should you get cosmetic work done? And why? Just to give some background on Dr. Anayo, she is certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and is a Fellow member of the American Academy of Family Physicians. She is also a member of the American Academy of Anti-aging and Aesthetics Medicine A4M, where she completed her fellowship in Aesthetic Medicine. She has been well trained as one of the best Aesthetic Doctors in the world.



She is associated with several other professional medical organizations in the USA. Dr. Anayo’s career started in Nigeria, where she went to medical school on an academic scholarship and graduated top of her class in 1989. She completed her post graduate training in family medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Her major interest is in aesthetics, anti-aging, and women’s health in general. Prior to forming the Women’s Health Institute with her husband Dr. Emeka Umerah, Dr. Anayo Umerah served as a Medical Director and adjunct clinical faculty with the University of Pittsburgh (UPMC-Mercy) department of Family Medicine. She also was a site medical director of Health Associates East in Pittsburgh, which is a private family practice group, before finally relocating to Macon GA. Dr. Anayo is the President and CEO of Ageless Aesthetics in Macon and Warner Robins. She has a very passionate approach to arts and the beauty of the feminine face and body. She believes that every woman is beautiful by God’s design and this can be captured by preserving it through the advances in science and aesthetic medicine. Now that we have a little background on the doctor, we do have some questions as to why we should even consider getting any cosmetic work done! I’d like to believe that I'm aging gracefully. What matters more than the color of the patient’s skin is the specific injectable used. Injectables are not one-size-fits-all; they have unique purposes, formulations, and consistencies. Some are thicker, some are smoother, and some are designed for specific goals. Botox and dermal fillers behave differently to achieve unique goals. What age should you start this process? According to the doctor most african americans start to lose volume in their face in the mid to late 30’s. You may lose volume and start to get wrinkles around the forehead and eye area. Maybe even bags under the eyes or dark circles. These are signs of aging. Due to the melanin in African Americans, they do not age as fast as other ethnicities. So, let me just put this in makeup language for some of you. Botox would be the foundation and fillers would be the


contour in the makeup world. We will start with Botox because it contains purified bacteria that freezes muscles. In doing so, Botox can help minimize the appearance of lines and wrinkles caused by facial expressions. Therefore, as a makeup artist, starting with foundation when doing makeup will create a smooth canvas. No matter how well you take care of or pamper your skin, everyone eventually develops wrinkles. Fortunately, Ageless Aesthetics provides a number of options to erase the lines that accompany aging. Botox cosmetics is one of the easiest options. It is an extremely quick approach to soften or remove the natural wrinkles on the forehead, between the eyes, and at the sides of the eyes – commonly referred to as crow’s feet. Botox is a prescription medicine that is injected into muscles and used to improve the look of moderate to severe lines in people 18 to 65 years of age for a short period of time. It is a purified protein toxin that is derived from a specific form of bacteria. It was originally utilized as a remedy for neck and facial spasms, but in the last decade it has been used effectively to remove facial wrinkles. Dermal fillers contain ingredients that add fullness to areas that have thinned due to aging. This thinning is common in the cheeks, lips, and around the mouth. Dermal fillers, sometimes called soft tissue fillers, are substances designed to be injected beneath the surface of the skin to add volume and fullness. Botox results last 3 to 4 months. Dermal filler results vary, depending on which filler is used. Because Botox and fillers are different substances designed for different uses, they can sometimes be combined in one treatment. Is it affordable? According to 2018 pricing data from the ASPS, the average cost of hyaluronic acid fillers is $682 per syringe. Most people require more than one syringe to achieve the desired results. Botox, on the other hand, is measured in units and typically costs around $10 to $15 per unit. Harmful effects? Botox injections are relatively safe when performed by an experienced doctor. Possible side effects and complications can include pain, swelling or bruising at the injection site, and headache or flu-like symptoms. Microdermabrasion is a general term for the application of tiny rough grains to buff away the surface layer of skin. Before touching on how it works, we will first review how skin works.

Our skin is made up of two main layers, the epidermis, and the dermis. The epidermis is the layer closest to the outside world and is a set of dead skin cells on top of another layer of cells that are in the process of maturing. The topmost layer of the skin is called the stratum corneum. This layer acts as a protective barrier between the outside world and the lower skin layers. It keeps all but the smallest molecules from getting through. When using topical lotions or creams, only some of the product passes through the stratum corneum, but not all of it. This layer is home to many minor skin imperfections like fine lines and blemishes. Microdermabrasion takes place at the level of the stratum corneum. It only really targets the epidermis. Microdermabrasion disrupts the stratum corneum, and it replaces the lost skin cells with new and healthy ones. This causes an improvement in the skin surface. Newer skin cells are formed that look and feel smoother. Some of the skin’s visible imperfections, like blemishes and fine lines, are removed. Also, after microderm, medicinal creams and dermal products become more effective because more of their active ingredients and moisture can penetrate to the lower layers of skin. Ageless Aesthetics uses diamond tipped applicators to perform microdermabrasion so that we effectively reduce the appearance of fine lines, acne scars and other minor skin imperfections. The most important advice I can give for everyone of any ethnicity is to find an experienced dermatologist that understands your goals of treatment and can capably help you achieve your desired cosmetic outcome. Also, practice good skin care habits and utilize effective products in a daily regimen. Practicing good skin care includes having a good diet, using a good sunscreen, and avoiding nicotine. Dr Anayo Umerah can be reached at 478-746-2888 office@womenshealthmacon.com 112 Arkwright Landing Macon, GA 31210 320 Margie Drive Warner Robins, GA 31088




4 P rin c ip le s

E ff e c t iv e L e a d e r s h ip of

PA R T 2

by dr. sharon h. porter for urban sentinel In the December issue of the Urban Sentinel, I introduced my first principle of effective leadership; Integrity. In this month’s issue, I will discuss the second principle; Execution. Execution is one of the greatest challenges of leadership. Execution is about getting things


done and making things happen. It is going from idea to implementation.


I will begin this article by unpacking the Executing

“Without execution, vision is just another word for


hallucination.” - Mark V. Hurd




(formerly the Clifton Strengthsfinder). This online assessment measures your talents and categorizes

Execution is a key determinant of a business,

them into 34 CliftonStrengths themes. The themes

organization, or individual’s success or failure. As a

are categorized under four domains: Executing,

leader, you simply need to get things done. Please

Influencing, Relationship Building, and Strategic

understand that does not mean that you, as the

Thinking. I have served as a certified-Gallup Strengths

leader, must be the one to get things done. You must

coach for the past four years. My dominant theme is

hold your team accountable to drive outcomes as

Execution. Three of my top five strengths are under

well as provide the tools necessary to get to make

the Execution domain: Restorative, Deliberative, and

it all happen. Just as with the principle of integrity, URBAN SENTINEL MAGAZINE | JANUARY


accountability is key in execution.

be a triad awareness; inward focus, a focus on others, and an outward focus. It is also important to act, assess, and adjust as necessary. You must be able to

As an educational leader and as an entrepreneur,

measure progress throughout the execution phase.

I commit to completing a Peak Performance Plan

Execution requires a continuous process of reflection,

(PPP). The PPP allows me a clear path to continue

analysis, and planning.

leading, inspiring, and engaging my team. One of my favorite leadership books is Execution: The Discipline

The process of executing is quite simple using the

of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy and Ram

Think Plan Do methodology. As Jim Collins states

Charan. Bossidy and Charan contend “if you don’t

in his book Good to Great, “Ready, Aim Fire! In the

know how to execute, the whole of your effort as a

thinking phase (Ready), your ideas must develop

leader will always be less than the sum of its parts.”

into growth strategies. The planning phase (Aim) is

Execution is truly a discipline. The authors go on

getting the idea from conception to execution. All

to say that the heart of execution lies in three core

involved must be aligned. Accountability is most

processes: the people process, the strategy process,

important in this phase. In the do phase (Fire), it is

and the operations process. In this three core process

about action; getting it done. You think about and

to fully execute, you as a leader must identify and

plan for the work, but until you actually do the work,

continue to develop other leaders, set the strategic

execution has not taken place.

direction, and be actively and intimately involved in the process. You cannot execute if you are employing

Executing calls for a strategic mindset and the

the “hands-off ” approach.

leadership ability to perform and implement. Hold your team accountable and set clear expectations.

In Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done

After you have generated the idea and made your

building blocks of execution are identified:

plans, it is time to execute!

• Know your people and your business

“Leaders have three fundamental responsibilities:

• Insist of realism

They craft a vision, they build alignment, and they

• Set clear goals and priorities

champion execution.” Anonymous

• Follow through • Reward the doers • Expand people’s capabilities • Know yourself In order to execute, you must have focus. There must




Hush to Roar TOY I N O K U N U G A by Stacey Henry-Carr for urban sentinel Often when we choose to live our truth, we find ourselves going down a lonely path. But that did not deter Toyin Okunuga from starting her journey from trauma to triumph. Toyin knew that it was vital that she shared her story to create a more constructive legacy for her children, heal her old wounds, and help others in the process. Gone are the days when she did not have a voice. Deep within this spirited woman who resides in London, United Kingdom, was determination and resilience. She knew she had it in her, she knew her inner child had a voice and was ready to roar. It was with God’s timing that she was able to release her corrosive past through the pages of her published book, Hush to Roar Toyin is an inspirational speaker and coach. She is the founder of her business Hush to Roar. The Hush to Roar business and book were manifested through Toyin’s personal story, having undergone several unimaginable Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), including sexual childhood abuse within the family. Imagine for a minute you were removed from the love and security of your parents, just to be thrown in a sea of uncertainty and changes at the delicate, and most formative years of your life. This was Toyin’s experience at the age of 8 years old when she was taken from her 34

the safety of her foster parents to live with her biological parents, then moved to Nigeria, West Africa from the UK. She had hoped for a long period that she was in a dream, but it was her reality. Toyin’s book Hush to Roar is a # 1, New Release Bestseller, in four different categories on Amazon. She wrote the book from a conscious place with hopes that it will be read by many people across the world and aid in their awareness and healing. She aspires to create a positive shift on the impact of avoidable traumas such as child sexual abuse. Toyin said, “I want to give hope to others and let them know that they can do it. We deserve to give ourselves a second chance.” Toyin is a mother of two wonderful children and her love for her children has created a fervent desire for her healing. She knew she had to roar for them. She is adamant about giving her children a voice and practicing intentional parenting so that they will be provided the emotional resources they need to thrive. So, she continues to learn to remove herself from the equation as a parent and make it about her children. She refuses to carry on the cultural legacy that places “shame” to the family above the truth and healing. Toyin said, “We must unlearn those behaviors and change the legacy for our children.” Throughout her journey of multiple traumas, Toyin’s body started to pay the price with many illnesses that were later diagnosed as trauma responses. She knew she needed to rebuild herself and she started facing her past and learning how to forgive. It was when she told her story for the first time that the chronic pain also left her body. Toyin has obtained certificates in Childhood Adversity so she can understand young people and their mental health. She continues her journey of healing and works feverishly to make a positive impact. As a coach Toyin uses holistic action steps to help her clients in their recovery from childhood trauma. Her clients are men, women, and young adults who she helps get unstuck from their

deep-rooted hurt and pain caused by childhood trauma and move them to thriving health and mental wellness. As she continues to spread her message of healing and transformation, she is developing courses that incorporate dance and other activities to lift the mood of her clients and give them the support they need to heal and blossom. She stays busy as an active member of her local community seeking to eradicate adverse childhood experiences. She supports and follows closely other United Kingdom organizations such as the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), and Stop it Now to help work towards the end of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) During the day Toyin works as a Business Analyst for an International IT company in the United Kingdom. But you can find her on the local radio station in the UK advocating for change and awareness for child abuse, or passionately speaking on a seminar to inspire others to change. She loves to celebrate by dancing, lives in gratitude, and stays present and mindful each day. She said, “I have nothing to prove, nothing to protect, nothing to hide.” Her tagline is “Your inner child has a voice, don’t suppress it, let it roar.” Toyin Okunuga’s book Hush to Roar is available on Amazon. It is a heartfelt story that will keep you wanting to know what is next. You will laugh when she laughs, cry when she cries, and be stunned when her abuser is revealed. It is a story for everyone as the pages bring awareness to the dark yet prevalent issue of child sexual abuse. Visit her website: www.hushtoroar.com



W W W. H U S H T O R O A R . C O M 36



Our Brother's Keeper by Catherine Tyson for urban sentinel

If asked whether they would give money to help someone or

my children productive doing wholesome and constructive

physically jump in to help solve a problem, most people would

things. Today, my children are incredible people because of it.

probably prefer to dig deep in their pockets and offer up some change. Because to physically help often means that you have

We live by the adage of loving our neighbor, yet so many of

to get your hands dirty with the details of the situation and

us fall short of that. There is a quote that says “The essence

most people just simply don’t want their hands dirty or the

of inhumanity is not to hate our fellow creatures but rather to

messiness of the details. We are also often too busy with our

be indifferent towards them." I am certain that we each have

own stuff to get involved, but the greatest need is for people to

someone in our life or community that needs help. It might be

serve and therefore to serve our fellow man should be deemed

an elderly neighbor that doesn’t have a strong family unit or a

an honour. Taking care of one another represents the gift of

single mother struggling to get by. There might even be a child

service and the gift of service represents humanity.

who did not have a “Merry Christmas or Happy New Year.” In these times that we have all been facing, let’s feel compelled to

To live in this world and not care about our neighbor is tragic

help our fellow man.

and something that each and every one of us can do, if even in the smallest way. Whether you have a natural gift for

This new year, let us be our brother’s keeper and get our hands

interacting positively with people or you have to really work at

dirty with the details. We owe it to our community, ourselves

it, every single one of us is capable of helping another person.

and the world at large. Let us live in a world where it matters if

I remember from a very young age, spending time with my

there is suffering and one where we are burdened to see wrongs

grandmother in the islands, we shared everything with the

righted and every single human being taken care of. And as

neighbors. I even remember her sometimes sending me down

we embark on a new and improved year, let help each other

the street to take some bananas or mangoes to a family in need.

and let love be seeped deep within us for all. Happy New Year

In our current times, there are programs in the communities

to you and yours and to 2021 I say, WELCOME 2021. I wish

that help people in need and we are so fortunate to have them.

for us all peace, love, joy and prosperity for this coming year.

Once upon a time, as a struggling single mother, I was so appreciative for the help that I received from the programs

Connect with me on Facebook at Catherine Tyson and

and organizations that help in so many ways as well as to keep

Instagram @realcatherinetyson. Until next time.






by bridgette m. alfred for urban sentinel A. Introduction: 1. Physical: For African Americans, the Watch Night Service is centered in the timeless theme of freedom. On December 31,1862, also known as Freedom’s Eve, many slaves huddled in drafty, dimly lit, churches for prayer meetings awaiting the official news of their legal emancipation from slavery. Freedom’s Eve for the enslaved and for free Blacks was a time for prayerful reflection on the promises of God and a humble but powerful expectation for God to free them from all forms of oppression. The first American Watch Night Service was held somewhere around 1770 at St. George’s Methodist Church in Philadelphia. Among St. George’s membership were two freed slaves named Richard Allen and Absalom Jones, who in 1787 lead a walkout of St. George’s in response to racial discrimination there. Jones later founded the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas and Allen founded Mother Bethel Church and the African Methodist Episcopal Church denomination. 2. Spiritual: Exodus 12:40-42 (ESV): The time that the people of Israel lived in Egypt was 430 years. At the end of 430 years, on that very day, all the hosts of the Lord went out


from the land of Egypt. It was a night of watching by the Lord, to bring them out of the land of Egypt; so this same night is a night of watching kept to the Lord by all the people of Israel throughout their generations.

B. Gathering Together To Pray 1. Physical: Many of you who live or grew up in Black communities in the United States have probably heard of Watch Night Services, the gathering of the faithful in church on New Year's Eve. It is a tradition in the Black Church in America that five minutes before midnight, men, women and children will kneel, hold hands and pray to God from the present year into the New Year. The service usually begins anywhere from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and ends at midnight with the entrance of the New Year. 2. Spiritual: Matthew 18:19-20 (ESV): Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

C. Conclusion:

1. Physical: When I participate in Watch Night, I stand within these historical traditions. It is a place for my hopes and anxieties about the future, as well as my regrets, gratitude and forgiveness about the past. We cannot live in the past, but we must use it to learn what is further required of us to live in covenant with our God as we look to the future. It would not be true to the history and legacy of the Watch Night Service if we are only watching God and not watching over ourselves, taking time to ensure we are in tune with God. We must ensure our hearts and minds are always watching, especially on Watch Night! For me, Watch Night is also a sign of relationship with God who is beyond time and circumstances. This relationship is the legacy that was passed to me and that I aim to pass along to my family. 2. Spiritual: Psalm 118:28-29 (ESV): You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you. Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!




TH E BE S T OF 202 0 Your Source for Urban News





THE REARVIEW MIRROR OF MY MIND by c. natasha richburg, mba, mis for the urban sentinel

My life as a wife, mother of four, and information technology executive has required a delicate balance to meet the daily demands and expectations of others. Even so, occasionally daily activities require a measured tussle between entities that depend on me for completely different reasons. I don’t know whether individuals struggled most with my role as manager due to my skin pigmentation, gender, or vertically challenged position in life, but working as a manager was not the happiest stage of my life. When the season of childrearing and managing corporate teams was bygone business, I was blessed to become an emptynester with a husband who relishes my company. We have journeyed into a season of “renewed teenage love.” The future for this season of life began with my gaze into the rearview

mirror of my mind. The rearview mirror reflected the experiences of parenthood now colored in beautiful images of well-mannered adult children with families of their own. Melvin and I blissful synergized memories of The Richburg children as our pride and joy filled our hearts with reminiscences of sweet baby love. A byproduct of this period rang in harmony with the symphony of voices asking questions such as, “How’d you do that?,” “What’s your secret?,” “Can you watch the kids?” The outpouring of questions stirred a desire to pen a book that addresses the number one question: “What is the secret of our 36-year marriage?” Purposely reviewing my personal journal entries for gems of knowledge contributed to the deep understandings that hindsight generates. Thus, hindsight revealed the premise of The Richburg’s marriage strategy through the pages of my journal. The book discusses the ebbs and flows of our marriage. It offers the reader an inside glimpse into how we have navigated our marriage. In this season of life, Melvin and I are regarded as empty-nesters, which includes refreshing episodic “date nights.” This is the best season of our married life. It is our hope that some of our life experiences provide the reader with insight into relationships. Even though this is a book about The Richburg marriage, it is also a book about the importance of teamwork and having a marriage strategy. Also, if you are not married, this book will help you develop teamwork strategies that are valuable for any good partnership.

Excerpt from Chapter 8: PILLOW TALK Melvin and I engage in pillow talk. Pillow talk includes taking the time alone to do what married couples do in the marriage suite. We learned to communicate with our minds, bodies, and souls. Our pillow talk content has evolved into something very magical and special. We know how to make each other smile. Remember, healthy pillow talk starts outside the bedroom. Some women may be like me with a need to socially “warm up” before the bedroom “fill up.” In other words, sex starts outside the bedroom.

C. NaTasha Richburg’s books include: People ask… What is the secret of our 36-year marriage? The Truth about the Lie I Live Healthy Waters Don’t Cry Like This I See the Whispers of the Snakes in the Grass

C. NaTasha Richburg books are available on Amazon.com. Websites: www.theCNRministries.com & www.cnatashaproductions.com URBAN SENTINEL MAGAZINE | JANUARY




Embrace what makes you unique, finding the root to your problems and not allowing yourself to remain in a victim mindset is the key to having victory. 46


Journey’s His Way to Destiny by cameron posey for the urban sentinel

It has been a year since Joshua Proby shared his amazing journey and works with the Urban Sentinel. This multi-dimensional entrepreneur is a man who has found a way to use his adversity and struggle to show others that it’s never too late to save yourself and be greater. Through faith and resiliency, Joshua educated himself while in prison for twelves years, with the first two years in solitary confinement. While there, he wrote nineteen different books exploring the pain and abused that stemmed from his childhood and has published one of them last year. Now, he has made groundbreaking strides not just in publishing but also in advocating, and business. His mission: to help his community by sharing his life-changing testimony and process of healing. He shares with the Urban Sentinel once more his updates over the past year. (Continued on Next Page)



CP: It’s been almost a year now since we’ve last interviewed you. At that time back in February 2019, you had only been out of jail for ten months, adjusting to a new normal. At the same time, you were writing, you were speaking at events about your experience, you were in the process of publishing “30-day Journey From Prison to Spiritual Peace”, and you were creating a Non-profit organization, Peace4Proverty. How has all of those endeavors been going since then? The breakthroughs and the hiccups?

JP: All of the endeavors have been good. It’s been a blessing. Peace4Proverty is still getting its foot off the ground. There are some logistics we’re working out to get it establish and out to in community. I published “30-day Journey from Prison to Spiritual Peace” back on March 2019. Over the past year, my trucking company has been doing very good. Some of the hiccups were just when I first started, things were getting off the ground very quick and I was used to it. There’ve been some moments where things slow down, which has been a challenge for me, but it’s helped me understand the process better. Right now, I’m doing a couple of speaking events. One event is going to be a fashion show based and inspired from my next book coming out in October, “Cancer of Our Lives”.

CP: Back in your first interview, you talked about purpose and how your purpose is to fulfill the needs of others. With all the wonderful and creative things you’ve done, you were able to focus your purpose on specific groups of people with a specific message, redemption, acceptance, adaptability. How did your pursuit of those endeavors, over the year, focus your purpose? What was the process like as a writer and an advocate?

JP: My endeavors in my work has really opened my eyes. God, for one, has shown me that not everybody I want to help is meant for me to help or at least help at that time. After I was released, all I wanted to do was help people, anybody really. For instance, in my trucking company, I hired guys who had felonies and while I was providing that opportunity for them, there were guys who didn’t want that opportunity. Some of them I had to let go as a result because it was weighing me down and affecting my goals for myself. God really taught me a valuable lesson. He made me realize that he blessed me with an opportunity to change and I shouldn’t just give it away so willingly to anyone I come across. He’s shown me that I can’t be God and try to give to everyone because not everybody wants what you have to give. God was telling me “Hey. I bless you. Not them. I didn’t give you this blessing to help them at this time. I want you to get back on your feet. Let me do what needs to be done in them. Enjoy what I gave you.” That realization really helped me mature my process. I still help people but I’m much more selective in who I help 48

because I want people to grab my hand and lift themselves up to bigger and better things, not hang off me trying to drag and make me fall. He’s really taught me to be more careful and discerning in my purpose.

CP: Your writing and your messages were inspired from not just your experiences being in imprison, but it also stems from your experience being abuse. You talk about forgiveness and how it’s not just an act but a way of life. On a daily basis, what does that look like for you, especially when you were writing “30-day Journey From Prison to Spiritual Peace?” Has it evolved as you’re establishing Peace4Change and writing other books? And if so, what does that look like now?

JP: Yes, it has evolved, indeed. I am a true believer in that forgiveness is a lifestyle especially in what I do now. I’ve learned that because of what I went through in jail and even as a child, I tend to switch to those experience I went through in my past when I face those daily issues. When I notice that mind set, I have to step back, focus, and reason with myself on situations and what they were really about. A lot of times, I realize the daily challenges have nothing to do with who I am personally. It’s just whatever was going on outside of my control. For me, it’s about perspective. I can acknowledge what others go through. Though it doesn’t excuse them for what they’ve done, I, at least, know where they’re coming from and see how it played a factor in situations involving me. Forgiveness is a constant practice and in order to be who I am and to be greater, I have to learn to let go, reflect on how far I’ve come, and focus on the good I’m doing now.

CP: In your last interview but your accounts overall, you emphasis about being honest with not just others but yourself, even when it comes to how you feel. You even talk about mental health as someone who dealt with anxiety when you transition into society and depression as a man who was abused and mistreated as a child. How important is it to you the mental health initiative in the black community, especially mental health in black boys? What do/are you thinking of doing to strengthen this initiative? JP: There are a couple of things, I’m getting into. One is a seminar event, “Let’s Build”, that I’m planning in Charlotte, North Carolina. I want to make it a weekly event where we come in and we just talk about day-to-day things that bother us and go from there. You see the thing about mental health illness and processing it is it takes time, patience, and it’s relational. You know the Berlin Wall didn’t come down instantly, people broke it down piece-by-piece. Once you understand people and where they come from, through conversation and connection, you’ll see what they go through; the habits they have, assumptions they fall back on, how they

cope with difficulty, etc. It always comes out regardless. From there because you built that trust and respect for each other, we can process, together, what’s going on with our minds and emotions. Many times what we suspect and assume isn’t really what’s true. We see it from a place of insecurity and hurt we haven’t addressed. It’s very important that we start advocating for our mental health. We see the problems in our community all the time that perpetuate mental illness: single mothers having to take care their kids all alone, boys growing up without their fathers, kids get molested, raped, mistreated and abuse, low self-esteem, bullying, etc. We, as black people, have learned to brush it under the rug because we’re told we’re strong and to keep going. And a lot of times it’s damaging because they don’t understand that we bottle up that pain and those emotions. That’s where the attitudes, the explosive anger, and the skewed thinking comes from. And once people outside our race, our community sees that, they’re incline to expect it from us. And because they expect it from us, we do it. It’s a cycle. We end up creating a reality for ourselves that’s not true.

CP: Writing played a big part in your life, your survival, and your redemption. It gave you hope when you felt you didn’t have any. It set you on this path to address issues that a lot of times people don’t want to face but tend to ignore. What would you say to kids, young boys, who are in similar situations as you were as a child? What would you encourage them to do for themselves? JP: I would tell them to reach out and be honest about how they feel. They don’t have to go through it alone. A lot of times, we have to learn to reach out and be honest about how we feel and who we are. The most important thing in my life now, that I wish I had learned when I was a kid, is to be my authentic self. The whole purpose of what I’ve been through isn’t to show it as a lesson. It’s to also show them what they

can be for themselves without going through what I’ve been through. But also, it gives them a message that it’s never over even when they mess up. They can change, they can find out who they are, what they want to be, and how they’re going to live. I want them to be encourage by my story. They don’t have to live by a narrative that tells them who they are and how they have to live. Systems are put in place but there put in place because some people found them to be the best practices. That’s the emphasis “some”. It doesn’t work for everybody. Everything is a system and new systems created every day and they’re created from people, who found new ways of handling things. You can always build a new system for yourself, something that works best for you, for who you are, and how you want to grow. Once you get that down, others will see the benefits and try to implement it. But the whole point that I’m emphasizing is don’t let a system or a way of life that doesn’t work for you be the say-all-end-all. I technically shouldn’t be where I’m at because I’m a felon, but I am and it’s because I created a new way of life for myself. If you’re given something that doesn’t work for you, try to create something new for yourself that you can work with.

CP: With your first book published last year in March, your nonprofit organization being launched, do you have any other plans in the future?

JP: My next book “Cancer of Our Lives” is coming out in October. While I was in incarnation, I found out my mom had cancer and there was no way for me to talk to her. I was really afraid that she was going to pass away while I was in prison, and I had to really process that possibility while I was in solitary confinement. That news really hit me and had me seeing how much of a cancer I had been in our relationship, and so it had me exploring all the times I had hurt her. In a lot of ways, we carry cancer in our hearts that damage and eat way at us and who we are, and it can be deadly. “Cancer of Our Lives” was a devotional I wrote to address those problems, those fears, hatreds, and loathing we carry in ourselves. URBAN SENTINEL MAGAZINE | JANUARY


L E T ' S


WEIGHT LOSS by corretta l. doctor for the urban sentinel

Guthrie Bonnétt lives by the motto that no one can ever deny you the results of the work you put into something. In a candid discussion with Guthrie, he explains to Urban Sentinel Magazine that his journey to a healthy life began with a frightening reality; he was overweight. A medical diagnosis showed that he was on the path to a shortened life expectancy unless he made some immediate changes. He shares his story to encourage readers to make good choices that lead to improved longevity and a better lifestyle. Urban Sentinel Magazine: What is the message that you want readers to take away from your story? Guthrie: My journey to a healthy lifestyle started with setting a goal to reach and maintain a healthy weight. With each passing day there are obstacles and hurdles that African American males encounter and there is always a lesson to learn. Weight loss must be taken seriously. Each lesson has taught me that I must always follow my heart and put God in front of every decision, no matter how difficult the journey becomes. Through my weight loss journey, I learned to trust my heart to overcome fear. I never lost hope when faced with adversity. It’s important to believe that “NO ONE CAN EVER DENY YOU THE RESULTS OF THE WORK YOU PUT INTO SOMETHING and remember that “#DreamsAreMeantToBeLived!” Urban Sentinel Magazine: Why did you begin your weight loss journey? Guthrie: In December 2016, I almost lost my life due to being overweight and diagnosed with heart disease. I was also diagnosed with Type II Diabetes. Urban Sentinel Magazine: How much weight and how many inches have you lost? Guthrie: When I started my weight loss, I weighed 356lbs and wore a size 50 in the waist. I am currently weighing steady at 200lbs, but my lowest weight was December 2018 at 197.5lbs. Urban Sentinel Magazine: What was the easiest part of your fitness and lifestyle journey? Guthrie: Just believing that I can continue to live a better 50

life no matter what I believe to be true. I have my own belief system and life experiences when I feel stagnated. It was easy for me to change my mindset and start working on myself. Urban Sentinel Magazine: What was the hardest part of your journey and what made you stay the course? Guthrie: Getting through the setbacks can be tough. It is hard to continue doing anything when it seems like it’s not working as planned. I have continued to give myself consequences when I get off track and treat myself when I stay on course. A treat can be a healthy food that I have craved, of course keeping in mind the portion size. At first, keeping the weight off was exceedingly difficult, it required a drastic change in lifestyle and commitment mentally, physically, and economically. Urban Sentinel Magazine: What has the weight loss done for your health, physically and emotionally? Guthrie: It gave me my life back, and that means I am living and not just existing. I am feeling like I can now fully live my dreams. Weight gain has the tendency to makes us more prone to feeling depressed or prone to show anger instead of happiness. Urban Sentinel Magazine: Tell us about your passion and hobby for photography. Guthrie: Photography adds so much value to my life, it allows me to record special events, people, or places, as well as helping me learn and grow as a person. It allows people to share their life and experiences in more meaningful ways via images, either online or printed and given as gifts. My business is “Photos By A Taste of Chicago” and the website is www.redcarpetconciergeofchicago.com Urban Sentinel Magazine: What is your greatest accomplishment in photography? Guthrie: Making the media list as a photographer to cover The Red Carpet for The Oscars, New York Fashion Week, and LA Fashion Week were big moments in time for me! I must add that having my photography used on the book cover for “I’m Still Standing” by Mildred Muhammad, the ex-wife of the DC Sniper was a career highlight and honor.

Guthrie Bonnett pictured after losing 165lbs with nothing more than diet, exercise, and a positive mindset.

Guthrie Bonnett Waist Size Reduction from Size 50 to Size 32mindset.

Photo Credit www.BlackMenInAmerica.com

Guthrie Bonnett has changed his way of thinking about his personal weight goals and the results show a more confident person

Urban Sentinel Magazine: What are your goals for your photography business? Guthrie: I have always wanted to be able to provide my services around the globe, especially to families that want to create memories although they may not have a budget to do so. Although my photography is a business, it is also very much a passion and often it becomes a labor of love. Urban Sentinel Magazine: What is your favorite quote? Guthrie: “Dreams Are Meant to Be Lived!” Urban Sentinel Magazine: How has the COVID-19 Quarantine impacted your photography business? Guthrie: Not being able to travel and make unexpected financial adjustments has been challenging. Urban Sentinel extends a word of encouragement to the people reading this article that are battling weight loss and offers words of encouragement to those dealing with emotional issues tied to their challenges with obesity. We hope this encourages you to see the benefits that a few healthy choices can make, such as monitoring your food portions, making healthy food choices,

Guthrie Bonnett is a runway model and positive influence for men and women on a weight loss journey. With his 165 pound weight drop, he says that a positive mindset and a healthy weight led to limitless possibilities for his life.

having a positive mindset, and having a meaningful hobby. The best reason to lose weight is your personal choice to lead a healthier lifestyle for an improved quality of life. Thank you, Guthrie Bonnétt, for your story.



Model: Guthrie Bonnett (#ATOC) 52

Photographer: Gaby Abboud (Chicago, IL)


by reginald kearney for the urban sentinel Chris Jasper, founding member of ‘Isley-Jasper-Isley’ and lead keyboard player of ‘The Isley Brothers’, gave the Urban Sentinel magazine a closer look into his recent project. Chris who is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio and who is currently living in upstate New York, with his wife of nearly four decades, Margie. Chris has just released his new project For The Love of You which includes Sam Cooke’s song ‘Nothing Can Change This Love.’ Urban Sentinel: Good morning Chris, it is truly an honor to be talking to you today. Growing up, I was a big fan of the Isley Brothers, and still am today. I was even part of a band in high school and we tried to play your songs. The only thing was, we didn’t sound as good as you guys. Before we go any further, I would like to ask, how are you and your family doing given the circumstances, as we all are dealing with the Covid-19 virus? Chris Jasper: We are doing well. We are just staying in and close to home. Urban Sentinel: Chris, please tell the readers about your time with the Isley Brothers. I was in high school when I started listing to you guys. So, I know the readers would love to hear about your time with the group. If I remember, you were the

lead guitar player if I am correct. Chris: No I was the main keyboard player, but I did play the bass and lead guitar on some songs. It was good for a while, I learned and experience a lot. I did a lot of touring, a lot of recording. It was a good working relationship between the three younger members me, Ernie and Marvin. As it was a big age difference between the younger members and the older members. We worked together doing the music, as I wrote most of the stuff, and Ernie wrote some stuff. It was a good experience for the time that we were together. Urban Sentinel: How long was the group together? Chris: We started in the early seventies, so I guess 1971-1983. From 1973- 1983 was the time when the albums were really selling a lot. Starting with the 3 Plus 3 album, Who’s That Lady, and the Between The Sheets album. Urban Sentinel: Do you stay in touch with any of the Brothers who are still living? Chris: No, I don’t talk them much, but when Marvin was still living I use to talk to him, but he passed in 2010. Urban Sentinel: What has been the key to your longevity in the music business, and what has motivated you to stay in URBAN SENTINEL MAGAZINE | JANUARY


the music business, to continue writing songs and to continue making people happy with your music? Chris: You know, it has always been about music. I started out to be trained as a composer and songwriter from the age of 7. I had great piano teacher and he would teach me compostion and how to analyze music and what composers were doing. From that experience I develop this thing of when I come up with an ideal, I complete the ideal and I record it so I can have a permanent fixture. So I am just use to writing and composing and I think that over the years, you just develop that and you just can’t turn it off. Urban Sentinel: What were two of your favorite Isley Brothers songs? Chris: Wow. I guess I would have to say The Heat is On album because of the collection of songs, and then the Caravan of Love. Urban Sentinel: With your performances, and I know that it has been hard to perform because of the quarantine, do you incorporate any of the Isley Brothers songs into your performances? Chris: When we toured as Isley-Jasper-Isley we did play some of the songs from the group. Now my latest album I went back and recorded some of the songs I wrote for the group, such as ‘For the Love of You,’ ‘Once Had Your Love’, ‘I Can’t Let Go,’ and ‘Go for What You Know.’ I went back and did some of these songs because I got request for them from people. This album is a cover album. Urban Sentinel: With your new project, is it going to be a slow jam album with soothing love songs or do you have some upbeat songs also? Chris: Most of it is love songs, but then ‘Go for What You Know’ is a funk jam, and this is how I end the album. I also went back and got Sam Cooke’s song ‘Nothing Can Change This Love’ and Marvin Gaye’s ‘God Is Love.’ It’s a variety of songs. Urban Sentinel: When was the last time you did a project? Chris: A couple of years ago I did a project named ‘Dance With You,’ yes a couple of years ago. Urban Sentinel: What made you do the new project


that will be released next week? Chris: In the past I have been asked to do cover albums. My son got married in September and he asked me to do another version of ‘For the Love of You.’ When I did that, it worked out so well I knew that this would be a good time to do a cover album that people have been asking me to do. So I just started picking one song after the next and it just developed that way. Urban Sentinel: You bring up a good point as it was a tribute to you and your work that caused people to ask you for a new project. Chris: We did covers back in the day when we were a group, Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight, and Summer Breeze. The group was known for doing covers and a lot of the arrangements were mine. People knew my ability to arrange songs, and they had been asking me to do other songs that we did as a group. Urban Sentinel: Did you write ‘Summer Breeze.’ Chris: ‘Summer Breeze’ was written by Seals and Cross and that was the cover. That is why I think I got those

request. Urban Sentinel: What is your favorite song on your new album? Chris: Sam Cook’s classic ‘Nothing Can Change This Love,’ ‘God is Love,’ and ‘I Once Had You Love.’ These are the ones which stand out for me. Urban Sentinel: Once we get back to what we consider a normal way of life, will you be going out on tour with your new project? Chris: Yes, I will probably look for the right deal that will support the project because you do have expenses.

With the formation of Isley-Jasper-Isley, Chris brought his “unique sound” and musical talents to the newly formed group as they topped the chart with Chris’s lead vocals on ‘Caravan of Love’ (1985), a song that was covered by English recording group, the Housemartins, an international #1 pop hit. ‘Caravan’ was also used in commercials as a part of a Dodge Caravan advertising campaign. He was also awarded a CEBA Award For Excellence for a Miller Brewing Company commercial. The music from this commercial was the bases for the song ‘Brother to Brother’ from the ‘Different Drummer’ album, which supported the anti-apartheid struggle going on in South Africa at the time. His music has also been used in radio and television commercials, including ‘Who’s That Lady’ (Swiffer) and ‘Between the Sheets’ (L’Oreal).

Urban Sentinel: What sites can you download your new project from? In 1987 when Isley-Jasper-Isley group disbanded, Chris Chris: You can go to ChrisJasper.com to buy and download brought his ‘unique sound’ to his own solo projects, topping the new project. the charts with ‘SuperBad,’ a song promoting the value of education. Chris has continued to write songs and produce Urban Sentinel: What is something you would like the readers his own R&B and Gospel music, as well as other artists, for to know about Chris Jasper? his independent record label, Gold City Records. There have Chris: I have a close relationship with God, and I am a family been many established recording artist who have covered and person because these things are important to me. sampled Chris Jasper’s music such as Whitney Houston, Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, Gwen Stefani, Fantasia, Will Smith, Alliyah, Urban Sentinel: I have really enjoyed talking to you and I Queen Latifah, Notorious B.I.G., Tupac, Natalie Cole, Jaheim, know the readers will really enjoy reading your interview and Kendrick Lamar, and the list goes on. His music has also been listening to your new project. used in many movie and television soundtracks. Chris: I really appreciate the readers and I want them to know that I don’t take them for granted. These are the people who In 1992, Chris, along with the other members of The Isley stream my music and they support me. Brothers, was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame and in 2014 he received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. The fans of the Isley Brothers all know that Chris was an integral In 2015, Chris received the German Record Critics Lifetime member of The Isley Brothers during the 1970s and the 1980s. Achievement Award. In 2016, Chris was awarded the National Chris was a very integral part of The Isley Brothers because he R&B Society Lifetime Achievement Award. Chris also received had a big role in the writing, arranging, and producing all of the BET Lifetime Achievement Award and numerous ASCAP The Isley Brothers music during this time, including such love awards. (Chris Jasper- Gold City Records). songs as ‘For The Love of You’ and ‘Between the Sheets’ and up-tempo funk such as ‘Fight the Power.’ His arrangements Chris recently released his 16th self-contained solo album and instrumentation as a classically-trained musician, and ‘For The Love of You’- a mixture of new renditions of some of his expertise on the keyboards and synthesizers, are the the songs that he wrote for the Isley Brothers, and his take on foundation of that legendary sound that we knew as the ‘Isley some soul and pop classics. Chris continues to bring that ‘Isley Brothers Sound.’ When the six members of The Isley Brothers Brothers sound’ he created to music lovers everywhere. You can disbanded in 1984, Marvin and Ernie Isley joined Chris Jasper find more information about Chris at www.goldcityrecords. and formed Isley-Jasper-Isley. Without this crucial musical com. Or www.chrisjasper.com. component, The Isley Brothers were no longer a self-produced, self-contained group.




Rodney Perry

Loving to Make People Laugh not refuse, and so began this funnyman’s career. Chicago may have been the place where Rodney began his career, but he really found his comedy stride while living in Monroe, Louisiana. In the high school he attended, Carroll High School, he often found himself acting as the host of talent shows and there were times he even emceed basketball games. Rodney’s manhood accelerated soon after he graduated from high school. He found out that fatherhood was in his near future and he had to create a stable life with a steady income for his child to be. Rodney quickly made a decision that would affect the rest of his life as he joined the U.S. Navy. He knew he could not ask his mother to take care of him and his child. He realized that he had to fulfill a father’s role and stand on his own two feet. At the end of his Navy career, Rodney decided to give his all to his comedy career. (IMDb Mini Biography By: Madeline Smith)

by reginald kearney for the urban sentinel Recently the Urban Sentinel had the opportunity to interview funnyman Rodney Perry. If you are a comedy fan, you have probably seen Rodney in movies, or you may have seen him on television. He also has a radio show on blogtalkradio.com called Rodney Perry Live. Rodney was born in Chicago where he found and discovered his comedy career. As a young boy, Rodney was a rambunctious seven-year old which caused his teacher to make a deal with him. If he would “shut up throughout the course of the day” he would be given an opportunity to perform for his classmates at the end of the day. This was a deal that Rodney could

Urban Sentinel: Good morning Rodney. We would like to thank you for taking time out of your schedule to sit down and talk with Urban Sentinel magazine. Before we get started, let’s get the elephant out of the living room. How have you been dealing with the quarantine during this Covid19 virus outbreak? Rodney: To be honest, it has been challenging and it is kind of what it is and it is forcing me to be more creative. So I have spent more time writing and creating more content since we have been in this space. Urban Sentinel: We know that it has been tough on everyone and we know that we all will make it through this situation, as we just hope and pray that this situation will soon come to an end so we can get back to our new normal way of life. Rodney: Well I think we are getting close because I’m URBAN SENTINEL MAGAZINE | JANUARY


starting to take calls from comedy clubs and shows. It is not completely normal, but we are working towards what the new normal will be.

these things, it will probably take you a while to find your way. You run the risk of taking longer to learn these things without somebody showing you.

Urban Sentinel: That is great. When I was looking at the news this morning there were a couple of cities working hard to reopen. I noticed that Las Vegas was one of the cities that was working to get businesses up and running again on the strip. Rodney: I was reading about Vegas and they were saying that they have a relatively small number of cases. So, the mayor had suggested that they try to find a way for people to get back to work. The nature of this pandemic shows us that you can be sick, and you can’t tell if a person is sick. People are being tested and they are taking people’s temperatures, but you also cannot operate in fear.

Urban Sentinel: Tell us, what has been some of the lows in your career and what have been some of the highs in your career. Rodney: I try not to dwell on the lows, there are lows every day, and there are ups and downs. The low points, I don’t even know how to answer that. I try not to stay low very long, and I try not to dwell in that place. If you don’t book something you may feel low for a moment, but you get back in the battle and you book something else. What I have learned over time you have to be thankful for every moment, for the good and the bad because they all go into creating who you are ultimately. Winning the Bay Area comedy competition was a high point for me, touring with Cedric the Entertainer was a high point for me, getting job’s on Monique’s radio show was a high point for me, and on her T.V. show was an extra high point for me. Booking the movie “Coming to America” is definitely a high point and I can’t wait for people to see it. So, I mean like you don’t have the time to count the highs and the lows, because it creates who you are.

Urban Sentinel: How did you become a comedian, who was your mentor and what comedian did you base your style on? Rodney: This is a lot of different questions in one (chuckling). I started when I was back in high school doing open mics, but I was heavily influenced by Eddie Murphy. When I saw Eddie Murphy, he was the picture of what comedy was to me and then my mentors were the people who kind of shaped me into the person I am. People like John Alston out of the Bay area who was my OG and there was another guy from New Orleans named Wayne Roberson who was very instrumental. These are people you probably have not heard of, but they showed me and other comedians the ways of the ‘Jedi.’ Then working with Cedric the Entertainer, Steve Harvey and Monique, I considered them mentors as well because they showed me the game. Urban Sentinel: How is it to work with other comedians like Steve Harvey when you are on the road? Rodney: I mean Steve and the others are great guys. The great part of being on the road with Steve is that he is always there to give you a jewel of wisdom. They will also show you how to act and behave as a star. There are certain things that you don’t know until you are around people that carry themselves a certain way. By being around Cedric the Entertainer and Steve Harvey, they showed me how to be a star, they were stars and they showed me how they treated their fans. So, it was great to be a fly on the wall to see that. Without someone showing you


Urban Sentinel: So, you are going to be part of the new “Coming to America Part II”? Rodney: Yes Urban Sentinel: Are you all still filming this movie? Rodney: No, it was in the can before the pandemic. Urban Sentinel: How did you end up working with the great Monique? Rodney: Monique had a radio program before her television show, and I went in with her to do a promotion for something else and the radio executive’s liked our chemistry. I went in on a Wednesday afternoon to sit in with her and by Friday they offered me a job as her co-host and we became fast friends. When she got the T.V. opportunity she asked me if I wanted to go and I jumped at the opportunity. Urban Sentinel: Do you stay in contact with Monique? Rodney: Yes, we do. She is doing great. She is living a vegan

lifestyle and she is always sending me recipes. Urban Sentinel: You have a great career, you are a comedian, and you are in the new movie “Coming to America Part II”. If you had to do it all again and you had to choose a profession, would you become a comedian? Rodney: Absolutely. I have never wanted to be anything else, so that wouldn’t change one bit. Urban Sentinel: In your travels I am sure that you have brought a lot of joy to a lot of people? Rodney: Yes, I have, I’m a joy bringer. Urban Sentinel: What type of advice would you give a young person who wants to have a career in Comedy? Rodney: In giving advice to someone who may want to become a teacher or an actor, I would tell them that you have to find something that you believe in, something that you love in life and do it for a living. Then don’t quit, the only way you lose the game is to quit it. And so once you start, good or bad you keep on going. Urban Sentinel: During this time of the shelter in place restrictions due to the pandemic, have you ever thought about doing a FaceBook live show or a Zoom show to try out new material or just to reach out to your fans? Rodney: I mean, I am doing them all the time. I have a show tonight. I’m not particular a FaceBook guy. I do most of my social stuff on Instagram.

Urban Sentinel: What time do you do shows? Rodney: Every Tuesday night I do an open mic on my page for comedians and singers and I also do a daily feature like a game show called “Name That T.V. Theme Song” and I do that daily around 1pm or 2pm. Urban Sentinel: Is there anything else you want the readers to know about Rodney Perry? Rodney: I mean you all kind of know it. My life is an open book. I have a book out right now called “Moments on My Journey” if anyone wants to dive into Rodney Perry. Currently I am working on a “one man” show that will be out this year, and the movie that will be out at Christmas. Urban Sentinel: Rodney, I want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to interview with Urban Sentinel magazine, and I hope that after the release of the movie we can sit down and talk again. Rodney: Sounds great and we will revisit in a couple of months. Thanks for thinking about me and I can’t wait to chat again. Rodney Perry is a Comedian, a Husband, a Father, and a Stroke Survivor. With over 20 years in entertainment, Rodney has been around the world making people laugh on a number of stages. He is the CEO of RP Live Entertainment. Visit www. RodneyPerry.com to learn more and stay connected to a legend in the making. Rodney Perry is everybody’s “funnyman”.

Advertise With Us! For advertising rates, please contact Reginald Kearney at reginald.kearney@marylanddailyexaminer.com URBAN SENTINEL MAGAZINE | JANUARY


the Leather


by reginald kearney for the urban sentinel Urban Sentinel magazine recently had the opportunity to interview one of the leading leather designers in the world who’s exclusive brand is renowned for its high end men’s and women’s genuine 100% calf and sheep skin jackets. Michael Lombard has established himself as one of the world’s most sort after designers when it comes to outfits that are made with some of the best quality leather in the world. Michael, I see that you do a lot of business around the world. So I assume that you are based out of Washington, D.C. Michael Lombard: I am based out of Maryland, where I attended the University of Maryland, but my hometown is New York City. It is known that fashion is seen as a universal term that brings out the ‘creativeness’ in people. Where does your sense of fashion and creativity come from? Michael Lombard: I keep getting ask this question a lot and I think it keeps evolving over time. I do a lot of traveling around the world and I have been to a lot of places, I have been to South Africa, Dubai and Monaco. I just starting pulling ideals from things I see, such as architecture, and culture. As I get a creative ideal, I can’t wait to get back, so I always bring my sketch book and I always start sketching whatever my 60

thought process may be. Usually it ends up being a collection. So traveling has been my inspiration lately and I am being inspired by all kinds of cultures and architecture. I was looking at one of your creations which was in the form of a tear gas mask. Tell the reader’s how you came up with this design. Michael Lombard: I have a team for that. I do basic mask designs such as goggles and I work with different head piece makers to accentuate my outfits. So I will come up and say I am thinking about doing my World War M collection and I will be thinking about the First World War. I am thinking about gas mask with studs and diamonds, so I put the word out and it comes back to me. I pretty much design the whole mask, but I don’t have time to make them because I am concentrating on my outfits. That is why I have a good team who can take the design and bring it to fruition for me. What was the very first piece of fashion that you designed and sold? Michael Lombard: The very first piece I made was a men’s jacket made out of calfskin, with gold zippers on it. I made it for me but someone wanted to buy it and it was sold two days later.



Forbes, and GQ magazines. What year was it when you sold your very first piece? Michael Lombard: I sold this piece in 2017. How did ‘leather’ become your creative material of choice? Michael Lombard: Great question. I have always been a lover of leather, and I would always buy leather jackets throughout my existence. So one day I was thinking, I am a great sketcher, I know how to make patterns, so why can’t I make jackets for me. Why do I need to keep buying other people’s jackets, why don’t I make my own? I made three jackets from my design, which includes the first jacket I made for me, then I posted it on the internet, and I was contacted by New York Fashion Week. They asked me if I would like to be a part of New York Fashion Week and I told them that I was not a designer. I told them that I made these designs for me. They ask me how long would it take me to make 15 outfits and I felt that this was an honor for me because I am not a fashion designer. I asked them when would the event be and they said in two months and I told them that I would have the outfits for them and I went back and said to myself is this real. It was really fast, so I started by sketching and designing 25 pieces, I went to New York Fashion Week, and they loved me. The Huffington Post was there and they wrote an article about me, calling me the “King of Leather”. From there it took off. The rest is history, 140 news outlets, 99 magazines, such as Vogue, Glamour,


What determines the type of leather that you buy? Michael Lombard: You have to have great manufactures, great sourcing and great sources of leather. The reason I decided on leather is because no one was doing leather, it is very expensive, so I knew that there wouldn’t be much competition. I source the best leather in the world. I only do high end sheepskin and high end calfskin. You have to find the best manufactures’ so each time you get the product, it will always be the same.

Who is your biggest clientele base, celebrities or noncelebrities? Michael Lombard: My clientele base is definitely high end given the fact that my collections range from $1500 to $40,000. I have dressed a lot of celebrities from Paula Abdul, Lele Pons, Ovy On The Drums, and the list goes on and on. Altogether I have dressed around 40 celebrities. What goes into a $40,000 designer outfit? Michael Lombard: There is a lot to it because it is a customize jacket, it’s the high end texture of the leather, and most of the time these jackets are fully studded. It could take up to a month to make one outfit, and a lot of times it is your name that makes the outfit valuable. These jackets are rare as most

of the time my range is $1500 to $12,000. Do you make one of a kind designs for your clients? Michael Lombard: And this is why they pay the big money, because these are one-offs, because if I do a really good design, my thought process is that I want to sale it to everyone. If I am going to make only one, it is going to cost you because it is a really good design. There are times that they will ask me to make them an exclusive outfit based on an outfit that I have for sale on my site. I tell them that I can do it but it will cost more, so I may add more studs or alter the design somewhat, so it can be exclusive to my client. You went to the University of Maryland. Do you have an educational background in fashion? Michael Lombard: I majored in Government and Politics with a minor in Business Management. I thought that I was going to be a lawyer. What is your best advice you can give to emerging fashion

designers? Michael Lombard: I am asked this question all of the time. I think about my answer all of the time and the answer has evolved. The thought that I had last year, may change this year. Knowing the industry that I know now and even through my Forbes interview when they were asking me about racism in fashion, 99% of all designers are not going to make it. They are not because the industry is so over saturated that no one knows what to buy or who to buy. If you go to Instagram, every second post is some kind of designer making something. Just don’t go into this business thinking that you are going to make it because this is a business. You have to have capital, you have to have money. You may be able to make beautiful dress, and no one may see it. This is a dog eat dog world as you have to concentrate on marketing, raising money and getting your name known. When I start I didn’t go after the money, and this is where many designers make their mistake because no one knows you, so how can you raise money. Who is going to buy you? So I went the route of getting people to know the name Michael Lombard because they are not buying the



days? Michael Lombard: The Covid-19 virus is a big challenge now because businesses are closed down and when stores open back up, people will not be buying a lot of product. The store is open in London as this area has open back up, and customers can still order online. I have also been doing a lot of magazine interviews. What is the next step in your career? Michael Lombard: I have a sneaker line coming out, and I have also been making purses and backpacks which involve using leather. This is a nature progression for me as I have leather jackets and now I have shoes and purses. He also mention that he was the only Black designer to be sponsored by Monster drinks. According to his website this international celebrity fashion designer started out as a record label executive and he quickly realized his passion for designing and creating something unique in the fashion industry. He is crowned as “The King of Leather” by Huffington Post, and his collections have been worn by professional athletes to music stars around the world. product, they are buying the name. The name is more valuable than the clothes. By getting my name in magazines around the world, once this happens, people began to know who you are and they buy your designs. So don’t get in the industry thinking that you are going to be the next Gucci. Do you do internship’s? Michael Lombard: I have had interns, but they just wanted to work with me, so I have them to help me with the marketing and media interviews. This learning helps them and it helps me to run my business. Do you have a small showroom where you can show your designs? Michael Lombard: I actually have product in a high end boutique store which is located in London called ‘The Cherry Moon’, and I have another store opening in August in Northern Ireland. So most of my designs are online and I am beginning to go into stores. Michael also stated that he would not be opening a store in Washington, D.C., but if more stores were open they would be in Milan, Paris, and London. What is the greatest challenge for fashion designers these 64



Raising Daughters by stacey henry-carr for the urban sentinel Lavonda Murphy may appear to be an ordinary woman, but she is doing some extraordinary things. Especially when it comes to raising her five girls and being the “Daughters of Mothers Advocate”. Lavonda Murphy has been serving in the United States Army for the last 21 years and is working toward her retirement in 2021. She has served her country and gained many rewarding experiences along the way. But it is her anticipation of the next chapter of her life that brings her the most joy. She has always had the desire to 66

serve in the community and she proclaimed her work with Daughters of Mothers as a vital part of her journey and next chapter. When we talked about her next chapter her love and connection to her family and her Daughters of Mothers group permeated through the conversation. There is no doubt about the passion she has around her awakened purpose. She is ready to go out in the world and show daughters and mothers how they connect and what they mean to each other. She said, “I am truly an advocate of

women and helping them to understand who they are so that they can put that knowledge into their girls” Lavonda wants to reach uninformed women to teach them about self-love; what it is and how it should look and feel. As she counts down to the next chapter of her life, she has a vivid blueprint of the service she will provide as a coach to women, daughters, and mothers. Her Facebook group Daughters of Mothers- May We Raise Them is a safe place for support. Lavonda describes her group as a village that “will provide counsel and comfort necessary to raise our little world changers” The mission of her mothers and daughter is a loving helping community where women can come for nonjudgmental support. Where they can continuously learn about themselves from others' mistakes and triumphs. She wants women to learn to share. She said, “sharing is so important, nobody wants to be alone, in this group you can ditch the pride, competition, and the jealousy and just share”. Lavonda’s reason for her passion for her group is her five beautiful daughters, her mom, and her “bonus mom”. She is motivated by the lessons she learned from both mother-figures in her life. She used these gems and nuggets to continue to shape her girls. She remembers not being the best daughter and decided to do her best job as a mom. She wants her girls to know they have a tribe! She has surrounded them with good people with great energy. I asked Lavonda what she was looking forward to most about her retirement from the military, and she answered peace of mind to do what she loves which is spending more time with her family. With humility, she stated that her husband had been so supportive for all the years of her being in the military and she was looking forward to giving back that support to make his business Steady Growth Fitness thrive. Her face lit up as she spoke about

continuing to help her five daughters with their bath bomb business Murphy’s Love. Her passion around this was a testament to her commitment to her family. I could not end my interview without asking Lavonda how the recent events have affected her multi-racial family; she took a deep breath before she responded. She explained that living with a biracial family is the reality that she faced with her white husband before they had children. They talked about systemic racism, generational wealth, slavery, and all the intricacies of race. There was no hiding from these realities especially when they planned on having children. And now they talk to their children about who they are as people, not their color. Although she explained to her girls that they are viewed by society as black women, she still struggles with checking the boxes on the application. Her children are in the other category on a form, but at home, they are her daughters born to an Irish descendent white father and a Black mother. She recognizes the importance of raising her girls to be strong women. She plans to help them to create phenomenal lives by teaching them selflove and surround them with a positive community. Lavonda Murphy does not want her children to believe that being black is a “strike against them” this is a phrase that is said to many children. She knows that when you are shaping young minds, you must set them up for success. She wants her daughters to know they can have what they desire and not to limit themselves. It is her lessons learned as a daughter and a mother of five girls that she wants to share with other women. Why did God give me five girls?” then she answered by saying, “to show the world five different ways to love”. Contact Lavonda Murphy: https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=daughters%20 of%20mothers-may%20we%20raise%20them https://www.facebook.com/murphyslove5 URBAN SENTINEL MAGAZINE | JANUARY



by corretta l. doctor for the urban sentinel

Gary Dennis Hines is a musician that speaks to the world from his soul. He is the epitome of a career musician and for 50 years Gary has been in the business of creating a work of legendary sound: music that encompasses culture and history. Gary loves music and he makes no excuses for his undeniable ‘marriage to the music” that he focuses on with an aggressive passion. He is the Music Director and Producer of Sounds of Blackness, a vocal and instrumental ensemble from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Today, Gary Hines is the only original member of Sounds of Blackness and with 30 members the group is comprised of 20 singers and 10 musicians. Sounds of Blackness is a 3-time Grammy award winning cultural institution, they are not just a band. Gary is the youngest of six children born to Edward J. and Doris Hines, both deceased. Gary was born and raised in Yonkers, New York and lived in the Schlobohm Housing Projects, also widely referred to as “slow bomb” projects for its familiar stories of struggle and crime that riddled the community. Gary is proud of his beginnings in Yonkers, the place many call home and the place that produced some mega stars; Mary J. Blige lived in Schlobohm for 11 years. Gary grew up in a home with five siblings, he is child six. His Mother, Doris, was an international Jazz singer, performing with great acts such as Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, and Sarah Vaughan. Doris had a four-octave voice that landed her titles such as “The Satin Doll” and with her global 68

reach into regions such as Japan among her travels with the USO, she was also known as “Queen of the Eastern Supper Clubs”. Her friend, civil rights activist and award winning poet Maya Angelou, wrote of Doris in her literary works. Gary’s father Edward was from Laurinburg, North Carolina, a city in Scotland County. Laurinburg is a Tree City and is located just under 50 miles from Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Doris named the first five of her children, there were three boys and three girls. Edward asked Doris if he could name the sixth baby. She said yes and Edward named Gary Dennis after two American actors by giving their son his first name from Gary Cooper and his middle name from Dennis Day.

for Recording Arts (HSRA) has released new music that educates and empowers people. The new release, ‘Sick and Tired’ is an uplifting song with a message. The video is hitting digital spaces worldwide. Jamecia Bennett, daughter of the incomparable Ann Nesby and mother of Season 5 American Idol finalist #5 Paris Bennett, is the director of the video for the song Sick and Tired. Watch here: http://www.soundsofblackness.org/

Gary credits both parents for encouraging him to learn music. He recalls his days of going to The Samuel H. Dow American Legion post 1017 in Yonkers to study music. Gary started out as a drummer. His instrument of choice, and unquestionable precision is the piano/keyboards. Gary is an amazing talent and we know his parents are proud of him. Gary lives moments away from where George Floyd’s life ended at the hands of police in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The moment Gary heard about Floyd’s death, what he describes as “the modern day lynching”, he felt anger, outrage, and was livid. Gary stepped to the streets where so many are losing their life unnecessarily, and without a pause, he supported the vigils and protests. Gary says, “A change is going to come, and it has already started.” Gary and the Sounds of Blackness featuring High School

Gary has a list of accomplishments and his work has landed him on many stages throughout the world. After years of singing about the Motherland, Gary declares his trip to the Pan-African Cultural Festival in Accra, Ghana as his #1 personal career highlight. “Standing where my forefathers stood and hearing the locals say welcome home was life changing.” You can hear the URBAN SENTINEL MAGAZINE | JANUARY


generations of musicians that will keep the spirit of the cultural institution of The Sounds of Blackness alive, Gary continues to lead with pride. He is recognized across educational platforms, global stages, and everywhere in between as a leading force in the music industry and educational system.

pride in Gary’s voice as he reminisces on that voyage.

When I asked Gary, what is your TODAY story, he replied candidly, “my today story is the same as my yesterday story.” Gary is consistent and ever growing in his ability to teach through music. He is a firm believer in loving what you do. Gary loves his role in music and it fulfills his life.

Gary has two Honorary Doctorates, one of those from his Alma Mater, Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. Gary is an American icon in a genre of music that is healing and helpful, just as much as it is entertaining. Keeping with the goal to educate and lead

Dr. Gary Dennis Hines is the foundation of the infrastructure of good, creative, soul stirring music that embodies culture. He followed his childhood endeavors to be a great musician and he arrived. He is a great person and musician and we applaud him for his love of music and his ability to share that love with the world.



Handbags by stacey henry-carr for the urban sentinel

There are many women out there with an addiction to handbags, and I happen to be one of those women. So, it was a treat to connect with this beautiful creative soul and write about her. Linell took her addiction to handbags and created a successful business designing and selling a handbag experience. These beautiful and classy handbags are the physical representation of the feeling of completeness, luxury, and connection to yourself. Linell Ellis’ motto is “Live Completely” and each bag is designed with that mantra in mind. When women purchase a Linell Ellis bag they are joining a movement of women who are on a journey to living completely and luxuriously. Linell is a Columbia, Maryland native who is inspired by the beauty she sees in the world and through her travels. She is a self-taught designer whose purpose is to inspire women to live completely and she uses the brand and her handbags to accomplish it. She encourages women to slow down and enjoy the precious moments in life and know that true luxury is in life’s experience.

Linell is a wife and mother with a true connection to her family and expresses her love and commitment to them through the designs, the names, and the details of her handbags. Her handbags are named after the women in her family. They take on the personalities, qualities, and memories she has of these phenomenal women. Her inspiration came from the summers she spent with them in Virginia, and the vibrant colors from the picturesque scenes from her travels. One of my favorites is the Signature Novelty Florence Envelope Clutch which is a vivid representation of her spirited aunt Florence. Then there is The Theresa Tote which is “reliable like a trusted friend”. The Joyce Bucket Bag is the summer favorite, Candi Satchel and North-South Shopper are all classy and crafted with details.


Linell Ellis was established in 2000, but the growth of her business took off with a relaunch in 2013 after taking a break to be present as mother and a wife. Her infectious smile lit up when she talked about the origin of the idea that led to her successful business. She shared that she would purchase many handbags and one day her husband said, “maybe there is something you are looking for in a bag that is not out there, you should make your own”. It was with that encouragement from her husband that she started her research for what would become Linell Ellis handbags. As a child, she would watch her mother match her bags with her shoes and that was an imprint that stuck with her and sparked her love for handbags. Linell recognizes that there are many changes and experiences in life that a woman URBAN SENTINEL MAGAZINE | JANUARY


goes through, and with her is a handbag, a stable part of her journey. And so, she designed the bags with a focus on lifestyle, classic but with a dash of the trend that works with the change of seasons. The handbags are considered an investment that will last for a long time. Linell lights up when she speaks of her husband and his involvement in their business. She lovingly talked about him and referred to him as the “backbone” of the business. “Ellis is the behind the scenes partner of the business, my biggest fan, and motivator”. She stated that there would be no Linell Ellis without her husband. He encourages her not to give up and keeps the business running smoothly. “He is the operation and quality of the business”. This family-owned business has a foundation of love and partnership. The “Living Completely” motto resonated fully with Linell after she left her corporate job and focused on her business full time. This allowed her the opportunity to savor the moments with her loved ones. She said she has always known that her purpose was to help people and she uses her brand message to do so. Therefore, her messaging which includes The Turtle Logo is a vital part of her brand and the Linell Ellis’ handbag experience. “The turtle moves slowly through life as to not miss anything. Her life is long and memorable. The Shell is her safety and shield. It is where she goes when things get tough and she needs to rest” Linell Ellis has added some accessories to her line; mugs, and coasters which are a few of the items that resonate with people who are “Living Completely” and taking life slowly. If you want to join the Linell Ellis, “Live Completely” journey you can go to the website https:// linellellis.com/ Linell said “being an entrepreneur is gratifying, find your passion and don’t give up. Once you are successful remember to help someone else”.



THE PIVOT by dr. anita davis-defoe for the urban sentinel

In this season, everyone should create an enterprise, a second income source, a strategy for maintaining income in order to maintain home and health! Waiting on approval of a stimulus check or receipt of unemployment benefits is enough to keep anyone up at night, drowning in worry. One cure for those sleepless nights is positioning your life and livelihood for the pivot. There has been a lot of chatter about pivoting, that is from a central point, how does a mechanism turn, shift, keep it moving; maintain balance. Applying this concept to our lives and businesses has become more important than ever before. Yes, it is a given that all of us are faced with the perils of COVID 19 and adapting to change in the face of a global pandemic is a must. Critical to achieving this shift is embracing attitudes and executing actions that foster survival, moreover thriving. Clearly, the ways of work and business have transformed right before our eyes, making the choice become prepare or perish. Brands that we all know, churches we used to attend, places we use to dine, and leisure activities that were once abundant have decreased or disappeared. So, what can we do…we must position for the pivot. A few pivots that we all must ponder and master include: Pivot #1 – The Market Pivot, take notice of the changes in the marketplace, both in the job market and in the business market. What changes do you need to make

in response to the shifts? What skills do you need to qualify for a livable wage job, or what products and services do you need to offer to grow your business? Pivot #2 - The Process Pivot, review how you are handling your business; that is, in response to changes in the market, do you need to change how you are doing things, do you need to shift the steps you use for finding work or creating your product and services. Process is your how, so make the adjustments required for you to achieve your goals. Pivot #3 – The Engagement Pivot, be clear about who you need to connect with and how you will establish and maintain these vital relationships and partnerships. Connecting and creating essential ecosystems is a must. Pivot #4 – The Pricing Pivot, what is a fair price for your services on a job or for the products and services that your business sells? Aligning price and product is essential, and whether on a job or in enterprise, appropriate pricing is essential. Pivot #5 – The People Pivot – be clear about who supports your efforts and who encourages you; know who your stakeholders are and always work to maintain value-added relationships with all of the people in your circle. Pivot #6 – The Message Pivot- strive to communicate



a positive message at work or in business. Be aware of

strategy. During these COVID times, business

the message that you are sending in your words and

continuity has become a main concern because of


our relentless quest to earn money. I however like to see business as an opportunity to supply and provide

Pivot #7 – The Branding Pivot – everything and

quality goods and products at prices everyone can

everybody has a brand. Make sure that your brand

afford. In the Caribbean our dilemma is not only to

represents you well on the job or when it comes to your

change our business strategy but products, customers

business. What are you known for, do you work with

and entire business processes and procedures. As one

a spirit of excellence or the just getting by syndrome?

of COESL's mentor and Board member likes to say "no

Brand can open the door, but once inside you as an

one is coming to save us". Now is the perfect time for

employee or as an enterprise must deliver!

fundamental change of all the proponents relevant to sustainability.”

Pivot #8 – The Skills Pivot – do you have the skills to pay the bills? We are in a knowledge, conceptual

Responding to change these days, in work and

economy that is fueled by innovation. Technical skills

business, must be intentional and strategic, and

are essential for today’s well paying jobs and skill

preparing for your personal and professional pivot

offered by your business and the skills you have as an

should be a daily consideration. Evaluate where you

entrepreneur become the difference makers. Strive to

are and where you want go, and then create your

learn something new every day.

roadmap to get there.

Pivot #9 - The Network Pivot – learning to network is essential when searching for a job or building a business. Your network can unlock a pathway to opportunity Pivot #10 - The Mindset Pivot – what do you believe you deserve and can achieve? Is your mindset focused on problems or possibility? Mindset is everything! When Dr. Marcia Brandon, Managing Director and Chief Entrepreneur Expert at the Caribbean Center of Excellence for Sustainable Livelihoods was asked about the pivot, she commented, “ Pivoting has become that word in business which describes change in business





From the Inside Out by claudia newby tynes for the urban sentinel Scripture Reference: “I have come that they may have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10) KJV In mid March 2020, a global pandemic known as the Corona Virus or COVID-19 encapsulated the world. No one was exempt. These chaotic, confusing, and fearful times of uncertainty were thrust upon everyone (believers and nonbelievers) alike. It erupted and invaded every sphere of what we knew as “normal” lifestyles. Even though our normal may not have worked the way we desired, our normal was appeasing to our physical eyes. People are worried and afraid. They worry over the loss of loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic and other diseases labeled as natural causes. Massive losses of jobs have resulted in fears of evictions and foreclosures. Decisionmakings escalated and challenged parents and educators on whether to send their children back to schools and colleges via in-person learning, virtual learning or hybrid learning. Keeping food on the table to feed their families has risen at an alarming rate. Food bank distributors are overwhelmed by the supply and demand. Cars stretching many miles with concerned occupants inside waited for hours to get food for their families only to leave empty-handed and disappointed. Deadly and threatening wildfires on the West Coast hurled out of control. An upcoming presidential election in November 2020 looms among all of these uncertainties, and systemic racism and country-wide protests are problematic. As a believer, let me share with you that there is hope embedded amid these uncertain times of chaos, confusion, and fear. This quarantined lockdown posed so many challenges for me, my family, and my own mindset. Looking through the lens of my own physical eyes has caused me to think about the “What Ifs…?” While the physical (what we see) is real; it’s subject to change. Those things I cannot see are eternal according to (2 Corinthians 4:18). Reading and meditating on this scripture encouraged me to focus my eyes and my mind on the things unseen rather than the seen. The Holy Spirit gave me a gentle reminder and shifted my view and mindset to tap into God’s Spirit who lives on the 76

inside of me. God is my Father; I am His child. I am a citizen of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is God’s way of doing life, and not the world’s way. His Kingdom yields righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17). Keeping my mind fixed on Him keeps me in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). I am living from the inside out by living His Word. God knows my needs; He is my good Shepherd (Psalm 23). Getting to know the Word of God will help you to live from the inside out. Will you trust Him with your life, see (Roman 10:9-10), and with the lives of your family? His strength is made perfect during your weaknesses. Is He knocking on the door of your heart? If so, invite Him in; He will show you how to live from the inside out too.

I'M SPEAKING by dr. sharon h. porter for the urban sentinel “When a woman speaks in a professional setting, she walks a tightrope. Either she’s barely heard or she’s judged as too aggressive”. ~Sheryl Sandberg The one and only vice-presidential debate took place on Wednesday, October 7, 2020. There were many moments that were highlighted through the mainstream media and social media. In my opinion, none more powerful than Kamala Harris stating “Mr. Vice-President, I’m speaking, I’m speaking.” The vice-president continued to interrupt and interject into many of the responses of Senator Harris. Why is this significant? Many women immediately felt a sense of familiarity with the vice-president’s behavior. Most noted, Black women. Kamala Harris asserted her right to speak. This should be a lesson to all women. In the book, The Silent Sex: Gender, Deliberation and Instuitions, authors, Christopher E. Karpowitz and Tali Mendelberg show how the gender composition and rules of a deliberative body dramatically affect who speaks, how the group interacts, and whose voice prevails. It contends that efforts to improve the representation of women will fall short unless they address institutional rules that impede women’s voices. The ability or willingness to speak reflect one’s authority. Karopowitz and Mendelberg found that overall women speak less in deliberative settings.In the case of Kamala Harris in the vice-presidential debate, this was due to no fault of her own. The moderator could or would not enforce the rules agreed upon by Harris and Pence ( two, uninterrupted minutes). Numerous studies have examined how often women are interrupted by men. A study conducted by Don H. Zimmeran and Candance West; Sex Roles, Interruptions and Silences in Conversation, anaylzed 31 separate two-part conversations. The researchers found 48 total interruptions of which 46 of them were by men (96 percent). Women must push back if they are interrupted; just as Senator

Harris did. Another study was conducted on the women on the Supreme Court. At the time, there were three female justices, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and Justice Elena Kagan--65.9 percent of all interruptions were directed at them. Manterrupting is a scientifically documented phenomenon; unnecessary interruption of a woman by a man. Just think back to 2009 when Kanye West came onto the stage at the MTV Video Music Awards, grabbed the microphone from Taylor Swift as she was accepting the award for best female video. He simply took over. Regardless if it is in politics, entertainment, in the workplace or in everyday conversation, the interruptions must stop. In an op-ed in the New York Times, Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant cite research showing that powerful male Senators speak significantly more than their junior colleagues, while female Senators do not. It is important that women not undermine their authority. We must be prepared to stand up for ourselves...every time. Your body language must be intentional. “Strike a Pose” as they say… a power pose! Power posing helps build confidence and rids of the feeling of the Imposter Syndrome. “Women belong wherever decisions are being made.” Know the value of your voice, feel the authority of your voice. Gender bias is real. Speak up and be proud of who you are and all that you have to say. Women have been silenced for far too long. The next time you are interrupted, don’t hesitate to say, “Excuse me, I’m Speaking!



T aBaltimore’s k ia RBeautiful o ss

Beacon of Light by C. NaTasha Richburg for the urban sentinel

Takia Ross is a makeup artist and business owner extraordinaire. She calls every woman she encounters “Beautiful” as testament to the positivity exuded through her radiant allure. “I love seeing amazing dope women perk up when they are reminded that they are ‘Beautiful’, both inside and out.” Takia believes “there is power gained by women being affirmed when called ‘Beautiful,’ ‘Gorgeous;’ ‘Glamorous,’ or ‘Dope,’ such affirmations emit inner power.” Women are not normally used to hearing proclamations of their beauty from acclaimed business brokers. This naming convention used by Takia enhances women’s inner qualities. That is especially relevant when the affirmation of “beauty” is coming from a confident, talented African-American woman who is a beacon of light for the community. That’s what makes Takia a welcoming breath of fresh air. The mother of three was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland’s Westport and Cherry Hill neighborhoods. Both are communities that continue to rise above its challenges to resonated rich African-American traditions filled with family and friends with deep


generational roots. Takia’s mother is the center of

Master's Degree, although I was working on it at the

many strong memories for her. “No matter what,

time. It was very discouraging. Not only was I not

whenever I said I need her, my mother would always

able to live my calling of teaching, but I also wasn't able

be there; standing right by my side” that is the picture

to pay for the Master's Degree I needed due to a lack

of her mother that allows Takia’s light to shine even

of finances to afford college, take care of my family,

today as she forges toward the hope for a meaningful

and pay out of pocket for the credentials I required to

life’s journey. It is past experience that helps us focus

maintain my college teaching jobs.

on our future. Takia’s path was to own and run a business.

As the owner of Accessmatized Make-Up Artistry, home of Pretty Mobile Baltimore, DMV's First

What motivated you to pursue business ownership?

Mobile Make-Up Studio, Takia decided to take a non-

I have always dreamed of being a businesswoman

traditional route to raise the much-needed capital to

and I have started many businesses throughout

grow her business. She began pitching her business

the course of my life (not necessarily knowing that

in Business Pitch Competitions where she raised over

I was "in business"). But it wasn't until I started

$65,000 in cash and prizes. In 2018 she created and

Accessmatized, which includes professional makeup

hosted the first So You Want to Pitch Conference with

artistry for special occasions, film/video and stage

the mission of sharing with other entrepreneurs how

in addition to instructing new and existing makeup

to plan for, prepare to, and pitch their businesses for

artists that I truly began to believe that I could be a

funding. In 2019, the conference was expanded to

successful entrepreneur. Accessmatized was launched

not only assist businesses in pitching for capital, but

for two major reasons: First, I needed to earn

also to share information and best practices to help

additional money to take care of my family. Though

businesses pitch for customers, collaborators, and on

I did everything the "world" told me I should do to

social media. In 2019, she also launched her own line

be successful, I continued to struggle to make ends

of cosmetics products, all of which are named after

meet. After earning two degrees and working a good

people, places, and things in Baltimore. In 2020 she

government job, I was still unable to pay my rent or

began her own small batch manufacturing to further

car payment or effectively take care of my children.

expand her product line. In addition, Takia has

It was very discouraging. Second, I was personally

authored the workbook So You Want to Pitch: How to

unfulfilled. I had my dream job to teach history at

Plan, Prepare and Pitch Your Business Funding. She

the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC)

is currently working on a second ebook entitled

and Morgan State University. The students I taught left

Ain't Made It Yet! How I DIY My Business and How

rave reviews on the college surveys and were meeting

You Can Too, a resource for business owners.


success as they progressed through their college journeys; I was informed that I would no longer be

What advice would give a struggling business owner?

able to teach history because I didn't already have a

We had mobile makeup unit (minibuses) destroyed



while in the custody of the City of Baltimore and I lost team members while having to make the hard decision to close our brick and mortar location while trying to keep the business afloat. We’ve seen our fair share of ups and downs. What I have learned is that everything that my team and I have gone through, every trial and tribulation, every joy and triumph have prepared us for this moment. Now, all I have to do is show up. I am learning to stop asking, Why me?, and start asking, Why I am learning this? Once you change your mindset, you will change the trajectory of your life. Once you realize that things are not happening to you they are happening for you, you can push through the hard times toward greatness. All you need is the strength to hold on to that mustard seed of faith and the drive to keep moving! According to Lao Tzu, “Every journey begins with a single step.” Takia has taken many steps thus far as she trains students in her craft while calling women “Beautiful.” Find out more information about Takia Ross at: https://www.accessmatized.com/








PHOTO CREDITS Cover, Pages 21, 22, 23, 25 Mathew Knowles Photo Credits: Music World Entertainment Table of Contents, Pages 4, 6 Bryan Carroll Photo Credits: Charmaine McCray Table of Contents, Pages 11, 12, 13, 15, 16 Dr. Fredrick Jacobs Photo Credits Avery Williams and Julie Mancini Table of Contents, Pages 27, 29 Dr. Anayo Umerah Photo Credits: Timothy Brantley Makeup: Olympia Kent, Hair: Sedric Lanard Page 57 Rodney Perry Photo Credit: Richard "Ryche Rych" Howard www.rycherrych.com Page 61 Designer: Michael Lombard Photo Credit: Alot Pictures MUA: Joanne Armstrong Jewelry: Tigerbite Jewels Page 62 Designer: Michael Lombard Collection: World War M Collection Photo Credit: Marcos Vasconcelos Models: Cassis Andrea, Alvaro Castillo, Sarah Respass, Gabriella Nepomuceno, Michael Lombard Headpieces: Michael Lombard Make-up: Cassis Castillo, Sarah Respass Hair: Sarah Respass

Page 63 Designer: Michael Lombard Collection: Cyberpunk Collection Photo Credit: Alot Pictures Models: Jazmin Gonzalez, Usha Henriquez MUA: Joanne Armstrong Page 64 (Top Image) Designer: Michael Lombard Collection: Cyberpunk Collection Photo Credit: Alot Pictures Models: Jazmin Gonzalez, Usha Henriquez, MUA: Joanne Armstrong Page 64 (Bottom Image) Designer: Michael Lombard Collection: CYBERPUNK COLLECTION Photo Credit: Frank MacDonald Models: Olivia Chiacchia, Sasha L, Melissa Pardo, Kayla Stern, Kenzie Blakeslee, Michael Lombard ML MUA Team: Lead Makeup: Joanne Armstrong, Emma Bright Hair: Alicia Blakeslee Jewelry: Tigerbite Jewels Googles: Michael Lombard Page 68 Gary Hines Phot Credit: Karl Demer, Atomic K Studios, Minneapolis



Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.