Page 1

URBAN PROFESSIONAL LIFESTYLE

Lynard Joiner Sr.

1

Urban Professional Lifestyle


2

Urban Professional Lifestyle


3

Urban Professional Lifestyle


4

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Springfield, IL Branch

NAACP

5

Urban Professional Lifestyle


6

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Your tax partners

GET YOUR CASH FLOWING AGAIN OUR OFFICES ARE THE ONLY ONES WITH

We get more money in your pockets faster 1602 SOUTH GRAND AVE E SPRINGFIELD IL 62703 217-544-4177

855 NORTH FAIRVEIW DECATUR IL 62522 217-429-4530

1659 EAST ELDORADO DECATUR IL 62521 217-233-1436 7

Urban Professional Lifestyle


8

Urban Professional Lifestyle


9

Urban Professional Lifestyle


10

Urban Professional Lifestyle


11

Urban Professional Lifestyle


12

Urban Professional Lifestyle


13

Urban Professional Lifestyle


14

Urban Professional Lifestyle


15

Urban Professional Lifestyle


16

Urban Professional Lifestyle


17

Urban Professional Lifestyle


18

Urban Professional Lifestyle


For Custom Artwork Contact: Email:

blacknsamoan@yahoo.com

Web:

www.tauraunsartworld.com

Phone: 214-545-2023 19

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Magazine

20

Urban Professional Lifestyle


21

Urban Professional Lifestyle


We are extremely excited about this month’s issue which is our 2nd Anniversary Issue. We have covered local, state and national and international events the last two years. From the Haiti Earthquake, Osama Bin Laden’s death, the Arab Spring Revolts, Occupy Wall Street, the assault on Worker rights in states such as Wisconsin and Indiana, and the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the nation’s mall in Washington to name a few. However, no event is as important to this nation and the world as our nation’s Presidential Election in November of this year. Once the Republicans decide on a nominee, this election promises to be not only very close but will dictate the course of our country for probably the next four to twelve years no matter who wins! Contrary to what some politicians will have you believe this election is not about “Class Warfare “ but about the role of government in the lives of everyday Americans and the role that our nation will have in the rest of the world. Please don’t get it confused! This will not be an easy task especially with states such as South Carolina and others embarking to suppress the minority, youth and elderly vote by requiring certain types of photo I.D. in order to cast a vote. Our course is mandate and our mandate is obvious…We must do all that we can to insure that President Barack Obama is re-elected. If you not have proper identification or if you know of someone who does not make sure that you and them have it prior to Election Day. On the cover this issue is Atlanta’s own and personal trainer to the stars, Dolvett Quince. Dolvett Quince has emerged as one of the nation’s premiere trainers which has gotten him a recurring role in NBC’s hit show The Biggest Looser. We look forward to seeing much more of Dolvett in the years to come. We also profile youth advocate and motivational speaker Lynard Joiner Sr. Mr. Joiner was recently released from federal prison where he served over seventeen years for selling drugs. While in prison, he turned his life around and uses his experiences before, during and after prison to teach at risk youths the benefit of having and making the right choices in life. His story is one of triumph over adversity. 22

Urban Professional Lifestyle


We also profile and congratulate Karen Freeman-Wislon in her victory as Gary, Indiana’s first African American female mayor. She has her work cut out for her and we wish her much success in her endeavor to turn the troubled city around. In addition, we profile Yorli Huff who joined the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department in Chicago as a Special Drug Agent at the tender age of twenty-four. Yorli excelled at her work, but her rise to the top brought with it racism and discrimination. In 1997, after trying unsuccessfully to deal with that discrimination on her own, Huff made history when she filed a lawsuit against the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department, a battle which took her eleven years to win. She is a true superhero. We also profile author and playwright Shoya Bowman. Shoya inaugural play Love’s Got A Hold On Me is a dramatic play that tells the story of two best friends that desire to live one another’s lives will be held on March 9th and 10th of 2012, at Freedom Hall Manilow Theatre in Chicago. Break a leg Shoya. In our Model Showcase this month we feature Brazilian born but U.S. raised Ralen Watts. Ralen not only has beauty but also brains. A former Oil and Gas professional for one of the world’s largest corporations, Ralen is primary evidence of what it takes to succeed in your profession and in life. Cleo Jones is a strong representation of a female fighting against all odds and discrimination for women in the entertainment industry and abroad. She is an entertainer mentored by Chuck D of Public Enemy and has shared the stage with legends such as MC Lyte, KRS-One, ICE T, Public Enemy, Kool Herc and many more. We also profile Holistic Healer Angela Auset Baker. Mrs. Baker has accumulated close to a decade worth of knowledge in the fields of holistic nutrition, veganism, energy healing, and herbal remedies. In addition, she has launched Goddess Body Detox , her own line of natural care products. Don’t miss this article! Happy New Year & Hope you enjoy it! Regards,

W. E. “Pete” Reeves Founder/Publisher 23

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Publisher

VERVE Media, Inc. P.O. Box 2704 Springfield, Illinois 62708 Office : 217-761-5778 Fax: 217-793-6939 Cell: 901-832-1144 Email: voicemagonline@gmail.com Web Site: voiceonline.yolasite.com

Editor &

General Manager

W. E. “Pete” Reeves

IT Production Assistant

Natasha Crider

Senior Social Correspondent

Teresa Haley

Senior Southwest Region Correspondent

Tiffany Hatchett

Contributors

Malcolm Beal-Reeves Joya Abdul Zarif Tia Dent Pat Moody Ball-j Teresa Haley Joyce Nash Michael Johnson Yogini Mafdet Jael Mack Meier Lathan Michelle Davis

Jo Lena Johnson Prophetess Jennie Chalden Destinee Love Celeste Poole Sarah T. McGee Tainted Lucas Mier Lathan Sylphia R. Lindsay Nell Clay Alicia Wilson jasira William Bishop III

VOICE is published monthly. © Copyright 2011 by VERVE MEDIA, INC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in any form without permission is prohibited. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: VERVE MEDIA, INC., P.O. BOX 2704, Springfield, Illinois 62708. SUBSCRIPTIONS: Send $50 a year: (Add $15 per year for overseas delivery.) Manuscripts, photographs, illustrations and letters to the editor are welcome, but VOICE can take no responsibility for them while in transit or in the office of the publication. Letters may be edited. Information published in VOICE is gathered from reliable sources, but the accuracy of this information cannot be guaranteed. Opinions expressed in VOICE are those of their authors, and no information or opinions expressed in VOICE represent an endorsement or solicitation for purchase or sale by VOICE or its staff.

24

Urban Professional Lifestyle


DEPARTMENTS

publisher’s page ............... 22

life & style ………………

146

on the cover ........ ............. 28

wellness ...................

161

in memoriam .................... 37

money ......................

174

inspiration ......................

46

business ...................

182

web culture ......................

76

sports .......................

185

national...........................

80

remembrances ……….

189

world..............................

101

opinion...........................

115

urbanity ..........................

121

crème de la crème …………

136

25

Urban Professional Lifestyle


26

Urban Professional Lifestyle


27

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Dolvett Quince, the Newest Trainer on ‘The Biggest Loser’

28

Urban Professional Lifestyle


This Stanford, CT native has attained master trainer credentials and has employed them with his dedication to create the basis for Body Sculptor Inc. He has developed this private company specializing in health and body transformation through guidance in weight loss, nutrition, strength training and cardiovascular exercise. In 2004, Quince opened his first Body Sculptor Fitness Studio in Atlanta’s swank Buckhead neighborhood. Celebrities such as Janet Jackson, Boris Kodjoe, and Nicole Ari Parker have come to his exclusive workout space to keep their bodies in shape. He’s even transformed and sculpted the body of Atlanta’s #1 morning show, radio personality Bert Weiss. However, his biggest accomplishment as a trainer so far was in helping one client lose 325 pounds. The IFFA and ISSA certified trainer/ instructor soon noticed that people often gain weight or fall out of shape because their lives’ demands don’t allow much time for the gym. He therefore created the renowned “Me and My Chair Workout” DVD, a low-impact, high intensity 30-minute workout system that helps users tone up and slim down while using only a household chair as equipment. Dolvett Quince realized he had the unique ability to transform the lives of others. While working as a physical trainer, he noticed that by helping his clients shape their bodies, he was also improving their self-esteem and creating an overall desire for better health. Dolvett realized that making the process fun and enjoyable by giving clients positive reinforcement provided him and those he 29

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Above: Dolvett Quince with Rachel Ray

helped with better success rates. Since then, he has dedicated himself to the task of “helping people change their lives, one rep at a time.” Dolvett is known as Atlanta’s celebrity trainer. His clients include:            

Justin Bieber – Singer (also toured with Bieber for 3 months) Bert Weiss – Host of Atlanta’s #1 Morning Show – Q100 The Bert Show Jesse Itzler – Co-Founder of Marquis Jet Daniel Wilcox – NFL Tight End – Baltimore Ravens Boris Kodjoe – Actor Nicole Ari Parker - Actress Michael Jai White – Actor Chris Spencer – Comedian/Actor Mark Trojanowski – Drummer – Sister Hazel Melyssa Ford – Model/Actress Noah Becker – Son of Boris Becker (former World No.1 tennis player) Raheem DeVaughn – R&B Singer – used Dolvett’s studio to train 30

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Left: Dolvett Quince with Dr. Drew 

 

Janet Jackson – Singer/ Actress – used Dolvett’s studio to train Tom Catherall – Master Chef/Restaurateur Kenny Burns – Lifestyle/Branding Specialist, former VP Rockafella Records Don Cannon – celebrity DJ

Quince has joined NBC's hit "The Biggest Loser," ushering in a new era for the show alongside new trainer Anna Kournikova and returning trainer Bob Harper. He cites his biggest accomplishment so far as helping one client lose 325 pounds, and he'll lend his expertise to the show's Season 13 contestants when "The Biggest Loser" returns this month. He currently splits his time between Los Angeles and Atlanta. Below is an n an interview with Dolvett Quince, with Reality TV Magazine RTVM: It’s great to speak with you, can you tell me how you are enjoying your time on The Biggest Loser? Dolvett Quince: I love it actually. It is one of the best jobs I have ever had. I am able to do what I love and am so passionate about. RTVM: How did you end up on the show? Dolvett Quince: The Biggest Loser called me, I was down in Atlanta. They asked me if I wanted to audition and I was like ‘absolutely.’ I went out to L.A. to audition, and here I am. 31

Urban Professional Lifestyle


RTVM: How do you get along with Bob Harper? Dolvett Quince: We developed a good friendship. I had to feel him out for a while, I think he came out sort of jaded, but we have bonded and become great friends. RTVM: You caught on with the viewers, while Anna Kournikova did not. Why do you think that is? Dolvett Quince: I honestly do not know, I was so focused on training my contestants, I guess I didn’t notice. RTVM: Don’t you think it was ironic how Bonnie did not do well with Anna, yet she was a completely different person once she ended up on your team? Dolvett Quince: She knows the truth when she sees it [chuckles]. Seriously though, we connected and she reminded me of my grandmother. We had a good connection, and I just built up a trust with her. RTVM: Was there any one contestant (aside from John) that you really bonded with? Dolvett Quince: Yes, Vinny. I really bonded with Vinny, although I did bond with each of my contestants in different ways. I definitely have a strong bond with Vinny. RTVM: A few weeks ago, we saw a very different side of you, when you bonded with John. How tough was it to share so much of your past with the world? Dolvett Quince: It was very tough. It’s tough anytime you put yourself at risk to be criticized and judged. However, the only way to prove yourself is to be authentic, which is what I wanted to do with John. I wanted him to know that I care, so I put my story out there to help him. 32

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Above: Dolvett Quince with Billy Banks

RTVM: What are you looking forward to in the new season of The Biggest Loser? Dolvett Quince: We are currently taping the new season, and I am looking forward to the transformations. I am also looking forward to the emotional and spiritual changes – it’s challenging sometimes, but there is no challenge that I won’t take on. RTVM: As a seasoned trainer, what advice could you give someone at home who wants to get started on their journey? Dolvett Quince: First and foremost, look at what you are doing and write everything down. You need to keep track of everything. Make a plan and stick to that plan, even if it just starts with walking. RTVM: Do you have any predictions for the finale? Dolvett Quince: No, but go red team! 33

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Dolvett Quince closed by asking that we thank all his fans for him. Dolvett also said that he does not only do this for the contestants at the ranch, but he also has his studio in Atlanta for anyone looking for help. You can check it out at body sculptor. Follow out Dolvett Quince on Facebook and Twitter an d tune into "The Biggest Loser" on Tuesdays at 8pm on NBC.

34

Urban Professional Lifestyle


35

Urban Professional Lifestyle


36

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Sam Rivers, Jazz Artist of Loft Scene, Dies at 88 By By Nate Chinen

37

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Sam Rivers, an inexhaustibly creative saxophonist, flutist, bandleader and composer who cut his own decisive path through the jazz world, spearheading the 1970s loft scene in New York and later establishing a rugged outpost in Florida, died on Monday in Orlando, Fla. He was 88. The

cause

was

pneumonia,

his

daughter Monique Rivers Williams said. With an approach to improvisation that was garrulous and uninhibited but firmly grounded in intellect and technique, Mr. Rivers was among the leading figures in the postwar jazz avant-garde. His sound on the tenor saxophone, his primary instrument, was distinctive: taut and throaty, slightly burred, dark-hued. He also had a recognizable voice on the soprano saxophone, flute and piano, and as a composer and arranger. Music ran deep in his family. His grandfather

Marshall

W.

Taylor

published one of the first hymnals for black congregations after emancipation, “A Collection of Revival Hymns and Plantation Melodies,” in 1882. His mother, the former Lillian Taylor, was a pianist and choir director, and his father, Samuel Rivers, was a gospel singer. They were on tour with the Silvertone Quintet in El Reno, Okla., when Samuel Carthorne Rivers was born, on Sept. 25, 1923. Growing up in Chicago and on the road, Mr. Rivers studied violin, piano and trombone. After his father had a debilitating accident in 1937, he moved with his mother to Little Rock, Ark., where he zeroed in on the tenor saxophone. Joining the Navy in the mid-’40s, he served for three years.

38

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Mr. Rivers enrolled in the Boston Conservatory of Music in 1947 and later transferred to Boston University, where he majored in composition and briefly took up the viola and fell into the busy Boston jazz scene. He made an important acquaintance in 1959: Tony Williams, a 13-year-old drummer who already sounded like an innovator. Together they delved into free improvisation, occasionally performing in museums

alongside

modernist

and

abstract

paintings. By 1964 Mr. Williams was working with the trumpeter Miles Davis and persuaded him to hire Mr. Rivers, who was with the bluesman T-Bone Walker at the time, for a summer tour. Mr. Rivers’s blustery playing with the Miles Davis Quintet, captured on the album “Miles in Tokyo,” suggested a provocative but imperfect fit. Wayne Shorter replaced him in the fall. On a series of Blue Note recordings in the middle to late ’60s, beginning with Mr. Williams’s first album as a leader, “Life Time,” Mr. Rivers expressed his ideas more freely. He made four albums of his own for the label, the first of which — “Fuchsia Swing Song,” with Mr. Williams, the pianist Jaki Byard and the bassist Ron Carter, another Miles Davis sideman — is a landmark of experimental post-bop, with a freeflowing yet structurally sound style. “Beatrice,” a ballad from that album Mr. Rivers named after his wife, would become a jazz standard. Beatrice Rivers died in 2005. In addition to his daughter Monique, Mr. Rivers is survived by two other daughters, Cindy Johnson and Traci Tozzi; a son, Dr. Samuel Rivers III; five grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. Mr. Rivers pushed further toward abstraction in the late ’60s, moving to New York and working as a sideman with the uncompromising pianists Andrew Hill and Cecil Taylor. In 1970 he and his wife opened Studio Rivbea, a noncommercial performance 39

Urban Professional Lifestyle


space, in their loft on Bond Street in the East Village. It served as an avant-garde hub through the end of the decade, anchoring what would be known as the loft scene. The albums Mr. Rivers made for Impulse Records in the ’70s would further burnish his reputation in the avant-garde. After Studio Rivbea closed in 1979, Mr. Rivers continued to lead several groups, including a big band called the Rivbea Orchestra, a woodwind ensemble called Winds of Change and a virtuosic trio with the bassist Dave Holland and the drummer Barry Altschul. With the trio, Mr. Rivers often demonstrated his gift as a multi-instrumentalist, extemporizing fluidly on saxophone, piano and flute. Mr. Rivers tacked toward more mainstream sensibilities from 1987 to 1991, when he worked extensively with an early influence, the trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. While touring through Orlando with Gillespie in 1991, Mr. Rivers met some of the skilled musicians employed by the area’s theme parks, who persuaded him to move there and revive the Rivbea Orchestra. He lived most recently in nearby Apopka, Fla. 40

Urban Professional Lifestyle


The music made by his band in the 1990s and beyond was as spirited and harmonically dense as

anything

in

Mr.

Rivers’

musical history. And the trio at its core — Mr. Rivers, the bassist Doug

Mathews

and

the

drummer Anthony Cole — also performed on its own, honing a dynamic versatility distinct from that of any other group in jazz. Mr.

Rivers’s

late-career

renaissance was confirmed by the

critical

response

to

“Inspiration” and “Culmination,” two albums he recorded for RCA in 1998 with a New York big band assembled by the alto saxophonist Steve Coleman. In 2000,

Mr.

the Orlando

Rivers iteration

led of

the

Rivbea Orchestra in a concert presented by Jazz at Lincoln Center. The next year he served as the fiery eminence on “Black Stars,” an acclaimed album by the 26-year-old pianist Jason Moran. This year saw the release of “Sam Rivers and the Rivbea Orchestra — Trilogy” (Mosaic), a three-CD set featuring recordings from 2008 and 2009. His last performance was in October in DeLand, Fla. In 2006. the Vision Festival, a nonprofit New York event aesthetically indebted to the loft scene, honored Mr. Rivers with a Sam Rivers Day program featuring both his bands. The names of two of the bustling pieces performed were, appropriately, “Flair” and “Spunk.” 41

Urban Professional Lifestyle


More Hip-Hop Violence; Rapper Slim Dunkin Murdered in Atlanta By The Associated Press

42

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Atlanta police say the rapper Slim Dunkin was gunned down Friday evening in a city music studio as he was preparing to record a video. Police Maj. Keith Meadows said the rapper, whose real name is Mario Hamilton, was fatally shot in the chest after getting into an argument with another individual. He was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Meadows told The Associated Press late riday that police have not been able to identify the shooter. He said investigators have been interviewing those who were inside the studio. He said as many as 20 people were inside the small office-type building at the time of the shooting, which took place around 5:30 p.m., but they were in different places. Police have not recovered the handgun that was used. Investigators remained at the scene late Friday evening. “Right now we’re just trying to….identify who may have seen what, really just trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together,” Meadows said. “It seems everybody witnessed something very different. We’re just trying to go back and make sense of everything.” Slim Dunkin had appeared on a number of songs with the rapper Waka Flocka Flame. The website Mtv.com reported that the Brick Squad Monopoly rapper was on a solo track and had recently released a 20-track mix tape that featured Gucci Mane, Roscoe Dash and Pastor Troy. “It appears the victim was scheduled to do a photo shoot,” Meadows said of Friday’s events. “Before the video shoot took place, it appears the victim and suspect got involved in a verbal altercation. We don’t know what that altercation was about.”

43

Urban Professional Lifestyle


“The suspect produced a weapon, discharged that handgun one time, striking the victim in the chest,” Meadows said. Meadows said the victim was in his early 20s and resided in the Atlanta area. Many fans were posting messages late Friday night on a Facebook page for the rapper. The website AllHipHop.com last February described Slim Dunkin, a Detroit native, as an up-and-coming talent with “a unique lyrical ability and style all his own.” In an interview with the website, he described himself as someone “trying to provide for his family by making something out of nothing just trying to beat the odds.” “I don’t have amazing lyrical ability I just know how to speak on what I been through and where I came from,” he said. Asked what to expect from him in 2011, he responded: “Music, music, music!”

44

Urban Professional Lifestyle


45

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Nicole B. Simpson; A True Survivor

46

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Above: Nicole Simpson with CNN’s Solidad O’Brien

Nicole B. Simpson is a Certified Financial Planner® practitioner with almost 20 years of experience in the securities industry. As a financial professional with an extensive operational background, she specializes in comprehensive financial planning, including disaster recovery from unanticipated life events. Simpson also specializes in evaluating insurance needs, assessing financial vulnerabilities, and estate planning. She is one of only 500 African American CFP® certificants out of the 50,000-plus worldwide, according to the College for Financial Planners Board of Standards. Her financial journey began in 1991 at Prudential Bache as a new accounts clerk and back up wire operator. Immediately after receiving the job, Simpson began to study for her Series 7 at the advice of her mentor and teacher from the American Institute of Finance in which she graduated at the top of her class. After 8 months of independent study, Simpson acquired her Series 7 license and her Series 63 license qualifying her to become a young stockbroker. She later acquired her Series 3 for commodities trading, her Series 65 to manage money, her life and health insurance license and ultimately her Certified Financial Planner designation before the age of 30. Simpson was advancing rapidly in the securities industry breaking barriers as a woman and as a minority. 47

Urban Professional Lifestyle


While working at Morgan Stanley in 2001, Simpson found herself trapped in 2 World Trade Center on the 44th floor on September 11, 2001. The experience altered the course of her life permanently. Today Nicole is a World Trade Center survivor who compassionately assists families on how to begin to walk along the road to recovery when faced with a catastrophic, unexpected disaster. She is actively involved in economic empowerment and developing a life plan in the penal system, community based organizations, and the educational systems. Ms. Simpson travels throughout the United States teaching financial principles in a practical and easy to understand manner. Her simple approach motivates everyone who hears her message to take action to change their financial future. Her commitment is to engage people with the thought, “If money were not an issue, what would be your life’s purpose?” She is the CEO of Harvest Wealth Financial located in Piscataway, NJ where she manages the assets of people who have suffered from trauma and catastrophic experiences. 9/11 experience: Facing death almost always forces an individual to analyze what is really important in life. If you have a relationship with the Lord, to admit you are

48

Urban Professional Lifestyle


depressed or suffer from anxiety may reflect a lack of faith. But what do you do when you reach a breaking point and you feel as if the Lord is not answering your prayers or healing your wounds? These are questions I had to find answers for because even in ministry, I found myself deep in despair. My name is Elder Nicole B. Simpson and I am a World Trade Center survivor. My life was totally fulfilled and I was achieving the American dream on September 10, 2001. But the next day changed everything for my family and me. I represent the typical family - a wife and mother of two children. We were a two income family living in a nice community attempting to increase our quality of life. I was a leader in my church and on fire for the Lord. Then disaster hit us all. Scared and uncertain of what the future was going to hold, I faced many obstacles after the tragic events. Trauma was not new for me. Sexually molested on the first day of school as I entered into the first grade until I graduated from grammar school, I grew up in the midst of dysfunction my entire childhood. Physical abuse and emotional abuse were familiar in my life. But I knew God was with me, even in my darkest hours as a child. So what was so different between then and now? Why did I feel like God had forgotten that I existed? I worked on the 73rd floor in Tower II and I was in the building early Tuesday morning when Tower I was hit. I gathered my team and began to walk down the steps comforted by the announcement made over and over again through the public announcement system that said our tower was secure and we did not have to evacuate the building.

49

Urban Professional Lifestyle


While I was on the 44th floor contemplating going back upstairs Tower II was hit! The elevators came crashing down causing fireball explosions to burn people who were standing along the elevator path. But the door that I was standing in front of did not open. People standing right next to me died but I was divinely protected. I ultimately made it out of the building after receiving instructions from the Lord not to turn around lest I shall surely die. As we approach the ten year anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11/01, as a survivor, I have watched people dissect conspiracy theories, I have seen the media rehash the day over and over again preventing us who were directly affected from healing. I have watched this national tragedy become more about politics and less about the people. But what was most distressing is that the survivors have been neglected and left to fend for themselves. For years, people who were in the building suffered in silence. Significant emphasis has been placed on the 50

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Above: Nicole Simpson at NAACP Author’s Pavilion

families of the survivors and the first responders who risked their lives to save people like me. But does the fact that I did not lose my life justify the fact that opportunity was stolen from me. This was my struggle with God. Lord while I am a grateful that You spared my life, the guilt because I’m alive and others died is too intense. The fact that I can no longer provide for my family in the manner they have been accustomed to bothers me. But most of all, the nightmares, the images I can’t escape ten years later are much too much to bear. I can’t breathe and I cannot honor Your will effectively. I don’t stand alone in this struggle God-there are others who feel the same way. I could not understand why He had forsaken me. After all, I knew Him before 9/11, I never stop giving Him the glory and I began to serve Him

51

Urban Professional Lifestyle


more diligently after the tragedy because I knew He spared my life? So if I did everything I knew to do according to the Word, why am I still struggling in almost every area of my life? But God is sovereign and He is just. He invites us to cast our burdens upon Him and He will provide rest. In this ten-year journey, God had been dealing with me. It took me to hit rock bottom in 2007 to understand that God did not intend for me to stay in the wilderness. He had been patiently waiting for me to say I could not handle life alone and that I needed Him to step in. He knew I was capable of enduring the after affects of that day and teaching others how to trust in Him in spite of what they are going through. He knew I would convey the message to hurting souls that there is no weapon on earth that can prosper over our lives. He gently reminded me that He has positioned me to prosper and not to forget His Word. These last few years, I have spent my time interviewing other survivors. I have shared their story and I have researched information that will benefit us all physically, mentally and financially. It’s because of my relationship with God, I 52

Urban Professional Lifestyle


can help other gain access to information and resources we have not been privileged to in the past. God has shown me that He has not forgotten about us. He spared my life so that I can help others recover from catastrophic events in their own lives. This year has brought about significant change. People are tired of war, they are hurting economically and they want to move forward in life. The capture of Osama Bin Ladin who was the face of terrorism added to the healing process for the country and the Zadroga Act signed into law provides opportunity for people to recover what was stolen. But in the midst of it all, I am here and impacting the world just as He said I would. When you place your trust in God, know that through it all, He has not forgotten about you. Nicole B. Simpson, CFP represents the survivors. She spent almost three years talking to individuals who were directly impacted by the tragedy of 9/11/2001. In June, 2011, she released the survivor’s story titled 9/11/01 A Long Road Toward Recovery. Minister: Why I Serve the Lord I realize the church is my life. I couldn’t imagine staying home on a Sunday morning because it is expected of me to enter into the house of God ready to praise and worship Him. But why? Why do I serve God? What has He done for me to warrant my time? It’s simple for me-I owe Him my worship because He is the reason I’m still sane.

53

Urban Professional Lifestyle


I was introduced to sex at six years old. Molested until the age of 13, sexual invasion was a norm for me. Sprinkle in physical and emotional abuse, I represent the recipe for a lost child. But when I turned seven years old, a salesman knocked on my door and sold my mother a Bible for $2.00. She gave me the bible which had words in red. I could not watch television so most of my time was spent reading. Inside of a room is where I spent most of my time reading the red words in that Bible. At first, it didn’t make sense but what else did I have to do? Then the stories became interesting and unrealistic, I must admit. I was living with an enemy in my own house and this book was telling me to love my enemy. But then, the red words told me to do good to please God and it showed me how I should pray. That’s when God became my imaginary friend and I started to attend church with a neighbor. It was funny because church was the only place I was really permitted to go. It was a Pentecostal Church and the singing, dancing and shouting made me feel good. They believed in talking to God too. I was praying that God would destroy my enemy but nothing happened. I prayed faithfully and kept reading my Bible trying to find comfort in the fact that ONE DAY, God was going to “get” my enemy. I had hope, faith and I believed that eventually my enemy would be destroyed. Yes, I was still suffering but something inside of me said to keep going, keep pressing, don’t lose hope. Something inside of me convinced me that I would not suffer always. So I prayed, and I read, and I worked hard in school knowing that the moment I turned of age, I would leave my horrible existence and be blessed for the remainder of my life. What began as something kids do (creating an imaginary friend), I found myself distressed when I did not talk to God-I shared every detail of my day with Him as if we were chatting on the phone. Things changed when I graduated from the 8th grade and life got better. Of course I had some challenges but nothing compared to those 7 years of extreme hardship. I found myself spending less time with God 54

Urban Professional Lifestyle


as things progressed in my life, but I always maintained a relationship. When I hit the pinnacle of success in my life, I realized I owed my sanity to God. I was 30 years old married with 2 children, wonderful career and a hefty salary. It was at that moment, I realized HE was my best friend-the first one I wanted to share my day with and the last one I wanted to talk to before going to sleep. Then 9/11 happened and my life was turned completely upside down. After 9/11, my life was in a complete spiral downward. However, people did not know what hardships I endured because I took my issues to the Lord, just as I did as a little girl. You see, the biggest lesson I learned as a child was not that I would not endure tribulation or hardship, but that I was not alone in my suffering. I knew God was with me because if He wasn’t there, I would not be here. So when major hardship knocked on my door again, I had experience and history with God. If He kept me before, He would keep me again. There were times that I thought God had forgotten about me, but then I went back to the red words. Those red words comforted me. Those red words encouraged me. Those red words gave me hope that things HAD to get better. Those red words helped me maintain my sanity. So, I serve the Lord because those red words have been my lifeline. They have eased my pains in my greatest moments of weakness and they have given me the strength day to day. I serve the Lord because I believe in those red words-they have life and they are TRUTH. As an Elder in the church and a traveling evangelist, the message of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ has been lost in the language of destiny, purpose and vision. While I believe God has ordained before the foundation of the world the reason for our existence, without true relationship everything else becomes irrelevant. For further information on the life and ministry of Nicole or to book her as a speaker, please contact Harvest Wealth Media Group at 732-377-2024 or email Nicole@nicolebsimpson.com. 55

Urban Professional Lifestyle


56

Urban Professional Lifestyle


.

I Don’t Fit In Anymore

By Tiffany Hatchett

57

Urban Professional Lifestyle


When Lynard Joiner Sr. looks back on his life, he compares it to the birth stages of a butterfly. Just as a butterfly struggles to free itself from its cocoon, so has Joiner’s struggle to free his self from an environment and world that he existed in for so long. Joiner is a life experience unique motivation speaker and the author of LJ’s Cocoon which will be released soon.. He has over 30 years of experience working with youth and mentoring them. Joiner has also served nearly seventeen years in prison where he participated and structured formats for community outreach programs. Joiner was born in Louise, Mississippi. He grew up in poverty along with his eleven brothers and six siste4rs. At the age of eight , Joiner’s parents got as divorce in which him and the rest of his siblings was separated. After Joiners mother lost her factory job, he and the rest of his siblings went to live with his “rolling stone” father who had moved to Springfield, Illinois. Joiner’s relationship with his father consisted of verbally abuse due to his father’s alcohol problem, irresponsibility and no accountability. Joiner decided to drop out of Lanphier High School after his sophomore year. Joiner took a job with the State Home Care Center in which he was responsible for taking care of elder people.

58

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Joiner first developed his love for working and talking to youth while working with the Springfield Housing Authority in the mid 80’s as a Youth Specialist. He created several recreational and educational programs for the Community Center that was located in the now razed John Hayes Homes Housing Projects. He received several awards for his dedication and service. Nevertheless, Joiner decided to join his family’s drug business and the family gang which was called the “Mississippi Click.” The family street gang consisted of girls and boys and who was violence and demanded their respect from other gangs and organizations. In 1995, Joiner along with several family members were indicted and charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine. He was later sente4nced to 235 months (19 years-7 months) imprisonment and five years of supervised parole after release. While serving his sentence in federal prison, Joiner’s love for reaching out to youth was rekindled when he joined a youth mentor group that spoke to at-risk youth about choices. After being a part of the youth program for about three years, Joiner was transferred to a lower security institution where he also participated in the outreach program. Left: Terre Haute Federal Prison

In 2003, he was transferred to the Federal Prison camp in Terre Haute, Indiana where he became the group leader of an outreach program called “CHOICES.” The inmates would go to every elementary, middle and high school as well as the Juvenile Center and Boys and Girls Club that was within a 100 mile radius of the institution.

59

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Left: Joiner speaking to youth at CHPOICES event.

As time passed, Joiner began to reach out to the youth through stage plays such as I Don’t Fit In Anymore, God’s Mercy (A Christmas play), Take A Look, It’s In the Book, Will the Change Come to Pass as well as poetry and skits which took the outreach program to another level to express its mission to prevent or intervene in saving a youth from choosing to travel down the same wrong path that he took. Joiner has touched thousands of youth, young men and young women with his life changing testimony and encouragement. Joiner’s message to youth is “Life is about choices so stay in school because your education is the key that opens the door of opportunity and success and always believe in yourself.” Left: Joiner’s Play, Will Change Come to Pass

Below is an interview of Lyn Joiner conducted by VOICE contributor and author Tiffany Jackson. There is a remarkable man that emerged from the Federal Bureau of Prisons on November 1st released into the free world. He’s a confessed drug dealer, tried and convicted. But in the midst of his own personal hell, he kept going. His name is Lyn Joiner and he was able to recall with me how he found himself, and his calling while behind bars. As I prepared to speak with him, we reminisced on the rules of engagement in the streets and how easy it was to become consumed with life in the fast lane.

60

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Left: Joiner’s play, I Don’t Fit Anymore

I grew anxious because I wasn’t quite sure of what to expect on the other end of the phone. His reputation preceded him, yet in no way was I equipped for the impact he made on complete strangers. Upon our initial conversation, I knew that he had been incarcerated for a total of 17 years, and had made enormous changes within his life, but I had no clue to what degree. This is a man that’s young at heart, God fearing; humble, courageous and determined to be that role model for our youth across the nation. As Lyn and I connected by phone, we laughed about the old days while both growing up in the streets of Springfield, Illinois and how his steps were ordered from a boy to a man. I found it interesting just how much “he didn’t fit in anymore,” based on the socalled street credibility. This was also the name of a play Joiner wrote. As we began to examine the many facets of Lyn Joiner, also known as LJ, his mission and his movement became apparent. VOICE: Your experiences brought about a complete metamorphosis during your incarceration that breathed life into you. How did that affect you? LJ: For the first four years, I was lost. I still felt like the world owed me something. Its okay for you to be locked up physically, but don’t let them lock up your state of mind. One day, I met an older man who took me aside and started talking to me about how I could change & how he saw greatness in me. He believed in me. He inspired me with a quote that I will never forget. He said, “He never knew a man that choked to death by swallowing his pride.” 61

Urban Professional Lifestyle


VOICE: How did you receive his advice? LJ: It took a week to register. I walked the yard thinking about the things he shared and spoke into me. At first, I didn’t receive it because how could he tell me anything that he didn’t go through? But, from that moment on, I felt like someone breathed new life into me. I began to breathe it again myself. VOICE: What is this gentleman’s name? Is he in the free world? How old was he and how did he influence you? LJ: We never knew his whole name. Everyone called him ‘Old man Ralph’. He has since passed on. I was 34 and he was 60. His inspiration helped me become who I am today. VOICE: As a result of your having adopted a “can do attitude”, what came to light as a result? LJ: I got my GED and I began to want more. I wanted to see how far I could go. Everywhere I went, I saw signs of encouragement. I started writing my feelings down, which increased my relationship with my kids. They were so young when I left. They were 10, 6, 8 months in addition to two 1 year olds. I lived in seven different institutions. I began to write things down towards my life. I read a lot more and was inspired by an OJ Simpson book and a book called, “Cook” written by Chef Jeff Henderson. OJ was always determined, and that’s what I have always been. VOICE: How did being away from your children, your hunger for more and continuing your education fuel your fire? LJ: OJ Simpson was always determined and that’s what I have always been. I always dreamed of being a professional chef. I’ve always worked with kids and had a passion for it whether I received a paycheck or volunteered. VOICE: At what point did you decide to pursue your gifts? LJ: In 2000, I started writing plays about my kids from their point of view. I wanted to depict life growing up as a child with their father behind bars. I had a female guard who volunteered to play the role of the mother. I also went to culinary school. I am now a professional chef specializing in Asian cuisine.

62

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Left: Lynard Joiner visits with Deon Davis, left, and Maurice

Reynolds

after

speaking to members of the

Springfield

Urban

League’s YouthBuild and RESTART

programs

Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011. Courtesy

State

Journal

Register

VOICE: Why Asian cuisine? LJ: I have never wanted to be like everyone else. I had to think outside of the box. VOICE: How was your creativity in the plays received by fellow inmates and the correctional facility? LJ: By 2001 in Terre Haute, I was approached by a gentleman that recognized me from the free world. He knew me from my days of volunteering with children for over a decade. The name of the community outreach program is called CHOICES. It allowed us to go out into the community within a 100 mile radius and perform. We also had an abundance of people frequent the prison to see us perform the plays as well. VOICE: What was the Choice Outreach Program designed to do? LJ: CHOICE was based on teaching kids to be better and make better decisions. We targeted juvenile centers & schools. We had to prove our genuine interest in making a difference for our youth by giving our testimony to the prison staff, psychologist and unit team. This process took over three months to be accepted. Being a part of this filled a huge void in my life and afforded me the opportunity to help people. Three hundred inmates applied, and only fifteen were chosen. VOICE: What is next on the agenda for Lyn Joiner? LJ: My plans are to travel and serve. I have written a book called, “LJ’s Cocoon.” It is a story based solely on my life as I recall it. I had to free myself from myself 63

Urban Professional Lifestyle


first. I have learned to love myself in prison, after I found myself in prison. I also have a development outreach geared towards helping our youth. It’s called H-Yard. The acronym is Helping Youth At Risk To Develop. VOICE: When can we expect your book to be published? LJ: I began writing my book in 2000 and finished in 2011. Prior to my being released, my book was copy written. I have very supportive people surrounding me. I just recently received word that it will soon be published. I am so excited! VOICE: Have you had contact with any of the people you came in contact with through your endeavors within the communities you served? LJ: The children that I help are my future. They are my attorneys, doctors and teachers of the next generation, so I have love for them. I will continue to reach our youth, broken men and women, and community through plays, books, poetry, and motivational speaking. I have an itinerary with speaking engagements three months in advance. I have been and continue to be blessed! VOICE: Without a doubt. How are your services funded? LJ: These ventures are self-supported. We also accept donations and have an assortment of fund raisers. VOICE: Where can we expect to see H-Yard changing lives next? LJ: So far, there are two men working with me in 2012 which consists of former inmates. Those men are Richard Hatchett and Antwain Black. These gentlemen were raised in the city as well and were also released in November. It is their goal to share their stories with the community and stop the downward trend of poverty, poor choices and ultimately, imprisonment and/or death. 64

Urban Professional Lifestyle


In addition, on January 16, 2012, we are volunteering to feed the homeless with the The Springfield Police Department, Youth Service Bureau, Springfield Urban League and several churches who will convene at the Springfield Juvenile Center because words open the door of the mind. In addition, we will have poetry slams for the youth to help develop their talent. We are taking our streets back one day at a time. If we can prevent one person from making the same mistake(s) we have made, it will not be in vain. VOICE: What is your take away from all of your experiences LJ? LJ: My mother once told me that the greatest gift in the world is to help someone who will never be able to pay you back. But, it will be paid in full by them being able to help someone else. If you would like to get in contact with Lyn Joiner for motivational speaking, Hyard, poetry slams, or book signings, please email him at: www.joinerlynard@yahoo.com

65

Urban Professional Lifestyle


A HAPPY NEW YEAR By joya This is a New Year God has given us. This is the year. God has let us take another step up on a different level. I don't know what you are going to do But I'm going to try to move up a little just like they do on a latter, Step by step. I'm leaving all that old baggage that I had last year in the past where it belongs. I got a New Year to celebrate and look forward to. So, I’m going to start out with, “God thank you. You’ve been my friend for such a long time and I love you. I always make New Year’s resolutions that I don't keep But this year I'm turning a new leaf. I'm putting all my faith and trust in you And let you tell me what to do. You make no mistakes, this much I know. So I'll just wait on you. Whatever you whisper to me I will do Because I know you already have my New Year planned too. I don't care for surprises, but some do. I do like dreams come true. Me, Myself, and I are going to try and pray more, worry less 66

Urban Professional Lifestyle


And try not to have so much stress. This year, I'll read more of the good book Get my clue's from you and what I read. Lord you didn't let me down in 2011 And you was so gracious you let me live on earth to see 2012. I praise you even more I'm looking forward straight ahead now, with my eye's , wide open, and me Holding onto, your hand. Saying i thank you for this new year, once again.. Happy new year, too you. Amen joya may be contacted at iamjoya@gmail.com

67

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Author Jo LenaUrban Johnson a mission for Professionalon Lifestyle

68


Good ... Absolute Good!

In order to BE something You must DO something

69

Urban Professional Lifestyle


2012 'GET YOUR LIFE' By jasira No more resolutions. No more lies. As of today, say goodbye to the days of hard times. The good news is that what's new to a person befitting of their JUST DUE, is that from this moment on the choice is yours to be true. No more talk of tall tales, or remembering what was. Right now, it's time to take a stand and change history within your own life span. Don't allow anyone else to take up air in your space. Oxygen thieves can, will and must be erased! Next year, we won't talk about what was or what could of been. All that you set out to do will have come to fruition. Your mantra should be, " WHO CAN I HELP TODAY?", that way, good karma is inevitable anyway. What can you change about the who in you? What good have you been put on Gods earth to do? Don't waste another minute wondering about what was, because the person, or situation was never warranted because... a resolution is a short term solution to a lie. Ponder only those things that brings about the "Why's", that could have the potential to propel you into a life of HOW HIGH? Tiffaby Hatchett may be contacted at specialedition.th@gnail.com

70

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Searching for Love in 2012? Plan your search carefully By Raaw’el Letrice Ware Some people are hoping this is the year for falling in love. Personally, I am keeping my focus on completing some projects, getting rid of old things and if LOVE should happen to find me, then we will not fall in love. We will RISE in love. We will build, sow, nurture and grow. Relationships are not often “built” on solid foundation. WOMEN must gain a clear understanding of where "he" is going. Some women are so eager to hop in and ride with a man on his journey not realizing that she too has a destination. Some men will take you far from where you need to be. Some men allow women to ride with him on his journey and she ends up giving him so many directions & demands that he loses his way. People need to talk more before taking the journey of marriage. I am not talking about idle chit chat. I am not talking about talking at each other but talking to each other. This requires “listening”. I am also not suggesting that people talk about each other. Many relationships fall apart because people are talking too much to others “about” their mate’s intricate details, idiosyncrasies, and so forth, rather than talking “to their mate.” This leads to distorted perceptions of their mate and doubt. Grown men do not need to tell their boys, their daddy or the cousins all about their woman’s quirks and sexual activities. He doesn’t need to “tell” her family all about how he wants to make her do this and that. That is very immature. And sisters should not share how her man does not clean up behind himself or how he gives her deep massage and passionate romantic displays. All this is private business.

71

Urban Professional Lifestyle


We would not tell them the combination to our safes if we had valuables in there would we? We don’t just hand over our bank card and tell people our pin numbers do we…or the keys to our home? Well, think about it! Don’t hand over your precious love to anyone and everyone. And stop having lover’s spats all over the internet! There should be at least three people (or couples) who know the two of you well enough that you can share details so that when those hard times come, you guys can have a mediator. He should have someone you know. You should have someone he knows and you should choose an older couple who has a tried and true relationship. I’m sorry people may not agree with the following but parents can cause a serious ripple in a relationship, especially if they are not spiritually mature builders. You have to look at the character and the relationship from which you want to get advice. You have to be honest with yourself. Too often people go and find people to “agree” with their wrong doings instead of seeking honest people who want to see your relationship last and they want to see you at your very best. While many sisters are eager or desperate to get into a relationship, I am not riding with any brother who doesn't have a sense of direction & a spiritual compass. A REAL relationship is not about a joy ride. Find out from where one has come and to where he/she is headed. If people can ask for a Car Fax and employers ask for background 72

Urban Professional Lifestyle


checks, should you not be allowed to ask about ones past if you plan on going on a committed journey with this person? There is no since in going out of your way and losing time and energy messing around when there are people waiting up ahead for your presents, your gifts and perhaps even your union- especially if you are over 35. You should know where you are going and what it takes to get there. If both have a plan and recognize how each fits into the bigger puzzle of life then the relationship can be successful. Guys should also understand that at times she may need to take the wheel- when he is tired so that he can gather his strength. She has to be willing to take the wheel and lead continuing in the direction in which they were heading. Some sisters are so cunning they wait until they have an opportunity to take things in a different direction. She also has to be willing to return the wheel to him and trust that he knows the WAY. A mature man will also recognize three serious things about this journey: 1) He has to prepare. He has to be confident enough to know when to stop and ask for direction in this journey. Spiritual mentors and leaders are placed along this path to help us. He needs to know when to refill the relationship. The filling station is your place of worship. It is that place to be further educated and empowered. 2) He has to know when they need to pull over for relationship maintenance and a time for personal care. This means two people who are in love can go away from each other for a short time to visit family; to learn some things; to cleanse their selves and then come back and be refreshed. Personal time is essential. 3) He needs to know when it is ok to stop and allow her to smell the roses. A woman comes with a set of needs. She needs to feel adequate and have opportunities to shine.

73

Urban Professional Lifestyle


A Great brother will show her off. He will polish her as much as he does his car and his trophies. I am not saying she is a trophy but she should be above all material things. Falling in love is an idea that the movies and fictional story books push upon the masses. Magazine images and tabloids suggest affairs, deceptions and a corrupt type of love. Love is not to be paraded around like a circus clown. Love is not unconscious. Love should be carefully thought out not some “hole” that one “falls” in to. While love is not always planned, perhaps with some proper planning and calculations it can actually last longer than the modern day 3-5 year marriages. RISING in love seems to be a conscious choice that recognizes there is a long road ahead. It takes in consideration that there has to be some proper planning for this journey. Note, a trip is shorter than a journey. A journey is a life time experience. So with that said one must gather certain tools and become knowledgeable about this investment of time, money, emotions and so many other things. This year, I do hope to see people meet face to face with Love. This year, 2012, I hope more families and more relationships are built on firm rock solid foundation with leaders who have direction and destinations ahead of them. I wish many of you wisdom, hope, joy, peace, love and happiness whether in a relationship or in your singleness. Be Blessed. For more information visit Raaw’el on Face book at www.facebook.com/raawel or via email at: raawwords@yahoo.com.

74

Urban Professional Lifestyle


75

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Above: It's pretty hard to call those blank-eyed hours of liking and commenting and scrolling through photos as "me time."

Social media resolutions for 2012 By Andrea Bartz and Brenna Ehrlich

76

Urban Professional Lifestyle


'Tis the season of fresh resolutions, still glittery with promise before time constraints, reality and your extreme laziness settle over them like a moist gray tarnish. Looking back on 2011, we've dished up some social media advice that could very well stave off that sad day in early spring when you come across your scribbled-down "2012 GOALS," all multicolored highlighters and bubble letters, and weep softly. So, whistles blaring, puffing with unusual optimism and pep, we, your resident netiquette drill sergeants, dispense the following tools to help you achieve your dreams in the big 1-2. I resolve to fall in love. Since that whole join-a-bowling-league advice your mom gave you isn't working out so well (Memo to mothers of the world: Gutter balls, mozzarella sticks and horrifying color-block shoes are not a recipe for love.), you'll probably need to sign up for online dating. First off: Avoid putting up a terrible profile picture. No dreaded MySpace shots, no pictures of you in a crowd of better-looking friends or children who may or may not be yours -- just you, looking like you do in 2012, preferably with something interesting in the background (you playing Velcro toss in the park, you at the World's Largest Ball of Twine, you goofing around in a culturally appropriate manner on the Great Wall of China).

77

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Now, get over your fear of rejection and send some cute messages (Dos are here, don'ts are here.). Congrats! You're online dating! You're like 1/793rd of the way to engagement. Now take it offline and don't screw it up. I resolve to find more "me" time. How can you find an extra 23.5 hours per month?! (Ooh, we know this one! We've got it! Teacher, pick me!) That's how much time the average user was spending on Facebook last spring, and since the number of active users has blown up since then, the minutes we're devoting to the site may very well have, too. Some users (and some experts, though the two groups surely aren't mutually exclusive -- anyone else familiar with the term confirmation bias?) assert that social media is making it easier than ever to maintain friendships. But it's pretty hard to call those blankeyed hours of liking and commenting and scrolling through photos of that cool girl from high school who now has 11 children "me time." Set a rule that works for you (no FB after 10 p.m., a 15-minute max on browsing time, whatever) and soon you'll recall that hanging out alone is a good deal more fun than clicking, zombie-like, through 487 snaps of yourself. I resolve to be a better friend. Young folks: The way to really reconnect is not more Facebook messages or impersonal retweets, it's that handy gadget you sometimes use to order pizza (i.e. the phone). Mother Nature designed us to gather tons of information from people's voices -- info we just can't infer from the written word, no matter how many emoticons we include. So find a few minutes while you're preparing dinner or cleaning your room or whatever to give your buds the benefit of some voice-on-voice action.

78

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Another good-karma-earning move you can make: Be nice to the annoying snots who just won't leave you alone. It's oh so tempting to give an eager job seeker, a shilling PR person or a clueless suitor the silent treatment in the hopes they'll just go away, but we talked it over with the morality police and they agree that polite rejection is the classiest course of action. A related hot tip: Don't lie to one person so you can hang out with another, leaving behind an easily sniffed trail of photos and Foursquare check-ins and hurting that blown-off friend to her very core. Pinocchios rarely prosper. Oh these? These would be your angel wings. Enjoy. I resolve to find a new job. You're not alone: One in three American workers is seriously thinking about leaving his or her job, according to a massive survey from Mercer. Tread a bit lightly if you're job-searching whilst employed; if you're sending out cover letters during work hours, for example, your potential employers might just worry you're going to carry your sneaky ways along to your next cubicle. When you've actually found a position that sounds like a fit, apply meticulous care to your e-mail application: Paste your cover letter into the body of the message, attach your resume as a PDF, and use a clear subject line that includes both your name and the job you're applying for. (And yes, get the hiring manager's name and gender right. One of these humble netiquetters has trashed a goodly number of cover letters addressed to a "Mr. Bartz.") Don't forget to shower interviewers with well-written thank-you notes. Accept your swank new position. You're welcome. I resolve to get in shape. Ha. I'm sure. Good luck with that one, Jell-O jiggler. www.cnn.com 79

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Obama Signs Defense Authorization Bill By Judd Legum

80

Urban Professional Lifestyle


This afternoon, Obama signed the controversial Defense authorization bill, despite his reservations about provisions related to the treatment of terrorism suspects. The National Journal reports: President Obama signed on Saturday the defense authorization bill, formally ending weeks of heated debate in Congress and intense lobbying by the administration to strip controversial provisions requiring the transfer of some terror suspects to military custody. “I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists,” Obama said in a statement accompanying his signature. The AP has more from the signing statement: “My administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens. Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a nation.” Full text of the signing statement below: Statement by the President on H.R. 1540: Today I have signed into law H.R. 1540, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012.” I have signed the Act chiefly because it authorizes funding for the defense of the United States and its interests abroad, crucial services for service members and their families, and vital national security programs that must be renewed. In hundreds of separate sections totaling over 500 pages, the Act also contains critical Administration initiatives to control the spiraling health care costs of the Department of Defense (DoD), to develop counterterrorism initiatives abroad, to build the security capacity of key partners, to modernize the force, and to boost the efficiency and effectiveness of military operations worldwide. 81

Urban Professional Lifestyle


The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it. In particular, I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists. Over the last several years, my Administration has developed an effective, sustainable framework for the detention, interrogation and trial of suspected terrorists that allows us to maximize both our ability to collect intelligence and to incapacitate dangerous individuals in rapidly developing situations, and the results we have achieved are undeniable. Our success against al-Qa’ida and its affiliates and adherents has derived in significant measure from providing our counterterrorism professionals with the clarity and flexibility they need to adapt to changing circumstances and to utilize whichever authorities best protect the American people, and our accomplishments have respected the values that make our country an example for the world. Against that record of success, some in Congress continue to insist upon restricting the options available to our counterterrorism professionals and interfering with the very 82

Urban Professional Lifestyle


operations that have kept us safe. My Administration has consistently opposed such measures. Ultimately, I decided to sign this bill not only because of the critically important services it provides for our forces and their families and the national security programs it authorizes, but also because the Congress revised provisions that otherwise would have jeopardized the safety, security, and liberty of the American people. Moving forward, my Administration will interpret and implement the provisions described below in a manner that best preserves the flexibility on which our safety depends and upholds the values on which this country was founded. Section 1021 affirms the executive branch’s authority to detain persons covered by the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) (Public Law 107-40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note). This section breaks no new ground and is unnecessary. The authority it describes was included in the 2001 AUMF, as recognized by the Supreme Court and confirmed through lower court decisions since then. Two critical limitations in section 1021 confirm that it solely codifies established authorities. First, under section 1021(d), the bill does not “limit or expand the authority of the President or the scope of the Authorization for Use of Military Force.” Second, under section 1021(e), the bill may not be construed to affect any “existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United 83

Urban Professional Lifestyle


States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.” My Administration strongly supported the inclusion of these limitations in order to make clear beyond doubt that the legislation does nothing more than confirm authorities that the Federal courts have recognized as lawful under the 2001 AUMF. Moreover, I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens. Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a Nation. My Administration will interpret section 1021 in a manner that ensures that any detention it authorizes complies with the Constitution, the laws of war, and all other applicable law. Section 1022 seeks to require military custody for a narrow category of non-citizen detainees who are “captured in the course of hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.” This section is ill-conceived and will do nothing to improve the security of the United States. The executive branch already has the authority to detain in military custody those members of al-Qa’ida who are captured in the course of hostilities authorized by the AUMF, and as Commander in Chief I have directed the military to do so where appropriate. I reject any approach that would mandate military custody where law enforcement provides the best method of incapacitating a terrorist threat. While section 1022 is unnecessary and has the potential to create uncertainty, I have signed the bill because I believe that this section can be interpreted and applied in a manner that avoids undue harm to our current operations.

84

Urban Professional Lifestyle


I have concluded that section 1022 provides the minimally acceptable amount of flexibility to protect national security. Specifically, I have signed this bill on the understanding that section 1022 provides the executive branch with broad authority to determine how best to implement it, and with the full and unencumbered ability to waive any military custody requirement, including the option of waiving appropriate categories of cases when doing so is in the national security interests of the United States. As my Administration has made clear, the only responsible way to combat the threat al-Qa’ida poses is to remain relentlessly practical, guided by the factual and legal complexities of each case and the relative strengths and weaknesses of each system. Otherwise, investigations could be compromised, our authorities to hold dangerous individuals could be jeopardized, and intelligence could be lost. I will not tolerate that result, and under no circumstances will my Administration accept or adhere to a rigid across-the-board requirement for military detention. I will therefore interpret and implement section 1022 in the manner that best preserves the same flexible approach that has served us so well for the past 3 years and that protects the ability of law enforcement professionals to obtain the evidence and cooperation they need to protect the Nation.

85

Urban Professional Lifestyle


My Administration will design the implementation procedures authorized by section 1022(c) to provide the maximum measure of flexibility and clarity to our counterterrorism professionals permissible under law. And I will exercise all of my constitutional authorities as Chief Executive and Commander in Chief if those procedures fall short, including but not limited to seeking the revision or repeal of provisions should they prove to be unworkable. Sections 1023-1025 needlessly interfere with the executive branch’s processes for reviewing the status of detainees. Going forward, consistent with congressional intent as detailed in the Conference Report, my Administration will interpret section 1024 as granting the Secretary of Defense broad discretion to determine what detainee status determinations in Afghanistan are subject to the requirements of this section. Sections 1026-1028 continue unwise funding restrictions that curtail options available to the executive branch. Section 1027 renews the bar against using appropriated funds for fiscal year 2012 to transfer Guantanamo detainees into the United States for any purpose. I continue to oppose this provision, which intrudes upon critical executive branch authority to determine when and where to prosecute Guantanamo detainees, 86

Urban Professional Lifestyle


based on the facts and the circumstances of each case and our national security interests. For decades, Republican and Democratic administrations have successfully prosecuted hundreds of terrorists in Federal court. Those prosecutions are a legitimate, effective, and powerful tool in our efforts to protect the Nation. Removing that tool from the executive branch does not serve our national security. Moreover, this intrusion would, under certain circumstances, violate constitutional separation of powers principles. Section 1028 modifies but fundamentally maintains unwarranted restrictions on the executive branch’s authority to transfer detainees to a foreign country. This hinders the executive’s ability to carry out its military, national security, and foreign relations activities and like section 1027, would, under certain circumstances, violate constitutional separation of powers principles. The executive branch must have the flexibility to act swiftly in conducting negotiations with foreign countries regarding the circumstances of detainee transfers. In the event that the statutory restrictions in sections 1027 and 1028 operate in a manner that violates constitutional separation of powers principles, my Administration will interpret them to avoid the constitutional conflict. Section 1029 requires that the Attorney General consult with the Director of National Intelligence and Secretary of Defense prior to filing criminal charges against or seeking an indictment of certain individuals. I sign this based on the understanding that apart from detainees held by the military outside of the United States under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, the provision applies only to those individuals

87

Urban Professional Lifestyle


who have been determined to be covered persons under section 1022 before the Justice Department files charges or seeks an indictment. Notwithstanding that limitation, this provision represents an intrusion into the functions and prerogatives of the Department of Justice and offends the longstanding legal tradition that decisions regarding criminal prosecutions should be vested with the Attorney General free from outside interference. Moreover, section 1029 could impede flexibility and hinder exigent operational judgments in a manner that damages our security. My Administration will interpret and implement section 1029 in a manner that preserves the operational flexibility of our counterterrorism and law enforcement professionals, limits delays in the investigative process, ensures that critical executive branch functions are not inhibited, and preserves the integrity and independence of the Department of Justice. Other provisions in this bill above could interfere with my constitutional foreign affairs powers. Section 1244 requires the President to submit a report to the Congress 60 days prior to sharing any U.S. classified ballistic missile defense information with Russia. Section 1244 further specifies that this report include a detailed description of the classified information to be provided. While my Administration intends to keep the Congress fully informed of the status of U.S. efforts to cooperate with the Russian Federation on ballistic missile defense, my Administration will also interpret and implement section 1244 in a manner that does not interfere with the President’s constitutional authority to conduct foreign affairs and avoids the undue disclosure of sensitive diplomatic communications. Other sections pose similar problems. Sections 1231, 1240, 1241, and 1242 could be read to require the disclosure of sensitive diplomatic communications and national security secrets; and sections 1235, 1242, and 1245 would interfere with my constitutional authority to 88

Urban Professional Lifestyle


conduct foreign relations by directing the Executive to take certain positions in negotiations or discussions with foreign governments. Like section 1244, should any application of these provisions conflict with my constitutional authorities, I will treat the provisions as non-binding. My Administration has worked tirelessly to reform or remove the provisions described above in order to facilitate the enactment of this vital legislation, but certain provisions remain concerning. My Administration will aggressively seek to mitigate those concerns through the design of implementation procedures and other authorities available to me as Chief Executive and Commander in Chief, will oppose any attempt to extend or expand them in the future, and will seek the repeal of any provisions that undermine the policies and values that have guided my Administration throughout my time in office. BARACK OBAMA THE WHITE HOUSE, December 31, 2011. www.whitehouse.gov 89

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Indiana’s First Black Woman Mayor to Lead Gary Into the Future By Sky Obercam

90

Urban Professional Lifestyle


On the first day of the New Year, Indiana will receive its first ever African American woman mayor. Karen Freeman-Wilson, 51, was sworn in yesterday to lead one of the nation’s most depressed cities from the grip of stagnation towards genuine progress: Gary, Indiana. It’s a tough job, but as a native of the city, the new mayor is more than willing to take it on, “In many ways, I feel like Dorothy from Oz – there’s no place like home,” Freeman-Wilson said. Her official inauguration will go down on January 7th. Once a thriving city boasting some 200,000 inhabitants, Gary has dwindled down to about 80,000, resembling a ghost town, rife with blight, crime, poverty and unemployment. Gary’s deterioration coincides with the decline of the auto industry and its largest employer, U.S. Steel. But Freeman-Wilson is hopeful she can turn things around for her hometown. Plans for revitalization include transportation development in the city’s downtown region, senior housing, attracting commerce, and tackling everpresent issue of crime. “We are all working to deliver government and we’re 91

Urban Professional Lifestyle


all going to keep the citizens first in all of our decision-making,” FreemanWilson asserts. With undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard University, the mission of Indiana’s first Black Woman mayor is reminiscent of Black civic leaders such as Cory Booker – mayor of Newark – who dare to challenge, an change the fortune of a devastated city. “I know about the good things and the good places. It’s irresponsible to know about the good, to know about the potential, and not do anything about it.” Her multiple accomplishments did not guarantee an easy passage to the top seat. Karen Freeman-Wilson once served as a presiding city court judge in Gary, Indiana Attorney General and CEO of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. Regardless, she failed at 2 prior attempts to win the mayoral office in both 2003 & 2007. A shift occurred when in November 2011, Freeman-Wilson was elected mayor by an astounding 86 percent. And now she’s ready to hit the ground running. 92

Urban Professional Lifestyle


She and her newly appointed staff are preparing to hunker down and put their plans into action. Freeman-Wilson will implement an open-door policy in which she will offer 15 minutes of dialogue to anyone interested. Plans to transform Gary’s façade involve providing improved lighting, pothole and sidewalk repair & a commitment to cleaner streets. The hometown hopeful even has designs on bringing a major hotel to the city’s downtown area, increasing service at their nearly defunct airport and collaborating with nearby metropolis, Chicago. It may seem daunting, but Karen Freeman-Wilson’s connection and commitment to Gary indicate that real change may actually be on the horizon for an urban center so depressed, it has almost no other route to travel, but upwards. www.clutchmagonline.com

93

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Above: Address at March on Washington August 28, 1963. Washington, D.C.

I Have a Dream I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation. Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity. But one hundred years later. the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds 94

Urban Professional Lifestyle


himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

"insufficient funds."

In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children. It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges. But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the 95

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: "For Whites Only." We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream." I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest -- quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends. And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a 96

Urban Professional Lifestyle


dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today! I have, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today! I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together." This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day. And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:

97

Urban Professional Lifestyle


My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride, From every mountainside, let freedom ring! And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. But not only that: Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring. And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at Last, Free at Last, Thank God Almighty, we’re Free at last!

98

Urban Professional Lifestyle


NAACP Strongly Supports the End Racial Profiling Act Introduced in U.S. House of Representatives By Teresa Haley

On Thursday December 8, 2011, Congressman John Conyers (MI) introduced H.R. 3618 the NAACP strongly supported “End Racial Profiling Act of 2011�. H.R. 3618 is the companion bill to S. 1670, which was introduced by Senator Ben Cardin (MD) in October 2011. The End Racial Profiling Act comprehensively addresses the insidious practice of racial profiling by law enforcement on five levels: first, it clearly defines the racially discriminatory practice of racial profiling by law enforcement at all levels; second, it creates a federal prohibition against racial profiling; thirdly, it mandates data collection so we can fully assess the true extent of the problem; fourth, it provides funding for the retraining of law enforcement officials on how to discontinue and prevent the use of racial profiling; and fifth, it holds law enforcement agencies that continue to use racial profiling accountable. The House version was introduced by Representative John Conyers and 37 other Members of the House of Representatives on December 8, 2011. We need to urge Members of both the House and Senate to co-sponsor and help move the bill through to passage as soon as possible. Numerous studies over the past few years have provided us with evidence to support what 99

Urban Professional Lifestyle


we have known for decades: law enforcement agents at all levels have consistently used race, ethnicity and national origin when choosing which individuals should be stopped and searched. At the most basic level, it is difficult for our faith in the American judicial system not to be challenged when we cannot even drive down an interstate without being stopped merely because of the color of our skin. Furthermore, evidence clearly demonstrates that racial profiling is not an effective means of law enforcement and in many cases only adds to the distrust of local police. We need H.R. 3618 / S.1670, the End Racial Profiling Act to stop this insidious practice and to help begin to restore the confidence of communities of color throughout the United States in federal, state and local law enforcement and thus restore the necessary trust and integrity necessary to be effective. It is supported by numerous civil rights and civil liberties organizations, as well religious associations and most police unions of color. In light of the overwhelming evidence that racial profiling continues to be employed today, the NAACP is strongly urging Congress to pass this legislation, the End Racial Profiling Act, as soon as possible. Teresa Haley is President of the Springfield, Illinois Branch of the NAACP. She may be contacted at naacp1908@aol.com.

100

Urban Professional Lifestyle


A Tribute to Steve Bantu Biko To Mark the 65th Anniversary of His Death By Roy Trivedy

101

Urban Professional Lifestyle


On 15 October 1977, a month after Steve Biko’s death in detention, The Times (a national newspaper in the UK) published a full one page spread titled ‘Black Consciousness and the Quest for a True Humanity’. The article reproduced some of Steve’s writing. It summarized the origins of the Black Consciousness movement, its historic role in the struggle against apartheid and the fight for liberation and freedom. It explained the economic basis of racism and the way in which social, political and cultural means were systematically used by the state to subjugate the Black majority in South Africa. The article also talked about the critical role of youth and the churches in the struggle for freedom and about international solidarity. I was 17 at the time and studying Economics, Politics and Sociology as a sixth form student. I had come to the UK from Kenya, eight years before this, with my family; a family that had its origins in India but had spent the best part of three generations in East Africa with dual Kenyan-British nationality. In 1969, my parents had chosen to migrate to the UK and become naturalized British citizens. As a teenager I was aware of my Indian and African roots. I was also aware of the anti-colonial struggles in many parts of globe, the importance of fighting oppression wherever it occurred, of solidarity and for standing up for the values of justice and liberty. 102

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Left: The body of Steve Biko in a prison in King Williamstown, South Africa. Biko leader of the Black Consciousness Movement, was arrested on August 1977, and died soon afterwards. In 1997 five former members of the South African security forces admitted to killing Biko who died a year after the Soweto riots which rocked apartheid South Africa.

I had seen television programs previously about Steve Biko’s death but prior to reading the article, I had not been aware of the Black Consciousness movement, what it stood for and why it was important. I read and re-read the article several times over that day and have returned to it subsequently. The same article was later published in the book ‘Steve Biko - I write what I Like’, Heinemann 1978. The chapter on Black Consciousness and the Quest for a True Humanity states: Right: Steve Biko’s funeral

‘For the liberals, the thesis is apartheid, the antithesis is nonracialism and the synthesis is very feebly defined. They want to tell blacks that they see integration as the ideal solution. Black Consciousness defines the situation differently. The thesis is in strong white racism and therefore the antithesis must….be strong solidarity amongst blacks. Out of these two situations we can hope to reach some kind of balance, a new humanity where power politics will have no place. Freedom is the ability to define oneself with one’s possibilities held back not by the power of 103

Urban Professional Lifestyle


other people over one but only by one’s relationship to God and to natural surroundings..’ Steve Biko’s words had a profound effect on me. They helped shape my personal outlook and political beliefs. They also played a key role in helping me decide what I wanted to contribute in life. At university I studied law and was active in the Ant-Apartheid Movement. Since 1981 I have worked in a variety of roles contributing to international development in various parts of the world including Malawi, India, Mozambique, Central Asia and Tanzania. In all of my roles for the past 30 years, I have also sought to work with Black and ethnic minority communities (including tribal communities). I have been fortunate in working in east and southern Africa, India and the UK. Through my work and activities, I have sought to practice Steve Biko’s quest for a true humanity: ‘We have set out on a quest for a true humanity, and somewhere on a distant horizon we can see the glittering prize.’ Steve Biko was a brilliant thinker, a truly courageous freedom fighter and an inspirational leader. He played a key role in the fight against apartheid but his words also influenced many people, including myself, across the world. As we continue to strive in the quest for a true humanity, Steve Biko’s words are as relevant today as they were when he wrote them. www.pambazuka.org

104

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Africa's first liberation movement turns 100 years old with birthday celebration of song, dance and fireworks

South Africa's ANC celebrates centenary with moment in the sun

105

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Left: Jacob Zuma, South's Africa's president, waves at supporters during the ANC's 100th birthday party at Bloemfontein. Photograph: Kim Ludbrook/EPA

Mothusi Setshelenyane left home at 6pm on Saturday for a tortuous bus journey. Arriving in Bloemfontein at 4am on Sunday , he wasn't thinking about sleep. He wouldn't miss this party for the world. "Under apartheid, black people could not do anything. Now we can," said the odd job man, 30, from a small town in the vast, arid Northern Cape. "We got democracy through the African National Congress (ANC). You must respect the ANC." Africa's first liberation movement turned 100 years old on Sunday with a birthday celebration of song and dance, vuvuzelas and fireworks and a unity of purpose now too often lost in the day-to-day of South African politics. This was a party yearning to rewalk the sunlit uplands of 1994, when millions queued patiently to vote for the first time and South Africa seemed able to defy political gravity. The heroic struggle against a racist regime was remembered: those thousands who sacrificed their lives in a quest for human rights and democracy that took more than eight decades. So too Nelson Mandela's peerless act of forgiveness and reconciliation. To spoil a centenarian's birthday party with talk of more recent corruption, cronyism and factionalism would have been churlish. To speak of the deepening cancer of unemployment and inequality would have been to revive a family pain it knows too well. More polite for now, perhaps, to put it as Mandela did in Long Walk to Freedom: "After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb." For on this day, largely in blazing summer heat that made unhatted foreheads glisten, no one could deny the ANC its moment in the sun. From all over the country, tens of thousands had come to the ANC's birthplace, Bloemfontein. They joined foreign heads of state and dignitaries at the Free State Stadium where, 18 months ago, Germany beat England 4-1 in the football World Cup. On Sunday the atmosphere was no less boisterous but the stands flowered with ANC black, green and gold. The party flag and logo, with the legends "Unity in diversity" and "100 years of selfless struggle", were painted on the pitch. Either side of a central stage stood giant tent stands bearing monochrome photos of each of the ANC's 12 presidents. 106

Urban Professional Lifestyle


First was John Dube, his sweeping walrus moustache and suit and tie hinting at the party's origins among a missionary-educated black elite. Number eight was Albert Luthuli, the first African winner of the Nobel Peace prize in 1960. Then there was Oliver Tambo and the only living president not in attendance, Mandela, who is just seven years younger than the ANC. "He is in good spirits but very, very old," said Gwede Mantashe, the party's secretary-general, explaining the great man's absence. Mandela himself was the first to acknowledge the party as bigger than any individual. Barend Petersen, 51, a businessman who travelled from Cape Town to be here, said: "It would have been an exceptional moment to see him in person attending the celebration. On the other hand, he is still with us in spirit and with us in life, and he is the iconic glue that represents the best of the ANC." The 11th president, Thabo Mbeki, had come out of the cold to attend his first ANC event since he was acrimoniously ousted in 2008. He swallowed his pride to hand over a giant "centenary flame" to his usurper, Jacob Zuma, in what the party must hope will be a metaphorical healing of its deepest wound.

107

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Other Zuma foes on stage included Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the former president's ex-wife, and Julius Malema, the renegade youth league leader fighting suspension and denied a chance to speak. Zuma began with a lap of honour and was then introduced by a traditional imbongi, or praise singer, to deliver a speech billed as one of the most important of his political

life.

He paid tribute to Mandela and Mbeki and spoke of the anniversary as a national event, "a joyous celebration for all the people of South Africa". Recalling the difficult decision to pursue armed struggle, Zuma said: "Our freedom was definitely not free. It was achieved through the blood, sweat and tears of many selfless leaders and cadres of the movement." Looking forward, Zuma said: "As we mark the ANC centenary, this is the right moment to pause and ponder the future of South Africa and of the ANC over the next 100 years. We must ask and answer the difficult questions about the future of our country. We must bring new energy and new ideas into the kind of society we want to build over the next few decades …We call on all our South Africans to join in a national dialogue on the future of the country." The party's membership now tops a million, he announced. But by the time Zuma finished with a singalong and the cutting of a centenary cake, thousands had already left the 48,000-capacity stadium, like fans deserting a losing football team. The speech was quickly derided as sleep-inducing on Twitter. With almost unbearable symbolic timing, suddenly winds gusted and dark clouds gathered as ANC leaders drank champagne on stage. Earlier, expectations had been raised by a pop concert. A male singer in leopardskin singlet and headband duetted with a shaven-headed female in a tiny yellow dress, while dancers in black, green and gold gyrated to an "ANC" ditty. There were traditional African chants and cheers as party stalwarts took the stage for the national anthem and interfaith prayers. 108

Urban Professional Lifestyle


It was a day of pride for all but a few naysayers. The opposition Democratic Alliance sent congratulations and a delegation. Earlier, Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu, who recently threatened to pray for the ANC's downfall, had come to the party when a Wesleyan church was reconsecrated, 100 years to the day after the founding fathers met there. Tutu shared a joke with Zuma as water was thrown against

the church door, then sat beside him and American civil rights leader Jesse Jackson on the pews within. At midnight he watched with amusement as Zuma lit the centenary flame, at the second attempt, with some help from a man in blue overalls marked "Explosives". Hymns were sung and a candle lit in memory of the ANC's presidents. But the sacred air was rent somewhat by an unseemly scramble at the door and the late entry of several African leaders and chieftans, forced to break from a gala dinner that overran until 3am. There were tributes to the ANC from the rest of Africa and beyond. Armando Guebuza, president of Mozambique, told the gala dinner: "What you did made us proud of being Africans." Uganda's president Yuweri Museveni described the ANC centenary as 109

Urban Professional Lifestyle


"an achievement for the entire African continent". British prime minister David Cameron wrote in a letter to Zuma: "The African National Congress has been a beacon for the world in the fight against discrimination and the struggle for freedom from oppression." The weekend of celebrations had begun in Bloemfontein with a golf tournament at a club where, just a generation ago, black people were banned from playing except on Sundays. In a nod to African ritual, a spear-wielding Zuma led the slaughter of a black bull in an early morning cleansing ceremony. On Saturday, a performer collapsed and died during the cultural programme. Piquantly, Bloemfontein, the former Boer capital of the Orange Free State, was also the birthplace of the National party and, incidentally, Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien. A century ago black washerwomen doing laundry for its white middle class were forced to carry 13 permits. But on Sunday, the city filled with songs of freedom, with Che Guevera berets and shirts, with cadres and comrades and cries of "Amandla!" and "Viva ANC!" – embers in the afterglow of a history well lived.

110

Urban Professional Lifestyle


A return to Haiti two years after earthquake stranded children in adoption limbo By Ron Allen NBC News correspondent

111

Urban Professional Lifestyle


It doesn't happen often, but sometimes a chance encounter can lead to a story that continues for a couple of years. I hadn't been on the ground in Haiti for long after the earthquake-- which struck two years ago on Jan. 12, 2010 -- when a producer handed me a piece of paper with a name and phone number on it. Brian Williams had met a young pastor on a flight out of Port Au Prince, who had literally begged him for help. There were about 50 children in a life or death situation. They had survived the quake and been evacuated to a makeshift shelter, where food and water were running out. They were getting little help, because there was so much tragedy and mayhem everywhere. What's more, many of the children were in the process of being adopted by American families. Some of those parents had flown to Haiti and were desperately trying to get their "almostadopted" kids out. All of this hit me at a deeply personal level. My 3-year-old daughter Siobhan was born in Ethiopia. We adopted her when she was just a few months old. I've spent a lot of years covering conflicts and disasters around the world and I've always been struck by the countless number of children I've seen living in such desperate circumstances. I didn't go looking for this story in Haiti, somehow it found me. It all felt a bit odd at first, and so close. But after mulling all of this with a few colleagues, I pressed on. And I'm glad I did. We ran into a man from Nashville named Mike Wilson. He was frantically trying to rescue two little girls, Tia who was 5 and Naika then 6. Wilson and his wife, Missy, had been trying to adopt them for a couple of years. We followed Wilson for a couple of agonizing days, as he shuttled between the American embassy, the airport and the shelter where his girls were staying. The problem was that the girls were not American 112

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Above: A Haitian orphan huddles on the ground of a tent set up by the Dutch Urban Search and Rescue team at the UN compound located in Port-au-Prince

citizens, so Wilson couldn't bring them to the U.S. On top of that, Wilson had no proof he was adopting the girls. All of the paperwork was buried under the rubble. Hundreds of American families faced the same dilemma. It took about a week, but eventually, the U.S. and Haitian governments allowed about 1,100 "almost-adopted" children to leave Haiti, fly to the United States and let their new parents finish the paperwork later. While that certainly sounds like a reasonable thing to do, it was in fact an extraordinary humanitarian gesture that's been compared to rescue airlifts of children during times of war. International adoption is closely monitored because of concerns about fraud and illegal child trafficking. Since then, we've kept in touch with the Wilsons, a bustling and busy family, now with 5 children. Tia and Naika are adjusting remarkably well to their new life in the suburbs of Nashville. These days they pretty much seem like typical American kids. But of course, they have an extraordinary life story and the Wilsons have a unique connection to Haiti. 113

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Above: Orphans waited in Portau-Prince, Haiti, for a flight to Paris, where they were adopted by French families.

The Wilsons work for a Christian non-profit group that does a lot of work in Haiti. They've returned at least a dozen times since the quake, often leading dozens of volunteers recruited from across the United States. Our story on Rock Center is about the journey the Wilsons took during the quake and since then. We met them in Nashville and in Haiti a few weeks back, to see some of the work they're doing. We think its an important story, because these days Haiti, still struggling to recover, isn't in the headlines much. And that's the point and the problem. www.msnbc.com

114

Urban Professional Lifestyle


The Food Stamp Fallacy By: Edward Wyckoff Williams

115

Urban Professional Lifestyle


“I will go to the NAACP convention, and tell the African-American community why they should demand paychecks instead of food stamps." - Newt Gingrich

When will Republicans be honest about who really gets the most out of welfare programs? The leaders of today's Republican Party are expert storytellers. When it comes to manipulating racial stereotypes for political gain, they are akin to animation artists of the 1920s: coloring the lines in black and white. Last Thursday Newt Gingrich told a crowd of senior citizens in New Hampshire, "The African-American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps." Rick Santorum was even more egregious, claiming he doesn't "want to make black people's lives better by giving them other people's money" (although he later claimed that he never intentionally said "black"). Gingrich's latest offense comes only weeks after he received widespread criticism for saying that poor children should work as janitors and clean toilets. He specifically made a point of addressing "inner city" youths -- which has become conservative code for black and brown people everywhere, from the South to the coasts, the suburbs to the metropolises, regardless of where they actually live. 116

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Left: Kenneth Dansby, center, of Greenville, S.C., is fist-bumped by Republican presidential candidate former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum at a campaign event after Dansby confronted Santorum on a recent comment about black people that has been criticized as being racially insensitive Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012, in Greenville, S.C. Both Newt Gingrich and Santorum faced criticism this week when they spoke of overhauling food stamps and other welfare programs by seeming to equate food stamp recipients and blacks. - AP Photo

For some odd reason, this is acceptable rhetoric among the conservative political class. It is especially troubling because every reliable statistic shows that white Americans are the overwhelming beneficiaries of welfare in this country and make up the largest number of those in poverty by a wide and substantial margin. The Republicans' well-rehearsed lies on the subject have been so effective that people of every hue have come to believe them, feeding widespread ignorance about the true face of poverty and the ever-growing gap between America's rich and poor. Perhaps it's time for a lesson in mathematics and history. The Myth of the Black Welfare Queen Ronald Reagan, now lauded as the great Republican demigod, is largely responsible for the GOP's misguided obsession with framing African Americans as the predominant poor and welfare-dependent. In his 1976 race for the White House, Reagan repeated hyperbolic stories of a woman on the South Side of Chicago who was the quintessential "welfare queen." Reagan claimed, "She has 80 names, 30 addresses, 12 Social Security cards and is collecting veteran's benefits on four nonexisting deceased husbands. And she is collecting Social Security on her cards. She's got Medicaid, getting food stamps, and she is collecting welfare under each of her names. Her tax-free cash income is over $150,000." Reagan never named the actual woman, but his statement, including the reference to the South Side of Chicago, said it all.

117

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Though the story was later proven false, the concept became an American colloquialism, propagated by news media and Hollywood, and remains a disturbingly popular image of poor black women and families. The truth? Of the 46 million people living in poverty in America in 2010, the U.S. census revealed that 31 million were white. Ten million were black. Of the 49 million people without health insurance coverage, 37 million were white; 8 million were African American. Latinos of every race and Asian Americans represented the remaining largest ethnic groups. The face of poverty in America is overwhelmingly white, but as sociologist and professor William O'Hare explains in a 2009 study on children in poverty, the white American poor, especially those in rural areas, are "forgotten." So What Do the Numbers Tell Us About Poverty? White Americans, poor and middle-class alike, receive the vast majority of tax-funded government assistance programs, from monthly assistance to Social Security to food stamps. TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), the program that provides aid to single mothers, is the most well-known welfare program, but the truth is that Social Security and Medicare are also social welfare services, funded by tax dollars. To that end, nearly 70 percent of all benefits of these programs go to white people. In fact, since African Americans have lower life expectancy, many work and pay into the Social Security and Medicare programs through their tax dollars, only to have white Americans, who have a longer life expectancy, benefit from the income they've left behind. O'Hare's research in his 2009 report "The Forgotten Fifth: Child Poverty in Rural America," reveals that 57 percent of rural poor children were white and 44 percent of all urban poor children were white. But theirs is a story rarely told, their faces hardly seen. High poverty rates for poor and working-class whites have worsened since the 2008 economic crisis. Rural white poverty was already more systemic than urban poverty. 118

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Poor whites are more likely to lack basic education levels and remain in poverty for generations. O'Hare found that white Americans living in rural areas benefited the least from the economic boom of the 1990s. The parents were often underemployed, and this translated into deeper poverty levels for their children. The Food Stamp Fallacy and GOP Strategy In December 2009, the New York Times published a series of related articles showing that poor whites across Appalachia and the Mississippi Delta and through the Midwest, Deep South and Texas borderlands were the highest percentage of Americans relying on the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), or food stamp, program. According to the New York Times, 36 million Americans relied on food stamps. More than 24 million of them were white, 8 million were African American and 6 million were Hispanic of any race.

119

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Reagan and the GOP learned a powerful lesson from Barry Goldwater's devastating defeat in 1964 and the Southern strategy implemented by Nixon: that race was a powerful tool in securing the white vote, even if it meant convincing working-class whites to vote against their own economic interests. It was Reagan who in 1980 described the Voting Rights Act as "humiliating to the South," a strategy that led to the phenomenon known as Reagan Democrats. By surreptitiously appealing to disgruntled working-class whites across the South and in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, Reagan fed suspicions that Democrats were purveyors of welfare economics. The "black welfare queen" image he touted only served to strengthen the resolve of white voters who considered themselves social conservatives. As Paul Krugman pointed out in his 2007 article "Republicans and Race," Southern whites still voted for the GOP at a ratio of 2 to 1. But for poor whites voting Republican, it's a strategy that only serves to keep them in poverty. Like everyone struggling to provide for their families amid the nation's economic challenges, poor whites are a demographic sorely in need of progressive answers to their socioeconomic ills. Yet many remain adherent to a racially polarizing Republican Party that has taught them to fear Obama as "alien" or "other." From Reagan to Gingrich to Santorum, race-baiting has only profited the Republican leaders who have sold it. Those at the bottom, and poor whites in particular, are left to pay the price. www.theroot.com

120

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Yorli Huff Teaches us to Find the Superhero in All of Us 121

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Yorli Huff was born on August 7, 1968,

in

Jansilyne

Chicago,

Illinois,

Berthania

Huff

Samuel Huff.

to and

She has an older

brother, Samuel Louis Huff III, and a younger sister, Amber Lizette Walker.

Despite

a

difficult

childhood, Huff was an excellent student and that dedication helped land her a position in 1992 in Chicago with the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department as a Special Drug Agent at the tender age of twenty-four. One of the few African-American

undercover

agents in the task force, Huff excelled at her work, but her rise to the top brought with it racism and discrimination. In 1997, after trying unsuccessfully to deal with that discrimination on her own, Huff made history when she filed a lawsuit against the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department, a battle which took her eleven years to win. An entrepreneur at heart, Huff is the owner of Just For You Balloons, a balloon decorating company which she established in 1992, and the owner of Executive Dry Cleaners, Inc., which she established in 2008. Also in 2008, Yorli Huff became the Founder, President, and CEO of Engendering Strength, Inc., a company devoted to inspiring and empowering women. Engendering Strength Inc. was created to enlighten, empower and encourage people to think and operate with a different mindset, trust GOD and know that victory is yours. A mindset to excel against all things, dream the 122

Urban Professional Lifestyle


impossible and dare to be different amongst all odds. Trust GOD and know that he is for you no matter what and if HE be for you than he is more than the entire world against you. Know victory is yours and attainable but it comes with much sacrifice. Engendering Strength is a conduit of change that I personally experienced and had to endure to know GOD for myself. Change that is so powerful it literally affects the atmosphere. Yorli Huff’s first book, The Veil of Victory, an account of her life from childhood to her victory over the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department, was published in October 2010. addition

to

being

a

In

national

motivational speaker, she is currently at

work

on

her

second

book,

Testimony Time; a feature film based on The Veil of Victory; t-shirt lines; and a Superhero Huff comic book. “My life has been nothing short of a miracle.

For years, I have struggled

with the idea of telling this story. In many ways, it is a journey beyond words. This

story

was

written

to

help

someone, heal some- one, and inspire someone. This story was written to let you know that you’re not alone, no matter how lonely you might feel., “ she says. 123

Urban Professional Lifestyle


My life has been nothing short of a miracle. For years, I have struggled with the idea of telling this story. In many ways, it is a journey beyond words. This story was written to help someone, heal some- one, and inspire someone. This story was written to let you know that you’re not alone, no matter how lonely you might feel. My life has been nothing short of a miracle. For years, I have struggled with the idea of telling this story. In many ways, it is a journey beyond words. This story was written to help someone, heal some- one, and inspire someone. This story was written to let you know that you’re not alone, no matter how lonely you might feel.

Below: Yorli in South Africa – Venda Spiritual Tour

Yorli Huff has been featured on Allison Payne’s People to People segment, Monique Caradine show, Perspectives, the Cliff Kelly Talk Radio Show on WVON, Lamont Brown Speaks and South Africa’s SABC radio. Ms. Huff has just returned from South Africa on a powerful speaking tour to empower, encourage and enlighten the people on matters of discrimination and abuse. She is also the recipient of the Remarkable Women Award from America’s Time Out for Youth, Inc. She will be honored as a 2011 Women on Top of Her Game by American’s Time Out for Youth, Inc. In her very lean spare time, Yorli Huff enjoys roller skating, working out, and traveling. She currently lives in Naperville, Illinois, with her nine-year-old son, Prince Judah Rashad Herring.

124

Urban Professional Lifestyle


125

Urban Professional Lifestyle


126

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Shoya Bowman Turning Dreams into Reality

127

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Shoya Bowman, is a woman who prides herself on turning a dream into a reality. Shoya’s true passion was writing so in 2005 she started her own company called Shoya’s Writings to publish and market her books as well as other authors. She holds private Creative Writing and How to Self-Publish workshops for aspiring authors. I am a very proud daughter that was blessed to have artistic parents. My mother was a pianist and my father was an artist.,” she says. “I was encouraged to write my first book, Issues, which is a book of poetry and short stories that deal with relationships and everyday life.” Her fans demanded more and she obliged with the release of her second book entitled, Goodbye Don’t Always Mean Gone. “Throughout my writing I deal with the raw realities of relationships that are faced with abuse, addictions, jealousy, infidelity etc.,” she says. “I was encouraged to turn my second book, Goodbye Don't Always Mean Gone, into a stage play,” she says. On September 25, 2010, this major undertaking had begun. “I knew I needed to seek the assistance and guidance of a professional playwright, because I anticipated this project would be daunting. How was I to lift these characters from the pages of my book, put them onstage and make them have interesting dialogue that would captivate an audience?” “The task itself was unimaginable to me. Fortunately, I was introduced to Christine Houston, writer of the play "227," that later turned into the hit '80s television sitcom.” “I had the privilege of being taught on a one-onone basis, and in the comfort of her home.” “I knew it was a blessing from above, as the two of us had an instant connection. Working with her was the funniest, most challenging, emotional and humbling experience that I had ever felt.” 128

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Above: The Six Brown Chicks Show

“Learning the art of trust and acceptance of criticism was quickly thrust upon me. Christine wanted to give back and she did in a major way! She wanted me as a young African American writer to have the right tools to share with others one day.” “Most important, Christine wanted me to leave with the feeling of success because I had a great product that I could proudly share, generations to come.” “I can recall coming to class one day unprepared, I had forgotten my books at home. When I arrived and told Mrs. Christine Houston what I had done she asked me, "Where are you coming from the motel?" After I roared with laughter, she then chastised me by stating that if I weren't going to take this class seriously, than I could just turn around and not waste her time. I knew at that point that I would have to be serious about my work if I wanted anyone else to take my vision seriously.” “Of course I was prepared for every class thereafter.” “In dealing with the content of my book she also made me realize just how powerful love really is.This riveting story details two best friends that have desires to 129

Urban Professional Lifestyle


live each other's lives. Staci the single, sexy and promiscuous bombshell, is seeking love and ultimately marriage; Kim on the other hand, has been married for years and has become bored, lost in her marriage, and wants to feel the freedom of a single person.” “The reality of life is that there are many Stacis in the world-women who yearn to be married and will use any outlet and any means to find their version of the perfect man.” “Does this person really exist? Will these two women find what they are looking for, or will a dramatic twist put a halt to their search. The process of converting this story to a play under Christine's tutelage has revealed to me just how powerful love can be when dealing with life, men, friendship, marriage and self.” Love’s Got A Hold On Me is a dramatic play that tells the story of two best friends that desire to live one another’s lives. One is single and the other is married but during a dramatic twist they soon realize that the grass is not always greener on the other side. This theatrical expression will be held on March 9th and 10th of 2012, at Freedom Hall Manilow Theatre. www.lovesgotaholdonme.com Shoya currently blogs daily with a group of phenomenal women authors known as The Six Brown Chicks. She is also a cohost for WCIU, The Six Brown Chicks Show. She has also been featured speaker at The Black Woman’s Expo 2011 and honored at Sarah Vargo’s Maven: Diva Series. Shoya is a featured author at the 3rd Annual Book Clubs Unite; has 130

Urban Professional Lifestyle


been featured in Rolling Out Magazine, N’Digo Magapaper, North Lawndale News and the Chicago Defender. She also hosts several Relationship Chats throughout the Chicago land area. Even though she is dedicated to her business ventures, Shoya understands the importance of family. “I’m proud to state that I have raised a beautiful daughter who has now blossomed into a young adult,” she says. “What I’ve learned throughout this glorious life I live is that we must learn to be patient in life because everything truly does happen in Divine Order.” Shoya has a BA in Business Management from Columbia College and is a privileged member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Shoya may be contacted directly by phone at 708-705-1281 or via email at shoyaswritings@yahoo.com. Her website contacts are www.shoyaswritings.com. www.sixbrownchicks.com and www.wciu.com/sixbrownchicks

131

Urban Professional Lifestyle


The life of Nelson Mandela will be the subject of a six-hour mini-series, titled Madiba. His grandson Kweku Mandela will be a co-producer. Photograph: Mike Hutchings/Reuters Photograph: Mike Hutchings/Reuters

Nelson Mandela's life story to be turned into TV drama By Jason Deans

132

Urban Professional Lifestyle


'Madiba' will show how Mandela fought the apartheid system and became South Africa's first black president after 27 years in jail The life of Nelson Mandela is to be the subject of a $20m (ÂŁ13m) TV mini-series spanning six decades and the momentous events leading to his election as South Africa's first black president after 27 years in jail. Mandela, now 93, has given his approval for the six-hour drama, which is due to go into production later this year, shooting primarily on location in South Africa. Casting is still being finalised. Mandela has previously been played on screen by Morgan Freeman in Clint Eastwood's 2009 film Invictus. The producers are in talks with broadcasters in the UK and US about the project. The scripts are based on two books optioned by the producers, the autobiographical Conversations with Myself and Nelson Mandela By Himself, which features authorised quotations. The programme-makers have also been given access to the archives of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

133

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Entitled Madiba, the clan name from the Xhosa tribe by which Mandela has often been known, the mini-series is being co-produced by his grandson, Kweku Mandela, and the UK film-makers who were behind The Queen and The Damned United. Kweku Mandela said Madiba would not just be another project painting his grandfather as "Mandela the saint", but would seek to credit the many people who helped shape his life story. He added that the producers were also seeking to educate a new generation about the system of apartheid through which South Africa's white minority oppressed the black majority for more than 40 years up to 1990. The first democratic elections open to all races were held in 1994. The series will also examine Mandela's relationship with his mother and her impact on his character. Mandela's father died when he was a child. Born in 1918, Mandela joined anti-apartheid organisation the African National Congress – which celebrated its 100th anniversary at the weekend – in the mid-1940s and founded the ANC youth league with others including Walter Sisulu and Oliver Tambo. Mandela qualified as a lawyer in the early 1950s and opened a law firm in partnership with Tambo, while the pair continued to campaign against apartheid. 134

Urban Professional Lifestyle


As resistance to the National Party's apartheid regime grew, the ANC was outlawed in 1960, and four years later Mandela and other leaders of the anti-apartheid movement were sentenced to life imprisonment. He spent 18 years of his imprisonment at Robben Island before being transferred to the South African mainland. A campaign to free Mandela became the focus of international opposition to apartheid, with a regime of sanctions imposed on South Africa. In the face of this mounting international pressure, in 1990 South African president FW De Klerk lifted the ban on the ANC, with Mandela released from prison on 11 February that year. Three years later Mandela and De Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel peace prize and in 1994 the ANC won South Africa's first multiracial democratic election, with Mandela becoming president. He stepped down in 1999 and retired from public life in 2004. Madiba is being written by Nigel Williams, the British novelist, screenwriter and playwright, whose previous TV credits include an adaptation of his own novel The Wimbledon Poisoner and Elizabeth I, starring Helen Mirren. The mini-series is being co-produced by UK film-makers Andy Harries and Marigo Kehoe through their production company, Left Bank Pictures, which has credits including the BBC's Swedish detective drama Wallander. Harries and Kehoe have previously collaborated on projects including The Queen and The Damned United. Harries told the Guardian that during a research trip to South Africa for the project in May 2011, he and Kehoe had a brief meeting with Mandela to discuss the mini-series and get his personal blessing. They found him at his home in Johannesburg, sitting "in his armchair in his lounge reading the paper". Harries said he believed a "quality six-hour TV series with a budget of over $3m an hour will be able to give the story the space and breadth it needs". He added: "There is a whole generation of people who weren't even born when Nelson Mandela finally walked free from prison after 27 years in captivity in the early 1990s. His story is one that they need to know." www.guardian.co.uk 135

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Ralen Watts A South American Gem 136

Urban Professional Lifestyle


A true “South American Gem” Ralen Watts has more to offer than just her beautiful hazel eyes This 5’7 (32-24-30) Brazilian born model and aspiring actress prides herself on “getting the job done efficiently and with class.” Ralen was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil. While growing up she recalls that there weren’t many Brazilian role models men or woman due to the immense poverty, the government setup and third world living conditions. It was a place with violence and no lights or running water, “ she says.. Her impoverished beginnings didn’t stop or hinder Ralen from setting high goals or hinder her understanding of the importance of obtaining an education. “When we came to America which is the land of no doubt the best place to be in the world I was especially interested in American Culture, History and Business,” she says. “Luckily, my parents encouraged those interests. The same encouragement that drove me to excel unlike most Brazilian woman that will never get out of Brazil or obtain an education,” she states compassionately. Ralen graduated from high school at 17 and went UCLA where she earned BA in Business and Information System. Soon after, she graduated from UCLA she obtained a job in the oil and gas Industry with Halliburton which is one of the most successful companies in the world. As an oil and gas p[professional Ralen spent six months in the Middle East embarking up the corporate ladder. However, Ralen’s passion lied elsewhere. 137

Urban Professional Lifestyle


She envisioned herself model and actress in the Film and Entertainment industry. In addition to her flourishing modeling career she hopes to be casted and featured in play writes as well as on the big screen. However, she maintains that she is looking for roles in films that are meaningful and that will be remembered for years to come. Today, she encourages young people, especially under privileged women and girls to stay focused, set and stick to their goals and to believe in themselves to achieve their dreams. “My goal is to use my life as an example to teaches others to follow their dreams no matter what. We can’t choose our parents or the part of the world that we are born in, however; we can get an education and make the best of our resources. You should pursue happiness in whatever you’re passionate about,” she says. For serious booking inquiries please contact Ralen via email at ralenwatts@gmail.com 138

Urban Professional Lifestyle


139

Urban Professional Lifestyle


140

Urban Professional Lifestyle


141

Urban Professional Lifestyle


142

Urban Professional Lifestyle


143

Urban Professional Lifestyle


144

Urban Professional Lifestyle


145

Urban Professional Lifestyle


146

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Cleo Jones is a strong representation of a female fighting against all odds and discrimination for women in the entertainment industry and abroad. She was born Tamara (Aquiyla) Lytch also named after Tamara Dobson who played in the 1970's Cleopatra Jones movie. “It was only natural to choose my stage name as Cleo Jones, she says.. She has been fluent with art since birth from sketching to piano which eventually led into fashion and music. Cleo Jones decided to broaden her career in 2001 as a powerful lyricist and a female emcee. She was mentored by Chuck D of Public Enemy. She joined Chuck D in putting together an all-female emcee group currently known as Crew Grrl Order under the SLAMJAMZ Record Label. She has shared the stage with legends such as MC Lyte, KRS-One, ICE T, Public Enemy, Kool Herc and many more. Cleo Jones has toured venues all across the U.S. including such major events such as Women Who Jam, Hopscotch Festival, Go Green Festival and The Women of Hip Hop Awards. In the midst of it all, she managed to find time to work with many groups and camps to build up her lyrical delivery.

147

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Later she was joined by producer Demario “MaddBlackMan” Mcilwain to birth her first solo project Freedom which has reached internationally to Russia, United Kingdom, South Africa, France and Australia. After releasing her first solo effort she teamed up with a few female emcees to release Crew grrl orders" second CD All bets Off. Venus Phli is a clothing and accessory line Cleo Jones started that brings a culture of different styles and eclectic fabrics with flowing colors to enhance the aura of anyone willing to step outside the box and be noticed. Venus Phli has graced many including celebs such as Drew Sidora, Alicia Keys, Fantasia, and Yazarah has proven to be a wardrobe essential in every women’s life. “WE make haute couture accessible to the real life fashionista.” Now embarking on a New Year and transition in her life she has become “Queen Cleopatra” which is more than a name. Her remarkable voice, her endless strength, her undeniable style, and her touching lyrics have been inspired by life and inspired by main stream acts such as Diana Ross, Zapp Mama, Lauryn Hill, and Bahamadia. She knows now the time has come for her to combine her talents of positive, uplifting music that soothes the soul and clothing and accessory designs that are works of art to invoke your spirit. As of now you can find the Queen Cleopatra Collection in 32 stores in the southeast and this year 148

Urban Professional Lifestyle


2012 the Venus Phli Collection will be launched in the Southeast region as well! Also look out for new music to be released Spring of 2012 solo album titled "Reclaiming My Name" a fusion of soul, hip-hop, and afro- beat. Cleo Jones was kind enough to grant VOICE an i9nterview. Below is that interview conducted by VOICe Contributor Tiffany Hatchett. VOICE: What's in the name "Queen Cleopatra?" CJ: Queen Cleopatra was manifested from the album titled 'Reclaiming my name.' It is a combination of using the historical reference of Queen Cleopatra and Cleopatra Jones. When I trace back through the timeline of both women they had large simularities to me. VOICE: How do you feel you have grown as an artist, and how does your past play a part in your

future plans ? CJ: I have grown as an artist through my expieriences in life which has changed my perception and view and made me more aware of my impact in music and how that translates to the listener. I have learned from my past projects what is needed to push certain songs and to bring more recognition to me as an independent artist. So now I impliment those lessons into how I market myself. VOICE: How have those experiences groom you into a better artist? CJ: They made me more aware of the trials and tribulations that female artists go through, which made me learn how to do more things such as engineering, managing,

149

Urban Professional Lifestyle


etc. Also, I'm very careful of the people I put on my team, because in this buisiness you need a very strong support system. VOICE: You mentioned that girl groups don't last. What's it take for girl groups to emerge and be sustainable? CJ: Girl groups do last, but they only last when egos are in check, and the woman have a hunger and desire to succeed. In order for them to substain they have to become family and know that the group cannot exist without each other. VOICE: What are some of the stereotypes that women go through in a male dominated industry? CJ: Either we have to have a hyper sexual image or be hardcore in order to make it in the buisness. When in fact there are so many different dinamics that exist in femcees. Now the important part is showing the industry there is a market for the women that do hip hop from different views. VOICE: What are some of the reasons, in spite of your talent, that could cause you to think that it may have taken you longer than others, to create a large following in the music game? CJ: In my career I have invested alot of time in other groups and music projects that sometimes have distracted me from my own solo endevers. On top of that I am a mother of three and have another buisness on the side. Plus it is very hard to promote a positive or socially concious message in todays music. 150

Urban Professional Lifestyle


VOICE: What sources are you using to promote your music? CJ: The internet and other media publications as well as shows, mix tapes, and video cameos. VOICE: What tools do you use to create the newness and a buzz around "Queen Cleopatra?" CJ: Combinations of the Internet and my PR agent's efforts, plus my label, Slamjam Records (Public Enemy"s label). VOICE: What can we expect to hear from you in 2012 that sets you apart? CJ: My sound is unique to the industry because I stay true to what I love about music how it makes me feel. 'Reclaiming My Name' is sure to invoke emotions and give you a glimpse into my life and the journeys that have led me here so far. Below: Accessories and Apparel Designer Venus Phli and Fashion Designer Tara Davis

151

Urban Professional Lifestyle


152

Urban Professional Lifestyle


153

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Above: Donald Glover (Peggy Sirota/GQ Magzine)

Black men help make retro style fashionable again By Dexter Mullins

154

Urban Professional Lifestyle


For men, trends this year bring the spotlight of the runway back to the retro look of men in the early 20s and 30s with a modern kick that is popping up in fashion shows and retail stores everywhere. For black men, that means taking a look at the fashion of the Harlem Renaissance and bringing classic conservative style into the 21st century. Len Burnett, Co-CEO and Publisher of Uptown Magazine, says it's good to see men taking pride in wanting to look good and taking pride in the image of the black man once again. "September is sort of the fashion marker on the calendar but [black men] dress well all year round," Burnett said. Burnett, who is also Co-CEO of the Vibe Lifestyle Network, added that it's also great to see young people in their teens and twenties taking an interest in their own personal style. With trendsetters and icons in the black community embracing blazers and bowties instead of saggy jeans and fitted ball caps, the modern renaissance man look is spreading rapidly. "I think something else to be said, you know with President Obama, look there's a stylish cat," Burnett said. "Our president has swag...and I think a lot of the kids look up to that as well." A DEFINING MOMENT This isn't a trend that has resurfaced overnight. In the last two decades prominent black celebrities have been slowly but surely transitioning their fashion sense from double XL t-shirts and baggy pants to tailored and sophisticated suits.

155

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Will Welch, senior editor of GQ magazine, says that the change really kicked in when David Stern, NBA Commissioner, instituted a mandatory dress code requiring players to wear suits. A decision that was considered controversial, Stern's dress code has stayed in place, and Welch says it's for the better. "We all grow up idolizing NBA stars and that hasn't changed, but what has changed is these guys are wearing suits and really figuring out ways to make them their own," Welch said. "In a way that's been super inspiring. Young people are like 'I wanna look like LeBron when he's at the post-game press conference. I want to look like that, I want to wear a suit and know what a tie bar is or what a lapel pin is." SPREADING THE MOVEMENT Stylist and designer Marc Clark is just one of numerous young black designers who are emerging as prominent voices in the world of black fashion. Clarc says that in fashion, everything circles back around after a few trend cycles. Now that the retro look is cool again, he says it's making this generation more fashion conscious. Clark also says the renaissance look is popular again largely because of the impact technology and access has on the younger generation. "It just, it all goes back to social media in my opinion. Everything is on Tumblr, Twitter. You can see pictures from the renaissance movement on Tumblr and Twitter, on Facebook pages," Clark said. MAKING IT PERSONAL With styles constantly changing, there are no hard and fast rules on staying stylish Clark says. It's all about the way individuals make looks their own. "This generation is more so personal style. More so how you as an individual can pull off this look, opposed to you as an individual pulling of that look, or what someone else did," Clark said. "If you look good you feel good, and if you feel good you look good." www.thegio.com 156

Urban Professional Lifestyle


157

Urban Professional Lifestyle


To order visit: www.destineelove.net

158

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Romantic Relationships – How Can you keep it Alive? By Destinee Love

Having a strong, healthy relationship can be one of the best things in your life. An honest and true relationship improves your life in all aspects, strengthening your mind and your connections with others as well. However, it can also be one of the greatest drains if the relationship is not working. I see relationships like an investment. The more you put in, the more you get back. Love, as well as relationships, takes work, commitment, and a willingness to adapt and change through life together as a team. Here below are a few ways to keep a healthy relationship strong, or work on repairing trust and love for a relationship that may be on the rocks. Staying involved with each other. Some relationships get stuck in peaceful coexistence, but without truly relating to each other and working together. While it may seem stable on the surface, lack of involvement and communication increases distance. When you need to talk about something important, the connection and understanding may no longer be there. Getting through conflict. Some couples talk things out quietly, while others may raise their voices and passionately disagree. The key in a strong relationship, though, is not to be fearful of conflict. You need to be safe to express things that bother you without fear of retaliation, and be able to resolve conflict without humiliation, degradation or insisting on being right. Keeping outside relationships and interests alive. No one person can meet all of our needs, and expecting too much from someone can put a lot of unhealthy pressure on a relationship. Having friends and outside interests not only strengthens your social network, but brings new insights and stimulation to the relationship, too. 159

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Communicating. I can’t express this word enough. Honest, direct communication is a key part of any relationship. When both people feel comfortable expressing their needs, fears and desires, trust and bonds are strengthened Be sensitive to what your partner likes. While touch is a key part of a healthy relationship, it’s important to take some time to find out what your partner really likes. Unwanted touching or inappropriate overtures can make the other person tense up and retreat—exactly what you don’t want. Make time – For Quality Time. You probably have memories of when you were first dating. Everything may have seemed new and exciting, and you may have spent hours just chatting together or coming up with new, exciting things to try. However, as time goes by, children, demanding jobs, long commutes, different hobbies and other obligations can make it hard to find time together. It’s critical for your relationship, though, to make time for yourselves. If you don’t have quality time, communication and understanding start to fade away. Don’t take out your problems on your partner. Life stresses can make us short tempered. If you are coping with a lot of stress, it might seem easier to vent with your partner, and even feel safer to snap at him or her. Fighting like this might initially feel like a release, but it slowly poisons your relationship. Find other ways to vent your anger and frustration. Be open to change. Change is inevitable in life, and it will happen whether you go with it or fight it. Flexibility is essential to adapt to the change that is always taking place in any relationship, and it allows you to grow together through both the good times and the bad. Though advice like above can be helpful, sometimes problems in a relationship may seem too complex or overwhelming for a couple to handle on their own. In that case, it’s important to reach out together for help. It’s alright to reach out to other sources for help in your relationships. Many couples have tried counseling, and/or spiritual advice. Don’t feel like you are a failure for not providing them everything they need. No one can fulfill everyone’s needs, and getting the right help can make a tremendous difference in your relationship. Much Love, Happy New Year!!!!! and remember to “Keep It Sexi!!!” For order information: http://www.essenceofdestinee.com

160

Urban Professional Lifestyle


3 Workouts To Try In 2012 By Danielle Pointdujour

1

161

Urban Professional Lifestyle


If you’re like me, you’re always looking for new fitness routines to try out because, let’s face it, the same old workout gets boring after a while, both for you and your muscles. With 2012 fast approaching I’ve got three workouts you can try that will breathe new life into your normal routine and maybe even help you stick to that New Year’s fitness resolution for once. The Masala Bhangra Workout

If you’re a big fan of Zumba, like most people, then the Masala Bhangra workout is right up your alley. The Masala Bhangra Workout is an Indian-dance based fitness program, designed for people of all ages and fitness levels, that introduces high energy Bhangra 162

Urban Professional Lifestyle


and Bollywood dance movements in an easy-to-follow fitness format. Just like with Zumba this workout burns tons of calories and helps to tone in the process. The Bar Method

Looking to create a lean, firm and sculpted body, look no further than the Bar Method. According to The Bar Method’s website the workout creates a “uniquely lean, firm, sculpted body by combining the muscle-shaping principles of isometrics, the bodyelongating practice of dance conditioning, the science of physical therapy and the intense pace of interval training into a powerful exercise format that quickly and safely reshapes and elongates muscles.” With the Bar Method you’ll be beach ready in no time!

163

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Rock Climbing This one is a little outside the box, but definitely one that will help shake off that workout boredom and achieve the results you want. With rock climbing you don’t have to be super strong to do it, climbing is largely about technique, not how many pull-ups you can do. Rock climbing engages your body and forces you to use all of your muscles especially your arm, leg and core muscles which are problem areas for most people. Wondering where you can rock climb in the big city? No problem, start at an indoor climbing facility—with the growing popularity of the sport, you’ll find climbing walls at many YMCAs, health clubs, and even universities. You can also check out GirlTrek, a non-profit organization that supports our women’s efforts to stay active. http://frugivoremag.com 164

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Angela Auset E. Baker Holistic Healer 165

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Angela Auset E. Baker is a Holistic Health Practitioner, Biologist, Herbalist, and Educator of the Holistic Sciences. She is a force in raising awareness and spawning positive action in the realms of healing the human form through vegetarianism and all that is 'of the earth'. “During my younger ages of 18-21, I had my own battles with ill health ranging from fibroids, ovarian cysts, & kidney issues. I adopted a vegan lifestyle, and learned of earth’s natural plant remedies to further assist the body in healing itself. After a year and a half of ingesting natural foods and herbs regularly, I successfully eradicated ALL forms of female disorders once residing in my temple. This spawned me to “live my making” as a healer, for other women and the world at large,” she says passionately. Angela has accumulated close to a decade worth of knowledge in the fields of holistic nutrition, veganism, energy healing, herbal remedies, biology, chemistry and plant sciences. She attained her B.S. in Forensics minoring in Biology from Virginia Commonwealth University and is currently a candidate for her Masters Degree in both Biology and Plant Science. Under tutelage of holistic practitioner and MD Dr. Llaila O. Afrika, Angela obtained her certification as a Holistic Health Consultant, Advanced Natural Wellness Practitioner and Reiki II Energy Healer. In 2010, Angela created her company (www.GoddessBodyDetox.com) Goddess Body Wellness to provide Women's Holistic Health and Fitness Classes, Herbal Cleansing (Detoxing), Holistic Services (i.e. Reiki, reflexology, assessments, etc.) and Educational Classes in various sciences from a holistic perspective.

166

Urban Professional Lifestyle


The Goddess Body Detox® is a new revolutionary 100% Herbal Based Wellness Product for women. The wondrous benefits include:             

more resilient skin & Flawless complexion; weight (waste) reduction releasing any where from 5-35 pounds; Physical Goddess 'Hour-Glass' Shape; A Sense of 'FEARLESSNESS' in all you attempt to accomplish enhanced energy levels & clearer sense of feeling & thinking; more positive outlook on life, enhanced willpower; enhanced immunity throughout the year; mental/emotional ‘weight’ lifted from you; more normalized and regulated body functions (from blood pressure, cholesterol, breathing,etc.); regularity of bowel movements; eradication of cravings (especially sugar, junk food, etc.); Enhanced & heightened Vibrational Frequencies; improved & enhanced circulation; improved & enhanced libido and much much more!

These Detoxes can be purchased at www.GoddessBodyDetox.com

167

Urban Professional Lifestyle


In January 2012, she is also launching academy “The Holistic Academy LLC” (www.TheHolisticAcademy.org0 an online holistic health that will serve as an online educational resource center for the entire family. “It will be a place where one can take classes and become certified in herbology, as an holistic health consultant, numerology counselor etc. We will offer tutoring in all levels of math & science, hold FREE online seminars, Live fitness classes, and offer a host of healing services online or in person in Richmond VA. ,” she says.

168

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Meatless Mondays: Warm Up The New Year with This Hearty Rosemary Sweet Potato with Pecans Soup By Kristin Braswell

169

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Friends, winter is here, which means many things: one of those being soup, the other being hibernation. The cliché saying is true. Soup, especially when homemade, is good for the soul. There’s just something about cuddling up to a warm bowl of it and instantly feeling warm and relaxed. I turn to this recipe at least once a month during the colder months. It’s full of the antioxidants and vitamins needed to keep your immune system strong, and most importantly, it’s tastier than that canned stuff. This recipe makes 4 servings. Enjoy, and stay warm. Sweet potatoes meet fresh rosemary in this marriage of sweet and savory. The blended result is topped with cinnamon and pecans. Ingredients      

2 cups of sweet potatoes 4 cups of vegetable broth 2 tbsp. of butter 2 tbsp. of olive oil 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary 1 tsp. of cinnamon

2-3 minced cloves of garlic  Salt and pepper to taste  3 shallots, thinly sliced 

170

Urban Professional Lifestyle


½ cup of pecans Directions 

1. In a stockpot, heat olive and oil and butter. 2. Add shallots and garlic over low heat. 3. Season with salt and pepper. 4. Add sweet potatoes and chicken stock, then bring to a boil until the sweet potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. 5. Add rosemary and lower the heat. 6. Add ingredients to a blender, pureeing until smooth. 7. For extra flavor, add pecans and cinnamon.

171

Urban Professional Lifestyle


172

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Magazine

173

Urban Professional Lifestyle


How Radio Personality Angela Yee Dug Herself Out of Debt By Janee Bolden

174

Urban Professional Lifestyle


As co-host for New York’s Power 105 FM’s popular Breakfast Club, Angela Yee is one of the most listened to voices in morning radio. A graduate of Wesleyan University, she majored in English and held numerous media-related positions—ranging from corporate consulting to artist management—before finding her niche as a media personality. But along with the public notoriety came expensive shopping habits that landed Yee nearly $30,000 in debt. Much wiser about her finances; the media maven shares with BlackEnterprise.com how she beat the credit card crunch and learned to better manage her money. You’ve had great success in your first year at Power 105, but came from a management and consulting background. What lessons did you learn in switching career paths? I’ve quit a job one time because I was going to make more money somewhere else and I was miserable [at the new job]. I really did like the job I quit, but I was looking at it like, “Well, I’m going to go here and make more money.” Sometimes, in the long run, it’s best to make less money, which is what I did when I left working at a clothing line to go work at Shade 45. I wasn’t happy where I was working and I took a crazy $30K pay cut to start all over at Sirius where I made way less. What impact did that pay cut have on your quality of life? That’s probably where the debt started from, having so many bills that I had to pay. I worked the first month without getting paid because it was a probation period to see if it was going to work because I had never done radio [at the time], so they definitely took 175

Urban Professional Lifestyle


advantage of me. It was a struggle for me for so long but the next year I got a $20K raise and a bonus and I got a raise every year afterwards. I think sometimes you do have to go backwards to get further in the big picture. Now I make more than double what I made at Sirius. Is that when you started to manage your money better? If I didn’t get this job at Power 105 I would still be in debt. Being in debt is a depressing thing. Right now it’s amazing to me that I can go out and buy what I want and still be able to save and now I’m saving to buy a house. That’s a realistic thing for me, before it wasn’t even something I could fathom happening. I have a good base going and I feel good about it. How bad did it get before you got your finances back on track? The most I ever owed was about $30,000 in credit card debt. I’ve never been at a $0 [balance], but that was the most I ever owed. A lot of that was from being a manager and having to pay for rooms and flights. It was taking forever to get reimbursed and it definitely piles up.

What are some of the steps you took to get out of debt? Usually they say you should pay off your most expensive bills first, but what I did was paid off the small bills first to get them out of the way. A lot of those were store cards because I have a Neiman Marcus card, I have a Saks card, I have a Bloomingdales card, etc… Those were just little bills, like a thousand dollars or so each and they had the highest interest rates. It made it easier for me to get those out of the way. I also have three American Express cards. After paying off the store cards, I paid off two of them first and then the one that had the highest balance was paid last, but I stopped using all of my cards and that was the only one I would use. So it was really only one bill I had to pay and that was the one with the lowest rate. What are some of the things you do now to avoid getting back in the same situation? As far as clothing, it took me a long time to get the hang of it, but now instead of buying something I’m only going to wear once I’ll borrow clothes and return them. You’re wearing it one time [for a public appearance], why would you want to buy something you can’t wear again because you’ve been photographed in it? If I wear something I’ll tweet about it so [the brand] gets some attention. 176

Urban Professional Lifestyle


A lot of my other bills aren’t that bad, my rent isn’t too bad, my car payment isn’t too crazy—I lease a BMW 328ix and my payment is $520 monthly. I don’t even want to tell you what I pay for rent, because it’s so affordable. I’ve been living in the same apartment in [Brooklyn] for six years. My apartment is so spacious and comfortable, and once I could I really invested in getting nice pieces of furniture that were quality and would last. Do you find that it’s better to invest in practical items for the home over fashion and accessories? My desk was expensive but it could last forever and I got it when it was on sale. I pay attention to when stores have their big sales at the end of the year or holidays so I’ll wait until a time like that to purchase. My mattress was also an expensive Stearns & Foster pillowtop mattress but I’ve had it for seven or eight years and it’s still great. You don’t have to get all great furniture all at once but it is a great investment to buy things that will last for decades. Cheap furniture will always break. What would be your biggest piece of advice for anyone struggling with debt? It’s never too late to fix your financial situation, it’s never too late to fix your credit. My attitude has always been that there are certain things that I like and I know I want and I know I have to work hard if I want to be able to afford the things I enjoy and appreciate. I’m not saying it’s the right thing to do and everybody should feel that way but it’s always worked for me. I’ve always said, “Okay, you know what, I want this,” and there’s times I couldn’t get it and I always told myself, “I’m going to work as hard as I can to afford the things I want to afford,” and it’s always worked for me. What would you say is your most important investment? Your education is always your top investment. Your retirement plan is a great investment and something you don’t even miss and I’ve also been donating money to charity. I just did that recently. I donated to Prep for Prep, which is a program I was in when I was younger and I always wanted to donate. I do a lot of events for Dress for Success and that’s also a write-off. Anytime I can donate my time there’s a few things I do a couple times a month. It’s a write-off but it’s also a good thing to give back to your community. www.blackenterprise.com

177

Urban Professional Lifestyle


7 Signs that You are a Woman Behaving Wealthy By Robin A. Young 178

Urban Professional Lifestyle


As 2012 begins, you are probably reflecting on different facets of your life and may even be drafting a plan to make improvements. In fact, you may be making a renewed commitment to get your financial life in order this year. If financial independence is your goal, let me suggest the following quick assessment to get you started on your journey to wealth. Grab your purse and answer these seven questions to assess whether you are a woman behaving wealthy. 1. How many different credit cards do you have in your wallet? Count the number of credit cards (exclude your debit cards). If you have more than one credit card, then you are likely overspending and incurring debt. Debt is the enemy of wealth and financial independence. By spending tomorrow’s money today, you are giving up your future freedom. On the other hand, financial freedom is built from consistently spending less than you earn. Thus, a woman behaving wealthy spends on the basis of what is important and pleasurable to her on her current income. Are you on the road to achieving wealth? 2. What is the value of your purse and its contents? Add up the value of your purse and its contents. For example, if your purse costs $500, your smart phone costs $350, your wallet costs $200, your cosmetics cost $250, and your iPad costs $750, then the value of your purse and its contents is $2,050. Now, ask yourself if you have invested that amount into savings or retirement accounts over the last month? In this example, if you have invested at least $2,050 in the last 30 days, then you are building wealth. 3. Is your cash organized by denomination and facing the same way? Open your wallet or purse and look at how your cash is organized. Cash arranged orderly is characteristic of a person whose financial life is organized. However, cash bills in disarray reflect a disorganized financial life. As you know, focusing through clutter and chaos is difficult. Be a woman behaving wealthy and organize your cash, financial files, documents, and accounts. 179

Urban Professional Lifestyle


4. Do you have an up-to-date daily, weekly, or monthly to-do list in your purse? Whether you maintain your to-do list in a traditional day planner or in an electronic gadget is not important. What is essential is that you have a plan for what you would like to achieve. A current to-do list reflects that you have identified, quantified, and prioritized your financial goals. Researchers have proven that you are 45% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. Are you on the road to achieving your goals? 5. Do you have protection plans on the electronic devices in your purse? Protection plans protect you from loss or malfunction of your gadgets. Let’s say that you lost your $300 smart phone and you need to replace it. With a protection plan, you have the option of receiving a free replacement or one for small fee. Protecting your gadgets is analogous to protecting your assets. Everyday, you face innumerable risks and, thus, some degree of risk exposure. A woman behaving wealthy protects her assets – loved ones, income, health, and property. 6. Do you have an emergency card in your purse? An emergency card details your healthcare emergency names and numbers (e.g., hospital, doctor, dentist, pharmacy, health insurance plan, insurance policy). It also holds your family’s contact information (e.g., spouse’s, parent’s, and kid’s contact numbers) in case of an accident. The best time to prepare for an emergency is before it happens. If you have an emergency card, then you have taken steps to create a preparedness kit. Women behaving wealthy are also prepared for the occurrence of other unfortunate instances. Have you selected a custodial and financial guardian to care for your children in case a tragedy befalls you? A woman behaving wealthy has a plan in place that protects her loved ones in the event of misfortune. 7. Are your receipts and important papers (in your purse) organized by category? The receipts and important documents in your purse can represent additional income and savings for you if you apply them to decrease your taxes. Many purchases are potential deductions from and credits to income taxes. By consistently categorizing the expenditures you make that are potential deductions and credits, you are employing taxreduction strategies to increase your income or wealth. Taxes are another detour on the wealth-building journey, as they erode your investing power. A woman behaving 180

Urban Professional Lifestyle


wealthy has the objective of retaining as much income as possible, which can then be redirected to more savings. After Peeking in Your Purse, are you a woman behaving wealthy? Congratulations are in order if your answers to six or seven of the above items indicate you are on the journey to wealth! However, if your purse audit suggested that you aren’t quite on your desired road to financial independence, don’t worry! Take action today and transform your financial life by completing Women Behaving Wealthy’s FREE Wealth Assessment at www.womenbehavingwe althy.com. Dream it. Plan it. Live it. Wealthy Women are rarely born that way. Most wealth is created. Robin A. Young creates Wealthy Women. It is Robin’s mission to educate and empower women to embody the necessary habits that create wealthy lives. Hence, Women Behaving Wealthy™ was born. Over Robin’s 12-year career as a Wall Street executive and financial advisor, she has adeptly integrated her academic training and investing experience with sound financial principles and a unique customized approach. This approach has allowed her to successfully manage the portfolios of over 500 millionaires and hundreds of other investors. Are you a Woman of Power? Then Join us for the annual Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit hosted by State Farm, Feb. 15–18, 2012, at The Ritz-Carlton, Orlando, FL. This exciting, executive leadership summit is your chance to focus on YOU. Network with industry leaders, learn career strategies, find work-life balance, and start creating—and living—the life you really want! Register now and use code DGED12to receive a $200 discount off the price of registration! www.blackenterprise.com

181

Urban Professional Lifestyle


business

182

Urban Professional Lifestyle


John Rogers’ Ariel Investments LLC Launches International Funds By Sandra Hughes Ariel Investments LLC, has earned its golden reputation on domestic stocks, and now the company will launch two international funds, Ariel International Equity Fund, ticker symbol AINTX; and Ariel Global Equity Fund, ticker symbol AGLOX. “We want to own the ‘blue chips’ of tomorrow and are willing to go anywhere in the world to find these gems,” said Rupal Bhansali, senior vice president and chief investment officer of International Equities, who will manage the funds from New York. Bhansali hails from MacKay Shields and has a 10-year track record of managing portfolios for that company. Rupal earned a Bachelor of Commerce in accounting and finance, and a Master of Commerce in international finance and banking from the University of Mumbai, as well as an MBA in finance from the University of Rochester where she was a Rotary Foundation Scholar. The funds are no-load, which means that there is no commission fee or transaction cost involved in the purchase. Thus, if you invested $5,000 in a no-load fund, the total $5,000 works for you. A load fund does involve a transaction fee or commission, and that percentage would be deducted from the amount that would work for you. In addition, both funds will include an institutional share class at reduced rates for pension funds and affluent individuals. The Ariel International Equity fund will invest in emerging and developing markets outside of America; the Ariel Global Equity Fund will invest in America and in emerging and developing companies globally. John W. Rogers Jr. is chairman, CEO and chief investment officer of the multibilliondollar firm, Ariel Capital Management. The Princeton graduate is widely respected as one of the most successful entrepreneurs and financial experts of his generation.

183

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Rogers said previously that black families have yet to feel the end of the recession because, generally speaking, blacks bypass the stock market — where wealth is created — and instead, invest in their homes. “We’re still not investing in equities in the stock market, we have more of our wealth in the housing market, and the housing market got hit by a recession and therefore we took a bigger hit than white Americans — who are still more heavily invested in the stock market,” Rogers says. “Research shows that African Americans are not as comfortable in the stock market; not as comfortable with starting a 401(k) plan at work; and we are not compounding our money.” www.rolliningout.com

184

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Mayweather calls out Pacquiao for May By Dan Rafael

185

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Floyd Mayweather Jr. could not be any clearer about the opponent he wants to fight on May 5 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Mayweather wants Manny Pacquiao -- at least, if you are to believe his tweets on Tuesday afternoon. Several hours after tweeting a photo of a betting slip from a Las Vegas casino for a $400,000 win on Monday night's Allstate BCS Championship Game, Mayweather sent out two tweets calling out and antagonizing Pacquiao. “ Manny Pacquiao I'm calling you out let's fight May 5th and give the world what they want to see. �-- Floyd Mayweather Jr., on Twitter "Manny Pacquiao I'm calling you out let's fight May 5th and give the world what they want to see," read Mayweather's first tweet. One minute later, Mayweather followed with this: "My Jail Sentence was pushed back because the date was locked in. Step up Punk." Mayweather was due to report to the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas last Friday to begin an 87-day sentence. He pleaded guilty to a reduced battery domestic violence charge and no contest to two harassment charges, stemming from a hair-pulling, punching and arm-twisting argument with his exgirlfriend in front of two of their children. However, Mayweather's attorney successfully argued that the sentence should be delayed until June 1 so he could fulfill a contractual obligation for a fight at the MGM Grand, which he estimated would pour more than $100 million into the ailing Las Vegas economy. Leonard Ellerbe, one of Mayweather's advisers, told ESPN.com that Mayweather was serious about calling out Pacquiao. "You heard him," Ellerbe said, noting that Mayweather is personally responsible for the content of the tweets sent from his verified account. 186

Urban Professional Lifestyle


So Mayweather is now free until June 1 and intends to fight May 5. However, he is without a dance partner. The two names most often mentioned as potential opponents are junior middleweight titlist Saul "Canelo" Alvarez -- who is one division above Mayweather, the welterweight titlist -- and lightweight Robert Guerrero, who is two divisions below. Alvarez and Guerrero are being named as likely opponents because they would be fairly easy deals to make. They are both promoted by Golden Boy, which has served as Mayweather'sde facto promoter in recent years, promoting his last five bouts even though they do not have a formal promotional contract. However, a fight between Mayweather and fellow welterweight champion and poundfor-pound star Pacquiao looms as the biggest fight in the sport -- and likely the richest fight in boxing history. There seems to be no legitimate impediment to making the match for May 5, although Top Rank's Bob Arum, Pacquiao's promoter, has not seemed interested. When Mayweather was supposed to go to jail last week, Arum talked about Pacquiao fighting on May 5 to take the spot of Mayweather. The next day, when Mayweather's sentence was delayed, Arum said Pacquiao would probably have to fight in June, blaming that on a cut Pacquiao suffered in his November majority decision win against Juan Manuel Marquez as the reason -- even though a cut taking more than six months to heal is unheard of. Arum is in the Philippines this week, meeting with Pacquiao to talk about his next opponent. But the list of possible opponents Arum cited did not include Mayweather. Rather, it includes a rematch with junior middleweight titlist Miguel Cotto, whom Pacquiao stopped in the 12th round of a 2009 welterweight title bout; Marquez, for a fourth time; or a fight with junior welterweight titleholders Lamont Peterson or Timothy Bradley Jr. 187

Urban Professional Lifestyle


After Mayweather's sentence was delayed, Arum said he was not interested in talking to Pacquiao about fighting Mayweather in May. "We're fighting in June, one of the four guys," Arum told ESPN.com last week. "My mission is to go over to the Philippines and talk about these four guys. If Manny feels he wants to go in May, he will tell me. I want to make sure Manny's cuts are healed. We won't fall under this kind of pressure. June is much more likely for Manny's fight, not May." Arum also said he was concerned that Mayweather might not be licensed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission with a conviction hanging over his head and jail time slated for June. "I don't even know if Mayweather will be licensed before he serves his time," Arum said. Although Mayweather is likely to be ordered to a hearing before the commission because of his conviction before it will license him for a May 5 fight, it is likely the commission will license him. After all, the judge in Mayweather's criminal case was swayed by the economic impact of a Mayweather fight on the Las Vegas economy as one of the reasons for the delay. It is hard to imagine the commission, all political appointees, denying Mayweather a license for a fight that would bring the local economy millions of dollars. www.espn.com

188

Urban Professional Lifestyle


"Big" Frank Washington, a high-flying 6-foot-5-inch center, was a member of the first Harlem Globetrotter team to trek around the world in 1952. He played with the Globetrotters from 1946 to 1960 and traveled on six world tours with such historic Globetrotters as William "Pop" Gates, Marques Haynes, Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton and Reece "Goose" Tatum. During World War II, Washington volunteered for the U.S. Navy, where his basketball career flourished and he was discovered by Globetrotters founder Abe Saperstein. During his journeys with the Globetrotters, Washington had two audiences with the Pope, met kings and queens, and appeared in two Globetrotter movies. Washington received his “Legends� Ring during a special ceremony on March 16, 2002, in his native Philadelphia.

189

Urban Professional Lifestyle


Magazine

190

Urban Professional Lifestyle

VOICE Magazine JANUARY 2012 ISSUE  

The digital destination for today's African American Urban Professional.

Advertisement