Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's Chef Jeff!

Chef Jeff Henderson (center) with Baltimore resident Kevin (left) and Aaron McCargo, Jr., the Next Food Network Star Season 4 winner at the Baltimore Book Festival, September 28, 2008

The Baltimore Book Festival was held this past weekend that featured many exhibits, literary salons and author signings. One of the authors who participated this year was Chef Jeff Henderson, writer of the New York Times bestseller, Cooked: From the Streets to the Stove, from Cocaine to Foie Gras.
For those of you who aren't familiar with Jeff's story, the memoir chronicles his rise from a ten year federal prison sentence for drug dealing to become the first African American chef named "Chef de Cuisine" at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. You could say that his prison sentence gave him a new start - cooking. He was assigned the task of dishwashing which gave him an inside look in the prison kitchen where he watched the inmates cook meals. He decided that upon his release from prison, he would become a chef. Through determination, he worked his way up from being a dishwasher to become a cook at some of LA's best restaurants.

Chef Jeff understands firsthand the hardships that our youth face today. During his cooking demonstration at the book festival (he made corn chowder with crabmeat!), he excitedly talked about his upcoming reality show, The Chef Jeff Project, that will premiere on the Food Network in October.

He shared that when the cable channel contacted him about creating his own show, he could have sold kitchen supplies or hosted his own cooking program, but Jeff told the executives, "I want to make a difference, I want to give back".

In the reality show, Chef Jeff takes six at-risk young adults and puts them to work in his catering company, Posh Urban Cuisine. He arms them with the knowledge, the skills and, ultimately, the opportunity for a new life with a culinary career. He also serves as a public speaker and mentor for many youth, especially those in juvenile detention centers. In the photo above with Jeff is Kevin, a young man who wishes to become a photographer. Last year, when Jeff heard this, he went to the nearest ATM and withdrew the maximum of $300 to give to Kevin's caseworker so he could purchase a camera. Also in the audience was Aaron McCargo, Jr., winner of the Food Network's Next Food Network Star, Season 4. His show, Big Daddy's House has been renewed for 13 episodes beginning in January 2009.

Besides his new reality show, Chef Jeff's upcoming projects include his cookbook, Chef Jeff Cooks: In the Kitchen with America's Inspirational New Culinary Star, which will be available beginning October 7th and a movie! He shared that actor Will Smith has bought the rights to his book Cooked, which will be made into a motion picture.

The Chef Jeff Project premieres on October 12th, 10pm/9 central on the Food Network.
On the web:

Monday, September 29, 2008

Ballin' With Books Literary Campaign

The Mississippian who brought the world Conversations Book Club, Hiphop and Books literacy campaign and Art, Books and Beats is ready to introduce another exciting literary campaign: "Ballin' With Books"! "Ballin' With Books" is the new brainchild of award-winning book club president and nationally recognized spoken word artist Cyrus A. Webb, and like his other projects, it will begin with a bang!

Created to encourage reading among lovers of sports---especially the youth---the online book club will connect sports enthusiasts with books and players who are sharing their stories through the written word. "I just want to get everyone reading," says Webb,33. "It doesn't matter what their interests, our organization has shown that there is something out there for everyone, including those who love sports." Webb will introduce the project with an exclusive interview with NBA great/Olympic Gold Medalist Alonzo Mourning! He is the author of the new book RESILIENCE: Faith, Focus, Triumph--- a book that chronicles his highs and lows as well as the life-threatening disease that threatened to silence him forever.

Alonzo's book will be available in bookstores everywhere on Tuesday, September 30, 2008. Exactly one week later, on Tuesday, October 7, 2008, he will be a guest on Conversations LIVE! at 12p.m. CST to discuss the book and answer your questions before anyone else! To listen to the show live, simply visit http://www.blogtalkradio.com/conversationslive . The online chat room will be open and the call-in number to join the discussion by phone is 1.347.426.3645. Podcast of the show will be available later for free downloading.

Other authors/sports figures that teamed up with Webb and "Ballin' With Books" include John Ed Bradley, Jack Cavanaugh, Kenny Mayne and Robert C. Gallagher, whose book "The Express: The Ernie Davis Story" is now a major motion picture! "I am glad that they have seen my vision and want to help me expand it," says Webb. He is hoping that other athletes and high schools and colleges will also join his coalition to push reading among their fans/participants as well.
Conversations Book Club and "Ballin' With Books" wish to thank Random House for helping to jumpstart this new initiative. To see who else will be partnering with Webb in his new literary endeavor, visit http://www.ballinwithbooks.com/. For more information, contact Cyrus A. Webb at cawebb4@juno.com or 601.896.5616.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Community Events & In The News

The Warrick Dunn Foundation's 6th Annual Gala:

The Warrick Dunn Foundation is holding its Sixth Annual Gala, October 13, 2008 at the Westin in Buckhead, Atlanta, 7 p.m. Dunn will be joined by former and current NFL teammates and friends for a star-studded night with one goal in mind – to raise money for a worthy cause while having a night to remember. Dunn is pictured in the photo on the right, at his 2007 gala event.

The Foundation event is open to the public and will include musical performances, a live and silent auction (including a Super Bowl XLII package), Macy’s Fashion Extravaganza and much more. Event sponsors include Aaron’s Sales and Lease, Macy’s, The Pepsi Bottling Group, Grey Goose, 7 For All Mankind, Peachtree TV, V-103 The People’s Station and 92.9 davefm.

Established in 2002, the Foundation is dedicated to providing opportunities for economically-disadvantaged single parents and children who have demonstrated a commitment to achieve financial independence and stability.

Prior to the creation of his Foundation, Dunn started HOMES FOR THE HOLIDAYS in 1997 as a tribute to his mother, a Baton Rouge police officer, who was killed in the line of duty. As a single mother of six, Betty Smothers worked tirelessly to achieve the American dream of owning her own home; however, she was never able to realize that dream.

Through Homes for the Holidays, Dunn has been able to honor her memory. To date, the program has assisted 78 single parents and 205 children and dependents to achieve first-time homeownership in Tampa and Tallahassee, Fla; Atlanta, Ga and Dunn's hometown of Baton Rouge, La. In 2007, the program expanded its efforts to include single-fathers.

For additional information and to purchase tickets visit http://www.warrickdunnfoundation.org/ {Thanks Ashley}

Another NFL player in the news helping families achieve the homeownership dream is Jarvis Green, a native of Donaldsonville, LA and player for the New England Patriots. Today at 11 am in New Orleans, Green will visit a family that received $25,000 from the Jarvis Green Foundation to purchase a new home after their old home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. The mission of Green's foundation is to provide income support to single working mothers with at least 2 children that has experienced a loss. For more information, visit www.jarvisgreen.com/foundation.asp.

::In The News::
The NY Times article 'An Urban Farmer Is Rewarded for His Dream' highlights farmer Will Allen, a 2008 recipient of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's $500,000 Genius Fellowship. Allen's Growing Power organization grows fresh affordable meat, produce and fish in the Milwaukee and Chicago areas - areas in which the article states " the only access to food is corner grocery stories filled with beer, cigarettes and processed foods." A quote from the article:

“I am a farmer first, and I love to grow food for people,” Mr. Allen said. “But it’s also about growing power. We grow relationships first; otherwise, nothing else makes sense. The movement I am part of is growing food and justice, and to make sure that everyone in the world has access to healthy food.”

In addition to his organization's main headquarters in Milwaukee, other locations include a garden at the Cabrini-Green housing project and urban farms in Grant and Jackson Parks in Chicago. Read full article here. Photo: Darren Hauck for The New York Times

Earvin 'Magic' Johnson with Nicole Garnier-Cosme (left) and Morris Reid of Westin Rinehart (right), at the launch of Magic Workforce Solutions on September 23, 2008 in NYC. Magic Workforce Solutions is a staffing service for companies committed to building a diverse workforce. On the web: http://www.magicworkforcesolutions.com/


In the current issue of GOOD, an online and print magazine, writer Adam Matthews profiles Ward Connerly and his state-by-state campaign to end racial quotas in higher education. Discover why this black man born in the Jim Crow South is crusading to end affirmative action. And while his critics accuse him of trying to “resegregate higher education in America”, his supporters praise him for championing the idea of a post-racial society. Read article here.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Young Nigerian Philanthropist Pens Motivational Journal

Via press release: Accepting the challenge of a lifetime, Olusegun "Sheg" Aranmolate, a contestant from the ABC reality show "Oprah's Big Give" has released the first volume of a motivational series book, iACTUATE: 100 Days of Inspiration, a daily devotional for 100 days. Each day is linked to an inspirational quote and a set of checklists used to inspire the spirit of readers.

Sharing lessons learned from his personal journey, Aranmolate highlights how inspiration is found by enjoying the simplicity of life. To be truly inspired by life is really not a big secret. Understanding that despite the amount of turbulence in the world, there are still many compassionate people and inspirational things to look forward to in life. iACTUATE: 100 days of Inspiration is a 240-page daily devotional filled with famous quotes coupled with life encounters. Each page is supplied with simple life changing activities that strengthen the mind and the body.

Aranmolate came to the United States in July 2001 by way of Lagos, Nigeria. He is considered to be a well respected motivational writer and prolific speaker and he is recognized as a philanthropist and an activist. He is also a fashion model, the co- founder of the Aranmolate Foundation for Deformed Children and the founder of the Inspivia. He has obtained a Bachelors degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, a minor in Psychology and a Masters degree in Applied Molecular Biology all before age 23. In 2008, Aranmolate or "Sheg" was introduced on the TV show "Oprah's Big Give" and became one of the top five contestants. The reality series was a competition to improve the lives of others with no knowledge of any personal monetary gain.

Drawing upon his dedication to service, the Big Give finalist completed the show with a renewed purpose to impact the lives of others, an important lesson he first learned while growing up in Nigeria.

The motivational journal encourages readers to develop their own unique philosophies of life so that they may become ambassadors of goodwill to all. iACTUATE: 100 Days of Inspiration is available for purchase online from all major book retailers including Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Photo and source: urbane imagery

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Shaun Livingston Foundation Kicks Off with "Get A Cue" All Star Celebrity Billiards Tournament

Lil’ Eazy E, son of late rapper Eazy E, and NBA player Shaun Livingston at the “Get A Cue” kick off event.

On Thursday, September 18, 2008, NBA player Shaun Livingston officially kicked off his Shaun Livingston Foundation with an all star celebrity billiards tournament at Yankee Doodle Billiards in Santa Monica, CA.

Shaun Livingston was a first round draft pick for the L.A. Clippers straight out of high school in Peoria, IL. Not too long after, he founded the Shaun Livingston Foundation in 2007 as the “fulfillment of my goal to give back.”

According to the foundation website, the mission is to enrich the lives of underserved children, providing them with an environment of success in an effort to build stronger communities. This will be accomplished by creating and supporting programs for youth that focus on character building, academic excellence, physical and mental health, volunteerism, career planning and leadership.

Shaun shared that this event was very special to him for many reasons, and one of them was that this event has been a year in the making. Rachel Seward, the Foundation’s director shared, “Education, leadership, building the community and relationships are just a few of the goals that this event will help with for at risk Los Angeles youth.”

Shaun with television personality Omarosa; and actress Shanti Lowry
Among the celebrities in attendance included television personality Omarosa (Apprentice), Vida Guerra (Model), Shanti Lowry (The Game), D. Woods (Danity Kane), actress Sean Young (Gone Country), Kim Glass (USA Olympic Volleyball team), Joyful Drake (Beauty Shop), Mekhi Phifer (ER), Ezra "Buddha" Masters (I Love NY), Tequan Richmond (Everybody Hates Chris), and Marcus Paulk (Moesha) who took home the first place trophy.

Actress Joyful Drake

NBA player Jordan Farmer

Guests enjoyed hors d'oeuvres, a seafood buffet that never ended, an open bar, assorted desserts to die for, and a smoothie machine that created a wonderful ambiance for 350 invites and 60+ VIP guests. Others that worked behind the scenes to make the event a success are foundation co-founder Arthur Jones, volunteers from ‘Get It Girl’ and publicist Neeta Wooten of Ideal PR who was in a million places at one time in high heels making sure everyone was well taken care of.
Shaun shared, “I wanted to host our foundation kick-off with a fun venue for a cause that is near and dear to my heart – creating an environment of success for our youngsters. It’s a chance to meet the community and raise awareness for the foundation”.
Foundation Director Rachel Seward, Shaun, and publicist Neeta Wooten, Ideal PR
For more information about the Shaun Livingston Foundation, visit www.shaunlivingstonfoundation.org.

Photos: Wireimage

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

::Community Event: Experience Aviation::

Barrington Irving, the pilot who set two world records in June, 2007 to become the youngest pilot and the first person of African descent to fly solo around the globe, is about to make history again! See below for details:

See previous post on Barrington here.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Book of Role Models Aims to Inspire Youth

Last week, I interviewed a successful African American male business owner for an online magazine. He has surpassed many obstacles, including a stay in the foster care system as a teenager. Today, he operates a successful franchise and is the owner of a real estate company. In addition to asking him about his life growing up and the absence of his biological father and the impact it had on him, I asked him his thoughts on the staggering drop out rate in the black community. His response?

He said that once black professionals “make it” they forget about their community and where they came from – that they’re too busy in their ‘cliques’ to help one another out. He passionately shared, [and I’m paraphrasing] “Where are the professionals in the community that our black youth can look up to? Of course we have fire fighters and policemen, but where are the lawyers, doctors and other professionals? Why don’t they come back to the inner city schools and share their story of success? Why don’t they adopt a classroom for a year?”

He summed it up by sharing that many of the youth who drop out don’t have role models to look up to - something to aspire to – and that’s critical if we’re going to solve this crisis.

His suggestion of black professionals adopting urban classrooms is indeed a novel idea. If you’re a teacher residing in the Peoria, Illinois area and are looking for black professionals to adopt your classroom, you’re in luck.

Rita Ali, the Executive Director of Diversity at Illinois Central College has published the book, Role Models: Profiles of Successful African-American Professionals in Peoria, Illinois. This book contains profiles of 126 professionals from judges to lawyers and teachers to successful business men and women. They share their stories in hopes to inspire today’s youth.

Sure, this book is a great idea, but I became even more excited when I read that many of those profiled have agreed to serve as role models in some way.

Snippets from the article by Dave Haney via pjstar.com:

The 268-page book highlights several who work for Caterpillar Inc., the city of Peoria, four judges, lots of doctors, an artist, several in the medical field, teachers and professors. Each individual shares a little about his occupation, personal life, his influences or inspiration, accomplishments and community involvement. The subjects also offer a bit of career advice.
There's executive directors, vice presidents of companies, department heads, managers and coaches. Combined, their annual salaries total more than $12 million. There's many names that are recognizable among the community and several that are not.
Among the common links most of the 126 contributors share is having some sort of mentor, a caring adult, “someone who they looked up to,” Ali said.

[Bold emphasis mine] As one profiled in the book put it, "there's kids who say they don't have a positive role model in their home, in their neighborhood or in their life; their role models are those in (professional sports) - the untouchables," Ali recalled, "but these people - these role models - live right here in the community.
What's more, many of those profiled in the book have offered to serve as a role model in some way, either for the short-term or long-term, Ali said. "The book is serving as the hook-up," a vehicle to bridge the gap of need of the children and what the mentors can provide.”

The book will be available at Illinois Central College bookstore starting September 25th for $20. All proceeds will benefit youth programs in the Peoria area.

Photo: pjstar.com

Friday, September 19, 2008

Alton Jamison: Against All Odds

Alton Jamison is a man on a mission. The mission? To reach as many youth as he can with his message of teaching real methods to help young people overcome real problems. Alton knows what those real problems are – he has experienced them firsthand as a young boy growing up in a single parent household as his father spent most of his life in and out of prison. In spite of this, he has developed the belief that he is bigger and better than his environment.

As an award-winning professional speaker who delivers his message of youth empowerment in his home state of Virginia and across the country, he is also an entrepreneur. Alton is the co-owner of the PCF Group, LLC, a real estate investment firm in the Hampton Roads, Virginia area. For youth who aspire to be entrepreneurs like him, Alton provides a workshop titled “Mind Your Own Business”, which offers six key principles of becoming an entrepreneur, being a dynamic leader, and the pros and cons of being a business owner to help to lay a foundation for anyone desiring to start their own business.

This is just one of the workshops that Alton offers for youth. His record of academic, leadership and entrepreneurial skills is evidenced in his passion is to help youth locate and develop those same skills within themselves.

Alton shares, “As a young man who has overcome numerous challenges in my life, I have a realistic understanding of what young people face. When I speak to youth, I speak to them from my heart because I want them to succeed and reach their dreams. There are many benefits to selecting me as a speaker, but the greatest benefit is that I know how to reach the hearts of young people and to help them take off the Mental Handcuffs.”

Mental Handcuffs is the title of his inspirational memoir which is currently in the works. Alton’s story is a message of hope, determination and motivation for those individuals who feel as though they have been “handcuffed” because of their past, statistics or their current situation. Alton’s simple, yet profound message of, “I Won’t…” instills the belief into people that there is nothing they cannot achieve and overcome.

For more information:

Alton Jamison
"Teaching Real Methods To Help Young People Overcome Real Problems"
Professional Speaker, Author and Success Coach

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

::Community Event: 'How Sweet The Sound' Gospel Competition::

St. Louis the First Stop of Verizon Wireless "How Sweet The Sound" Gospel Competition: In the photo above, members of the New Sunny Mount Missionary Baptist Church sing their selection during the 2008 Verizon Wireless 'How Sweet The Sound' search for the nation’s best church choir at the Scottrade Center, September 13, 2008 in St. Louis, Missouri.

Verizon Wireless is challenging church choirs from coast to coast in the company’s nationwide How Sweet The Sound Gospel choir competition. Expanding upon last year’s successful event in Memphis, Verizon Wireless is bringing GRAMMY®-winning songwriter, producer arranger and music director, Donald Lawrence to emcee at each of the 11 markets and the finale. Marvin Sapp, Hezekiah Walker and other gospel artists will join the competition as judges.

This year’s competition will span 11 cities nationwide and the winning choir will receive a cash prize up to $50,000 and the title of best church choir in America. A great event for the entire family! Upcoming cities are:

September 18: Newark, N.J. (Prudential Center)
September 20: Detroit (Joe Louis Arena)
September 23: Philadelphia (Wachovia Center)
September 26: Washington, D.C. (Verizon Center)
September 29: Chicago (United Center)
October 2: Memphis, Tenn. (FedExForum)
October 6: Houston (Toyota Center)
October 10: Oakland, Calif. (ORACLE Arena)
October 13: Los Angeles (LA Memorial Sports Arena)
FINALE: November 8: How Sweet the Sound Finale Concert in Atlanta

Tickets may be purchased at Ticketmaster (a great value!)

Photo by Bill Greenblatt/Getty Images for Verizon Wireless

{Thanks Judee}

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hip Hop Artists Join The Humane Society to Promote Anti-Dogfighting

Via press release: Top hip-hop artists Twista, EPMD and Mic Terror will perform an intimate concert to raise awareness and speak out against the cruelty of dogfighting on September 24, 2008 at the Metro in Chicago. During the show, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) will showcase its End Dogfighting in Chicago campaign through special appearances by the dogs and kids of its Pit Bull Training Team of Chicago.

Multi-platinum artist Twista partnered with the HSUS to support its effort to end dogfighting and shared, “For dogfighters to take advantage of the loyalty that dogs have toward humans and make them fight each other — often to the death — is not only cruel, but it is a tragedy.”

Tio Hardiman, special consultant to The HSUS’ national campaign to End Dogfighting shared, “We at The Humane Society of the United States are thrilled to see the hip hop community joining the effort to end dogfighting. Having such an influential facet of our society speak out against dogfighting serves as an incredibly valuable asset in the fight against this cruel blood sport.”

In 2006, The HSUS launched End Dogfighting in Chicago, a city-wide pilot program to combat street dogfighting. The End Dogfighting in Chicago campaign tackles dogfighting on several fronts:

Anti-Dogfighting Advocates— The HSUS hires young men with roots in the community to combat dogfighting on a grassroots level. In neighborhoods most impacted by this crime, they mediate with men and boys at risk of getting involved in dogfighting, and intervene in dogfights. Because they are respected community members, they can reach people others cannot.

Pit Bull Training Team — The HSUS holds free and accessible weekly pit bull training classes, which provide inspiring alternatives to dogfighting that showcase pit bulls as friends, not fighters.

Community Outreach — The HSUS holds events in the community to promote its anti-dogfighting message and develop trust in the community. Examples include vaccination clinics, dog house giveaways, rallies and religious leader outreach.

Law Enforcement Partnership — To fully eradicate street dogfighting, cops need to know what to look for. The HSUS partners with law enforcement, offering them training on catching dogfighting and providing a reward of up to $5,000 for tips leading to convictions.

Tickets are on sale now and available at metrochicago.com, the Metro box office and at the door on the night of the show. Doors will open at 8 p.m. and the show will begin at 9 p.m.

The event is produced by Masterplan Concepts, an organization dedicated to producing cause-related events. Executives Chad Brokaw and Rocco Giordano recently produced the J.A.M. Awards, an all star tribute to hip-hop pioneer Jam Master Jay. Performers included Snoop Dogg, De La Soul, Raekwon, LL Cool J, Mobb Deep, EPMD, Everlast and more. The event was sponsored by Adidas and raised money to support The Jam Master Jay Foundation for Music. For more information visit www.mstrpln.org.

{Thanks Chad}

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Swimming Gap Pt. II

In June, I featured a post on the swimming gap that highlighted the swimming disparity among African Americans. Since then, U.S. Olympic swimming star Cullen Jones has announced the Cullen Jones Diversity Tour, an effort to increase swimming among minority youth, and the Nile Club, the nation's first African American private swim club is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Via press release:

"The Nile Swim Club, the nation's first and only African-American-owned private swim club today announced that James O. Ellis III, nationally renowned swimming instructor and inspiration for the 2007 movie Pride, which starred actor Terrence Howard, will deliver the keynote address at its 50th Anniversary Gala on October 10, 2008. The event will be held at The Oaks Ballroom, 511 Oaks Lane, Glenolden, PA., at 6:30 pm.

Commenting on the Nile's 50th Anniversary, the organization's president, Thomas M. Gary, said, "It's about pride, history and core family values. Those are the only reasons this club has survived ... because of the people who want to see it prosper and grow and who, themselves, want to prosper and grow through its presence in the community."

The Nile Swim Club, based in the Philadelphia suburban borough of Yeadon, Pennsylvania, got its start in 1958 when African-American residents banded together to incorporate the swim club, acquire two acres of land and open the swimming pool in 1959, after being denied admission and membership to the racially exclusive, but now defunct, Yeadon Swim Club. Today, the club owns a 4.5 acre parcel of land and claims a membership of 210 families.

Ellis, a 37-year veteran swimming instructor and founder of the Philadelphia Department of Recreation Swim Club, is credited with training and developing more than 10 U.S. National Swim Team members."

The swim club is currently undergoing a $ 5 million capital expansion project that will include among other amenities, the construction of three heated pools, an 18-hole miniature golf course, a 150-seat banquet facility, a fitness center, and basketball and tennis courts.

The Cullen Jones Diversity Tour

Fresh off his victory from the U.S. Summer Olympics, freestyle swimming star Cullen Jones has announced his Diversity Tour, an effort to increase swimming among minority youth.

The website states that the goal of the tour is to "better serve participants on issues such as learning to swim, drowning prevention, swim team access, swimming as an alternate choice for athletic activities and excellence, health benefits of swimming, social environments that will foster friendships for a lifetime in swimming, increase self esteem and many other topics that are of the utmost importance to the Tour's founder, Cullen Jones."

Visit the tour website for more information and inquire how you can bring the tour to your community here.

Also, don't forget to vote for BlackGivesBack as 'Most Original Blog' at BlackTVOnline here!

Photo: Getty Images

Friday, September 12, 2008

Event: Evidence Dance Company Dinner Hosted by Hermes

On Friday, August 22, 2008, the luxury brand Hermes hosted a private, invitation only dinner for board members and special guests of Evidence, A Dance Company. Susan L. Taylor (left) of the National Cares Mentoring Movement, Bruce Gordon (center), former President of the NAACP, and author Terry McMillian (far right) were among the guests dining on a full raw bar followed by whole Maine lobsters with dill butter, chicken, shrimp, scallop paella and other delightful treats.

Evidence Board Chair and Booz Allen Hamilton Senior VP Reginald Van Lee, Katrina Peebles and real estate mogul Don Peebles of the Peebles Corporation

Reginald Van Lee with executives from Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts

The event was arranged by Diversity Affluence and the dinner took place at the Montauk Yacht Club. Other distinguished guests in attendance included Reggie Canal of HSBC, media personality Rene Syler and Joyce Mullins-Jackson.

See previous posts here and here.

Photo credit: Steve Zak

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Event: LeBron James Family Foundation Cocktail Party

David Lauren of Ralph Lauren, hip hop mogul Jay-Z and NBA star LeBron James share a hearty laugh at the cocktail party for the LeBron James Family Foundation hosted by Ralph Lauren and LeBron James in New York at the Ralph Lauren store, September 10, 2008.

Fellow NBA stars and celebrities came out to support the event, including Carmelo Anthony, model Veronica Webb and Chris Paul.

Dylan Lauren, David Lauren, Anna Wintour, Editor in Chief of Vogue, and Lauren Bush

First photo: Vanessa Simmons, Tyson Beckford and Angela Simmons; Second photo: 2008 U.S. Open Women's Singles champion Serena Williams

About the LeBron James Family Foundation: Founded in 2004, the Foundation empowers children and single-parent households through innovative programming and initiatives, strengthening the ties between family members and building hope through education, physical fitness and better health for those dealing with adversity.
Among the foundation's most important national programs are the Playground Build Initiative, in partnership with State Farm, and "Meal & a Movie" events in partnership with the Coca-Cola Company, which provide disadvantaged families with the opportunity to spend quality time together enjoying a special meal and viewing a not-yet-released family-friendly movie.
Jason Kidd, Rich Paul, Steve Stoute, Jay-Z ,LeBron James and Maverick Carter
Photos: Wireimage

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Donald Young: A Rising Tennis Star Gives Back

This past summer, two rising African American tennis players competed against each other in the U.S. Open at the legendary Arthur Ashe stadium. One was James Blake, the #1 ATP player from the U.S., and the other was Donald Young, a 19-year old tennis player from Atlanta who like the late tennis legend Arthur Ashe, is committed to giving back to his community.

Fresh off his exciting stretch at the U.S. Open, Young is hosting ‘The Sunset Showtime”, a charitable event benefiting the Atlanta Youth Tennis Foundation and the Tennis in Motion Academy to be held September 10, 2008 at the Georgia Tech Tennis Center. The Tennis in Motion Academy was started by the Young family to teach children the values in playing tennis and help aspiring kids have meaningful experience with the sport as taught by the entire Young family: father, mother and son. He also gives back to the community by participating in tennis clinics such as USTA, Pilot Pen and First Serve, which uses tennis to empower youth with positive values and experiences.

Donald Young, Jr. was born July 23, 1989 to Donald Sr. and Illona Young in the South Side of Chicago. He began playing professional tennis in 2004 and a year later was the youngest year-end world tennis player in the ITF junior rankings. He is a rising African-American tennis player and the youngest player in the ATP Top 100. His major career achievements include: winner of the Junior Australian Open in 2005, Junior Wimbledon in 2007, two-time winner of the USTA Junior Boys Hardcourt Championships in Kalamazoo (2005 and 2006), winner of the ATP Challenger event in Aptos, California (2007), and an ITF Futures event in Little Rock, Arkansas (2007). In these photos, Young is at the Legg Mason Tournament on August 11, 2008, where he defeated Luis Horna.

The Sunset Showtime charity event will feature a special fundraiser, movie screening and tennis exhibition with John Isner, the 2007 NCAA Singles finalist and former University of Georgia All-American. The movie screening will be a first time showing of the documentary “Unstrung”, produced by ESPN that features Young and highlights the unique and exciting U.S. Hardcourts Championship.

"I’m really excited about the "Unstrung" movie. I have gained lots of valuable experience from playing with some of the best players in the sport and I'm glad to share that in this movie," said Young. "My parents and I started Tennis in Motion to try and help kids find strength and power through tennis. We hope to give back to aspiring kids in the Atlanta community and nationwide."

Event tickets are $100. For more information on this event, please call 239-593-3900.

Photo credit: John De Fritas
For more information on Donald Young visit http://www.octagon.com/.
Source: Axis Agency
{Thanks Ayona}

Monday, September 8, 2008

::Photos of the Day::

Directors John Singleton and Spike Lee arrive at the "Miracle At St. Anna" film premiere during the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival, September 7, 2008 in Toronto, Canada.

UK singer Estelle attends a dinner in her honor at Dakota Bridge Restaurant on September 6, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. Estelle was recently interviewed for a newspaper, where she talked about her charity work. Read article here.

Actress/singer and humanitarian Alicia Keys arrives at Fox Searchlight's "The Secret Life Of Bees" (love that book!) premiere held at Roy Thomson Hall during the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival on September 5, 2008 in Toronto, Canada.

R&B artist T-Pain performs at MTV's 2008 Music Video Awards held at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, September 7, 2008. In related news, T-Pain is collaborating with today's hottest musical artists including Akon and Kanye West on a CD project that will benefit the Negro League Baseball Museum. Read more here.

Singer/actress Beyonce honors music legend Etta James at Conde Nast's Fashion Rocks event, September 5, 2008 in NYC.

Photos: Wireimage

Check me out on Mahogany Butterfly!

Mahogany Butterfly has chosen yours truly as their Blogger of the Week!

Mahogany Butterfly is a website that celebrates the beauty, radiance and strength of black women. Read featured articles, browse blogs by black women and join in on great discussions.

Visit here to learn more about my blog, where I get inspiration for my posts, what I do in my spare time, my favorite music and more!

On the web: http://www.mahoganybutterfly.com/

{Thanks Nicole}

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Event: Evidence Dance Company's 'On Our Toes' Hampton Benefit

On Saturday, August 23, 2008, the Evidence Dance Company hosted 'On Our Toes', its annual Hampton summer benefit. In the photo above is author/producer and host of the event, Crystal McCrary Anthony, Reginald Van Lee, Chair of Evidence Dance Company and partner at Booz Allen Hamilton, and guests.

Evidence was founded in 1985 under the artistic leadership of choreographer Ronald K. Brown. In addition to touring across the U.S. and overseas, the company supports community outreach activities and educational programs for dance enthusiasts of all ages. Evidence's mission is to help promote understanding about the human experience by providing sensory connections to history and tradition, and incorporates music and the spoken word to delve deeply into issues of spirituality, community responsibility and liberation.

Nadja Bellen-White, Vice President/Director, Marketing for Publicis Modem (second from left) and guests

Nia Gandy of HYT ME, Bernard Hampton Jackson III, Esq., and Judge Bernard Jackson II

The winter gala benefit will be held February 3, 2009 in New York City. Visit the website at http://www.evidencedance.com/.

Photos by Margot Jordan

Feeding Dreams: Honoring Everyday Heroes

ATTENTION Birmingham, Charlotte and Memphis! The Feeding Dreams program is launching in your city!

Via press release: She's your neighbor. He's your barber. She directs your church choir. But there's more to them than meets the eye. Every day, thousands of unsung heroes pour their hearts and souls into mentoring youth, sprucing up neighborhoods, transporting the elderly, or simply organizing a health fair. These acts of service may not gain widespread attention, but their effect is often impactful.

In honor of the many individuals who selflessly give of their time and energy, General Mills, Inc. and the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) have partnered to introduce Feeding Dreams. This community-based program will celebrate men and women whose passion to serve motivates them to contribute to their communities and uplift individuals, families, and neighborhoods.

The Feeding Dreams campaign will launch in Birmingham, Charlotte, and Memphis this fall and will recognize "Local Heroes" in areas including education and health.

"Service is at the heart of the NCNW mission," said Dr. Dorothy Height (in photo), chair and president emerita, NCNW. "We understand the important roles that volunteerism and service play in the African-American community, and have witnessed what the collective efforts of dedicated families and individuals can do to inspire positive change. We are thrilled to work with General Mills and the residents of Birmingham, Charlotte, and Memphis to celebrate their communities and honor our Local Heroes."

Feeding Dreams activities will include a monthly awards program that will honor one Local Hero per month in each city between September 2008 and March 2009, and will culminate with local community service events in March 2009. Local Heroes will receive a $500 Visa Check Card, $1,000 to donate to their 501(c)3 charity of choice, a supply of General Mills products, and recognition during the March events, which will feature Dr. Height. Feeding Dreams will also honor 30 additional nominees with $100 gift cards and gift baskets.

Nominations for Feeding Dreams will be driven by community members, or individuals can nominate themselves. To submit nominations in one of the participating cities, or for more information, please visit http://www.feedingdreams.com/.

Photo: Kohl/AP

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Judge Glenda Hatchett’s Parent Power: Empowering Parents and Strengthening Families

Judge Glenda Hatchett is passionate about helping children and families. She left a high ranking job at Delta Airlines to become Georgia’s first African-American Chief Presiding Judge of a state court and became the department head of one of the largest juvenile court systems in the country.

She is probably best known as the presiding judge on the Judge Hatchett Show, now in syndication. On the show, Judge Hatchett showed tough love to the youth in her courtroom who weren’t going to school or hanging with the wrong crowd, and made sure they were connected to resources in their community once they returned home. When I worked for a mentoring program some years ago, I received a referral for a young woman who appeared on her show. So what you see on the show is real.

Now, Judge Hatchett is moving from the courtroom to the community with her Parent Power and National Scholarship Service community events.

This focus of these events is to empower parents and strengthen families. Best of all, they’re free and open to the public! See below for cities and dates:

JACKSONVILLE, FL – Tuesday, September 9, 2008, 6-8pm
Schultz Center for Teaching and Leadership
4019 Boulevard Center Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32207

HOUSTON, TX – Thursday, October 2, 2008, 6:30-8:30pm
Community of Faith Church, The King's Dome - A Place for Empowerment
1024 Pinemont Drive, Houston, TX 77018

MEMPHIS, TN – Monday, October 6, 2008, 6-8pm
Cook Convention Center
255 North Main Street, Memphis, TN 38103

JACKSON, TN – Wednesday, October 8, 2008, 6-8pm
Oman Arena, 179 Lane Avenue
Jackson, TN 38301

NASHVILLE, TN – Thursday, October 9, 2008, 6-8pm
Tennessee State University – Humanities Auditorium
3500 John A. Merritt Blvd., Nashville, TN 37209

BIRMINGHAM, AL – Thursday, October 16, 2008, 6-8pm
Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center
2100 Richard Arrington Blvd., Birmingham, AL 35203

ATLANTA, GA – Wednesday, October 22, 2008, 6-8pm
Georgia International Convention Center
2000 Convention Center Concourse, College Park, GA 30337

ANN ARBOR, MI - Wednesday, November 12, 2008, 6-8pm
Eastern Michigan University Convocation Center
799 North Hewitt Road, Ypsilanti, MI 48197

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Social Entrepreneurs Provide Free Book Covers for Baltimore Students

A social entrepreneur refers to someone who starts a business not just for the primary purpose of making a profit, but to benefit their community and the world. In other words, they find innovative solutions to a social problem by using entrepreneurial principles to create and manage their business, ultimately making social change.

Quann Massey and Vondeleah Watson both describe themselves as social entrepreneurs. The Baltimore business professionals recognized a need to inform students, parents and teachers about resources in their community on healthcare, post secondary education, cultural activities and more. And what better way to reach them? By using text book covers - see the photo above for an example.

Advertisers purchase space on the book covers, of which 500,000 are distributed to all 179 Baltimore public schools for free. The text book covers advertise colleges, home ownership initiatives, healthcare, mentoring and tutoring programs, business, philanthropy, career training, scholarships, retail outlets, clothing stores, and private schooling to help parents, teachers and students access resources. The free text book cover project has partnerships with the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office, The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum and the Baltimore City Public School System. Creative idea, isn't it?

The entrepreneurs also have created 'Safe Sex Boxers', an HIV/STD/AIDS education tool to help teens and families talk about STD prevention. Safe Sex Boxers are men’s boxer shorts and ladies ‘boy’ shorts with pockets that can be customized to display virtually any printable image. Empty pockets or pockets with HIV/STD/AIDS education information promote abstinence until marriage (clients may request contraceptives in the pockets). The boxers are currently used at Morgan State University in Baltimore and were distributed at Bowie State University for World AIDS Day.

For more information on Baltimore's free text book cover program and their 'Safe Sex Boxers', contact livinglegends40@hotmail.com or 410-563-7809 ext. 111.