Wednesday, June 29, 2011

13-Year-Old Bronx Prodigy Heads to College

There's a new star rising on Pelham Parkway and her name is Autum Shante. 

This young prodigy is on the road to doing something extraordinary. This fall, she's heading to the University of Connecticut for her freshman year, at the amazing age of thirteen. 

Autum has got a lot going for her. She speaks no less than three different languages (Arabic, Swahili, and Spanish), is an accomplished performer of spoken word at various venues around the country, and scored 149 on an IQ test, higher than most college students.

Her father, Ben Ashante, recognized Autum's talents early on and opted for homeschooling. Having retired early, Ben was able to dedicate himself to his daughter's education full time. He also enlisted the help of the community, including local retired teachers.

"What she's doing is groundbreaking but this is not about vanity," he said. "It's about setting the tone for other black and Latino children who will come behind her. They're always being told they are underachievers. We want to show this can be done."

Mr. Ashante said in a recent statement to the Daily News that he wants his child to be a role model for others, especially Black and Latino young people. 

With the public school system failing in various cities across the country, especially in Black and Latino neighborhoods, Autum Ashanti's story may inspire more parents to home school their children.

Congratulations, Autum!


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The 50 Law: 50 cent and Robert Greene

The book The 50th Law grew out of the friendship and mutual admiration between 50 Cent and Robert Greene. Greene's book The 48 Laws of Power, which has long been a staple in the hip hop world, came to the attention of 50, who asked his manager to set up a meeting. Greene has said he was surprised by 50's persona and was impressed by his "zen-like calmness" and eye for strategy. The two began to work on a book project that would combine their two worlds.

According to Greene, 50 is an example of what Machiavelli called a New Prince, a leader who emerges in a time of chaos or turmoil and rewrites the rules.According to 50, Greene's books describe the laws and strategies used by hustlers on the street, even if they might not know the "technical terms" for what they were doing.

The 50th Law's initial printing featured gold-leaf pages and gothic font. The book features Greene's style of illustrating universal laws through historical examples. The 50th Law mentioned or included stories about Malcolm X, Miles Davis, Sun Tzu, Fran├žois de la Rochefoucauld, Machiavelli, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Thucydides, Dostoyevsky, Charlie Parker, and the Baron de Montesquieu.

The central theme of the book is fearlessness. The back cover says nihil timendum est, meaning nothing is frightening. Each of the 10 chapters in the book explains a factor of fearlessness and begins by telling how Fifty learned this Fearless Philosophy in Southside Queens.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Ice Cube Raises AIDS Awareness With Autographed Art Project

Legendary West Coast rapper, actor and television show producer Ice Cube has joined forces with a Los Angeles –based artwork company that will reproduce personally autographed artwork from Cube, with a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the unique pieces supporting Los Angeles County AIDS and HIV support services nonprofit organization Minority AIDS Project as well.
RareInk – a charity-based company – and Ice Cube have teamed to creatively connect fans closer to their favorite artists with elaborate renderings of Cube’s album covers and photos along with specially selected songs that will be packaged with the original works. In a statement, Ice Cube shared his excitement being RareInk’s first showcased artist.
“Expanding the interaction with fans of my music by offering limited edition, signed artwork that they are able to share and enjoy with their friends and family is something I feel my fans deserve,” said Ice Cube. “With RareInk, music fans now have an online destination for unique, autographed art that they know is real. Not only does RareInk create amazing pieces of art that bring my albums and songs to life but a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Minority AIDS Project, an organization I have worked with over the past two decades.”
The artwork will be available for sale on June 22 via RareInk’s website and will feature nine pieces from a collective of celebrated graphic and contemporary artists in limited run quantities. Highlights of the pieces include two renditions of Ice Cube’s 1990 solo debutAmeriKKKa's Most Wanted and a mural-styled piece depicting his 1992 hit single “It Was A Good Day.”
There are also two editions of artwork that will have Ice Cube’s actual paint-dipped hand prints. As an added comfort for collectors, each piece will come with a certificate of authenticity and an anti-counterfeit label on the back of the collections.
Ice Cube will also join RareInk’s advisory board and hopes other artists will join him in this new effort. “The series is something I’m really proud of and I’m sure other recording artists are going to want to get involved, both for their fans and their charities,” said Ice Cube.
Ice Cube isn't the first artist to introduce the idea of autographed artwork for sale to collectors. WAIL (When Art Imitate Life), created by King Tech, our own Sway and Los Angeles design company Scene Four, have done autographed original pieces featuring Wutang Clan's The RZA, turntablist DJ Qbert, System Of A Down bassist Shavo and Bay Area hip hop collective The Hieroglyphics. However, RareInk and Ice Cube's partnership is unique in that part of the sales of the art pieces will go to charity. No word yet if other artists intend to join RareInk's cause and promote works of their own.
To check out the RareInk and Ice Cube collaborative art pieces, please visit:

Friday, June 17, 2011

African American - Quotes

Hold your head high, stick your chest out. You can make it. It gets dark sometimes, but morning comes. Keep hope alive. Don't you surrender! Suffering breeds character, character breeds faith. In the end faith will not disappoint.
Jesse Jackson, Keep Hope Alive

I decided I wasn't going to come down. I was going to fly. I was going to stay up in the air forever.
Jesse Owens

I'm in my prime. There's no goal too far, no mountain too high.
Wilma Rudolph

It is this belief in a power larger than myself and other than myself which allows me to venture into the unknown and even the unknowable.
Maya Angelou

Self-esteem means knowing you are the dream.
Oprah Winfrey

Something made greater by ourselves and in turn that makes us greater.
Maya Angelou

When the sun is shining I can do anything; no mountain is too high, no trouble too difficult.
Wilma Rudolph

You are on the eve of a complete victory. You can't go wrong. The world is behind you.
Josephine Baker


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

McDonalds: President and Chief Operating Officer

Don Thompson
President and Chief Operating Officer

As President and Chief Operating Officer, Don Thompson directs global strategy and operations for the 33,000 McDonald’s restaurants in 119 countries to create value for McDonald’s and its shareholders.
Previously, Mr. Thompson was President of McDonald’s USA. In this role, he was responsible for the strategic direction and overall business results of the nearly 14,000 restaurants in the U.S. Mr. Thompson began his career at McDonald’s as an electrical engineer in 1990, and has since held a variety of leadership positions including U.S. Chief Operating Officer, Executive Vice President and Division President.

As a business leader, Thompson serves on the board of directors for the McDonald’s Corporation, the Exelon Corporation -- one of the nation’s largest electric utilities – and at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He also serves on the board of trustees for Purdue University and is a member of the Executive Leadership Council.

Mr. Thompson has been recognized by many organizations for his leadership in business, the community and as a role model. Black Enterprise named Thompson Corporate Executive of the Year in 2007. In 2008, he received the Corporate Executive Award from the Trumpet foundation. Thompson also received the presidential inspiration award from Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity incorporated in 2009, and was recognized with the Executive Leadership Council’s Achievement Award in 2010.

Mr. Thompson received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University and has since accepted the Purdue University Outstanding Electrical and Computer Engineering Award along with being named a Purdue University Old Master Fellow in 2006. In 2008, he received an honorary doctorate degree from Excelsior College in Albany, New York.

A proud family man, Mr. Thompson and his wife Liz have two children and reside in the Chicago area.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Odunde: Happy New Year - June 12th

ODUNDE, has gained a reputation as one of Philadelphia's brightest cultural jewel. The word ODUNDE originates with the Yoruba people of Nigeria, West Africa. It means "Happy New Year". 

The ODUNDE festival is an occasion marked by joy and hope, a joy which is highlighted by a colorful procession to the Schuylkill River (at noon) where offerings of fruits and flowers are made to Oshun, the Goddess of the River.

The religion, call IFA, embraced by the Yoruba people is very old. It involves the worship of one God and 401 orishas, similar to saints in the Catholic Church. Included in its three tiers of worship is “ancestor remembrance” in the offering of libations, divinations and other such acts. 
OSHUN is one of the orishas worshiped in the Ifa religion. She is one of the youngest orishas and is a female energy. As orisha of the river, she represents beauty, vanity, sensuality and attractiveness.
Everyone is invited to participate in the revered processional to the river. The offerings to OSHUN is one of the sacred aspects of ODUNDE, During the processional to the river praise is given to all orishas, in the Yoruba language, especially to OSHUN. 
Oriki, (songs) are sung in a particular order with the BATA, special two headed drums used only for special occasions. Once the processional reaches the bridge, incantations and prayers are offered in Yoruba. The Priest or Priestess ask OSHUN if our offerings are acceptable. Once a positive response is interpreted participants are given instructions to make their offerings. 
On the return from the river, we celebrate! ODUNDE! It is the African New Year!