Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life

The Black Male Handbook is a collection of essays for Black males on surviving, living, and winning. Kevin Powell taps into the social and political climate rising in the Black community, particularly as it relates to Black males. This is a must-have book, not only for Black male readers, but the women who befriend, parent, partner, and love them.

The Black Male Handbook answers a collective hunger for new direction, fresh solutions to old problems, and a different kind of conversation—man-to-man and with Black male voices, all of the hiphop generation. The book tackles issues related to political, practical, cultural, and spiritual matters, and ending violence against women and girls.

The book also features an appendix filled with useful readings, advice, and resources. The Black Male Handbook is a blueprint for those aspiring to thrive against the odds in America today.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Kevin Powell

Kevin Powell is widely considered one of America’s most important voices in these early years of the 21st century. Legendary feminist Gloria Steinem asserts that "as a charismatic speaker, leader, and a very good writer, Kevin Powell has the be fully human, and this will bring the deepest revolution of all." Of Kevin Powell the writer asha bandele says “When you consider the intelligence and breadth of Kevin Powell’s writing and activism, you come to the conclusion that there may be no better spokesperson and representative for a generation that has too long been counted out.”

Kevin Powell is an activist, writer, public speaker, and entrepreneur and, in 2008 and 2010, was a Democratic candidate for Congress in Brooklyn, New York. A product of extreme poverty, welfare, fatherlessness, and a single mother-led household, he is a native of Jersey City, New Jersey and was educated at New Jersey’s Rutgers University. Kevin is a longtime resident of Brooklyn, New York, and it is from his base in New York City that he has published eleven books, including his newest collection of political and pop culture writings, Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan, and The Ghost of Dr. King: Blogs and Essays (

Indeed, Kevin has written numerous essays, articles, reviews, and blogs through the years for publications such as Esquire, Newsweek, The Washington Post, Essence, Rolling Stone, The Amsterdam News,, and Vibe, where he was a founding staff member and served as a senior writer, interviewing and profiling, among many others, General Colin Powell and the late Tupac Shakur. Additionally Kevin has been a Writing Fellow for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, as well as a Phelps Stokes Fund Senior Fellow.

He is currently a columnist for, one of the oldest and most respect news publications in the world.

A gifted and sought after public speaker, Kevin has lectured on multiculturalism, building corporate responsibility, American and Black American history, the life of Dr. King, civil rights, American politics and civic engagement, sexism from a male perspective, leadership, social activism, the state of hiphop, redefining American manhood, and being Black and male in America, among other topics, at hundreds of colleges and universities, community centers, prisons, religious institutions, conferences, and festivals, as well as in corporate settings. Furthermore, Kevin routinely offers his insights on a variety of matters, to TV, radio, newspaper, magazine, and internet outlets in America, and globally.

A fixture on the pop culture landscape the past several years, Kevin was a cast member on the first season of MTV’s “The Real World”; has hosted and produced programming for HBO and BET; written a screenplay; hosted and wrote an award-winning MTV documentary about post-riot Los Angeles (“Straight From The ‘Hood”); and was the Guest Curator of the Brooklyn Museum of Art’s “Hip-Hop Nation: Roots, Rhymes, and Rage”—which originated at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, and of which Kevin was the exhibition consultant—the first major exhibit in America on the history of hiphop.

Of paramount importance to Kevin Powell, however, is his activism. He has been a leader in some form or fashion for over twenty years, dating back to his days as a teenager at Rutgers University. He was a participant in the student-led anti-apartheid movement, the drive to end racism in South Africa. He has been at the forefront of police brutality and racial bias cases. He has worked for years around voting rights. Kevin is one of the most prominent voices in the hiphop generation, and he has organized a number of concerts, mc battles, rallies, and forums that stress the use of hiphop as a tool for social change. As a result of his own past personal struggles, contradictions, growth, and a commitment to therapy and healing, Kevin has become a very outspoken critic of violence against women and girls, of violence in general, and he has been at the forefront of the movement to redefine manhood away from sexism and violence. Kevin also plays a key role in the Black male development arena, having produced, the past few years, among other things, a 10-city State of Black Men Tour, numerous Black male think tank sessions, and Black and Male in America, a 3-Day national conference. Kevin has taught, mentored, and counseled in schools, camps, prisons, and on the streets of urban America.

He has produced an annual holiday party and clothing drive every December in New York City that benefits the needy since 2001. Also, Kevin was a central figure in Gulf Coast disaster relief efforts, facilitating the delivery of goods and services to the affected regions, and being a cofounder of “Katrina on the Ground,” an initiative that sent over 700 college students to work in the devastated region. Most recently Kevin has been very active in Haiti relief efforts, helping to ship thousands of pounds of supplies to that Caribbean nation. Finally, Kevin is launching, with other American leaders of his generation a new organization, BK Nation, in early 2012. BK Nation will be both a strong online advocate for civic engagement and social change, and also offline with chapters in American communities nationwide, working on issues like education and the creation of jobs and small businesses.

Of his life work Kevin Powell says, simply, "My life-calling is to be a servant for the people, period. Money, fame, status, personal achievements, and all that means very little to me when pain and suffering are still real on this planet. I am interested in the powerless becoming powerful.”

Monday, February 27, 2012


It’s your turn to make your voice heard in helping select this year’s RETOOL YOUR SCHOOL campus improvement grant recipients.

You know how valuable our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities are, and how much they have contributed to our country’s growth in so many ways. What could be more worthwhile than being part of helping preserve and improve some of America’s most historic campuses and landmarks?

This year, we’ve expanded the program. We are introducing a new $25,000 Campus Pride Grant for the school that shows the most initiative in promoting their proposals and garnering votes. We are also providing an additional $10,000 Tier II Grant. In all, we’ve increased the total grant funds available to $185,000.

Last year, we awarded grants totaling $150,000 to HBCUs. A $50,000 Tier I Grant went to Bethune-Cookman University to help upgrade their Student Center with wheelchair ramps and barrier-free automatic access doors in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Ten additional schools received $10,000 each for a variety of projects, from landscaping to lighting to irrigation.

Vote here to support your favorite HBCU.

What Makes You So Strong

"What Makes You So Strong" displays the struggles, and barriers, triumphs and success that people of African decent have gone through historically and in their present day lives. Showcasing individuals from the Continent, Caribbean, and North America, the video aims to highlight the many faces of the African Diaspora in addition to featuring a few of the many Torontonians and young artists who are doing inspirational work in their communities. Original speech written and delivered by Rev. Jeremiah Wright, "What Makes You So Strong" delivers a powerful message about unity, perseverance, strength and cultural empowerment.

Tweet us: @niacentre
Facebook us:
Email us:

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Make It Happen: The Hip-Hop Generation Guide to Success

Kevin Liles' meteoric climb from street kid to unpaid intern at Def Jam Records to executive vice president of the Warner Music Group is far more than a rags-to-riches story. It is a tribute to Liles' work ethic, discipline and confidence in doing his thing his way -- the hip-hop way.

In Make It Happen, Liles -- named one of America's Most Powerful Players Under 40 by Black Enterprise -- offers his ten rules of business success, which range from "Find Your Will" to "Don't Let Cash Rule" and "Play Your Position." As he outlines these and other strategies for success, Liles shares his own hard-won wisdom about his journey to the top, along with career advice from the various music artists, industry professionals, mentors and friends he has known along the way. No matter what version of the American Dream you choose to explore, this book will help you to empower yourself and Make It Happen.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Daniel Beaty: Knock Knock

Daniel Beaty is an award winning actor, singer, writer, and composer. His critically acclaimed solo play Emergency (formerly Emergence-SEE!) directed by Kenny Leon ran off-Broadway to a sold-out, extended run at The Public Theater in the fall of 2006. For this production, he received the 2007 Obie Award for Excellence in Off-Broadway Theater for Writing & Performing and the 2007 AUDELCO Award for Solo Performance. New York Magazine awarded him a 2007 Culture Award for Best in Theater. Daniel has toured Emergency nationally and internationally. He is the recipient of the 2007 Scotsman Fringe First Award for the best new writer at the Edinburgh Festival and was presented with a Lamplighter Award from the Black Leadership Forum in Washington D.C. In February 2008, he received two Helen Hayes Award nominations for the best in theater in Washington D.C. and in June 2008, he was the winner of the Unique Theatrical Experience Award from the New Jersey Star Ledger for his production at the Crossroads Theater Company in New Brunswick, New Jersey. In the spring of 2008, Emergency had a sold-out seven-week engagement at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. This production was directed by Charles Randolph-Wright and was awarded two 2009 NAACP Theater Awards including Best Actor.

As an actor, singer, and poet, Daniel has worked throughout the U.S., Europe, and Africa performing on television, acting in theatrical productions, singing leading roles in operas, and giving solo concerts of his own work. He has performed at The White House and has graced the stage of The Kennedy Center in tribute to Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis. Daniel is the 2004 Grand Slam Champion at the world famous Nuyorican Poet’s Café and The Fox Networks National Redemption Slam Champion. He has performed on programs with artists such as Jill Scott, Sonia Sanchez, MC Lyte, Mos Def, Tracy Chapman, Deepak Chopra, and Phylicia Rashad.

Daniel was seen on the third and fourth seasons of HBO’s Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry; as a guest artist on NBC’s Showtime at the Apollo with Rueben Studdard; and on BET’s 106 & Park. He holds a BA with Honors in English & Music from Yale University and an MFA in Acting from the American Conservatory Theatre (ACT).

As a playwright and composer, Daniel’s work has been performed, staged and work-shopped at the Public Theater, BAM, New York Theater Workshop, La Mama, Arena Stage, Harford Stage, Philadelphia Theater Company, Alliance Theatre, True Colors Theater Company, Crossroads Theater Company, American Conservatory Theater, Yale University, The Geffen Playhouse and various other academic institutions and civic organizations. He was awarded the 2007-08 AETNA American Voices Playwright-in-Residence position at Hartford Stage, and a commission to write a new play. His play Resurrection received its world premiere production at Arena Stage in Washington D.C. in August 2008 (where he was awarded the 2008 Edgerton Foundation’s new American Play Award); followed by engagements at Hartford Stage, the Philadelphia Theatre Company, and ETA Theater in Chicago.

In October 2008, Daniel collaborated with composer and violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain on an orchestral work titled Darwin’s Meditation for the People of Lincoln that premiered at the BAM Next Wave Festival and continues to tour nationally and internationally. His family musical Trippin’ was optioned by Disney and produced by Harlem Stage. Breath & Imagination, Daniel’s new musical about the life of Roland Hayes, the first African-American classical vocalist of world renown, recently received a reading at the York Theater. His newest play and one-man show, Through the Night, premiered this winter at Crossroads Theater in New Brunswick, NJ in a co-production with the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, CA (March 16 – April 4, 2010). Through the Night will have a limited engagement at the Riverside Theater in NY, NY (May 7 – 23, 2010) as a co-production with Voza River’s New Heritage Theatre and Walk Tall Girl Productions, Inc.

In addition to his writing for the stage, Daniel was hired by Showtime to create an original half hour series based on his play Emergency and by Spitfire Pictures to create an original screenplay about the life of George Moses Horton, an African-American poet born into slavery.

  • NAACP Theater Award, Best Actor
  • Lamplighter Award, Black Leadership Forum, Washington D.C
  • Unique Theatrical Experience Award, New Jersey Star Ledger
  • Edgerton Foundation’s New American Play Award
  • Obie Award, Writing & Performance
  • Audelco Award, Solo Performance
  • New York Magazine, Culture Award for Best in Theater
  • Scotsman Fringe First Award, Best New Writer at the Edinburgh Festival

Friday, February 24, 2012

Good Deeds

A successful, wealthy businessman, Wesley Deeds (Tyler Perry) has always done what's expected of him, whether it's assuming the helm of his father's company, tolerating his brother's misbehavior at the office or planning to marry his beautiful but restless fiancee, Natalie (Gabrielle Union). But Wesley is jolted out of his predictable routine when he meets Lindsey (Thandie Newton), a down-on-her-luck single mother who works as a cleaning person in his office building. Outspoken, impulsive and proud- and also recently evicted- Lindsey struggles to make ends meet for herself and her young daughter. But when Wesley offers to help her get back on her feet, his innocent good deed ignites and unexpected attraction- and suddenly Wesley finds himself caught between the life he thought he wanted and the powerful desires of his heart….

A moving, uplifting romantic drama about relationships and the defining choices we make in our lives, 'Tyler Perry's Good Deeds' is written, produced and directed by Tyler Perry, and stars Perry, Thandie Newton, Brian White, Rebecca Romijn, Jamie Kennedy, Eddie Cibrian, Jordenn Thompson, Beverly Johnson, with Phylicia Rashad, and Gabrielle Union.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Good Deeds:Great Needs

Sometimes one good deed can change your world forever. Want to change the world. Start below?

Tyler Perry’s GOOD DEEDS is very happy to announce Good Deeds:Great Needs, an initiative to support Covenant House.

Through, Good Deeds:Great Needs will be collecting unused gift cards and donating all collected to Covenant House.

In addition, Lionsgate will be making a financial donation to Covenant House each time the Good Deeds:Great Needs video is shared! So make sure to watch and share the video!

To learn more and share Good Deeds:Great Needs, click here.

Mr. Perry has been a long-time supporter of the work of Covenant House, including a gift to help renovate the Covenant House Georgia crisis center and the purchase of a new outreach van to support street outreach efforts.

“Tyler Perry continues to be a real champion for our kids,” said Kevin Ryan, President of Covenant House. “He is a star who believes in giving back, and because of that belief he is helping so many homeless kids find new hope and new futures. We are very grateful for his partnership and to Lionsgate for supporting our kids.”

Tyler Perry's GOOD DEEDS opens in theaters everywhere on February 24, 2012. The film stars Tyler Perry, Thandie Newton, Brian White, Rebecca Romijn, Jamie Kennedy, Eddie Cibrian, Jordenn Thompson, and Beverly Johnson with Phylicia Rashad and Gabrielle Union.


To learn more, visit Gift Card Giver.


Dream Big Inc

Atlanta-based Dream Big was founded in 2003 by husband and wife team, Michael and Doretha White Dream Big is dedicated to assisting students in grades 8 - 12 as well as college students as they transition into the next phase of independence.

Drawing on over a combined 27 years of first-hand experience in the field of education in the areas of teaching, coaching, mentoring, human resources, professional learning, administration/supervision, and consulting, Michael and Doretha possess a unique, sincere understanding of the needs and complexities of today’s youth. Knowing that exposing students to real life scenarios; challenging them to think outside the box; and encouraging them to make choices based on their future instead of “right now” gratifications, allows students the freedom to discover how resourceful they are and shatter the chains of mediocrity and complacency.

The objective of Dream Big is to provide education support services to minority and underrepresented students all across the US., ultimately becoming the number one source for college preparatory workshops, seminars, publications, individualized coaching, and college tours. You can help us reach this goal!
As a non-profit organization, Dream Big is at the forefront of educating, empowering, and equipping young people to set extraordinary personal goals, operate with high moral and ethical standards, and perform with unprecedented professional excellence. By partnering with various social and community organizations, Dream Big endeavors to cultivate partnerships to meet the ever-changing needs of today’s youth. Our Programs/Services:

  • College Club Program (8th – 12th - rising 9th)
  • Successmaker Seminars (8th – 12th)
  • College Campus Tours (8th – 12th)
  • Senior Class Trips (12th)
  • Individualized Education/Career
  • Coaching (8th – College)
The vision of Dream Big is to provide education support services to minority and underrepresented students across the United States; ultimately becoming the number one source for college preparatory workshops, seminars, publications, individualized coaching, and college tours.

The mission of Dream Big is to encourage, educate, empower, and equip students with the necessary information, skills, and habits that will prepare them for success in college, career, family, and community life.

Motto: Your Destiny Begins With A Dream


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Magic Johnson’s Cable Channel ‘Aspire’ Set for June Launch

*NBA legend-turned-business mogul, Earvin Magic Johnson, is gearing up for the next phase of his expansive business portfolio – running his own network.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Hall of Famer is preparing for the summer launch of Aspire, a 24-hour channel with a focus on what Johnson called positive, uplifting images of African Americans. The basic cable outlet will join other channels targeting black viewers, such as BET and TV One, and will offer opportunities for blacks who have struggled to find work in mainstream Hollywood.

“This is so exciting for me, I’m pinching myself,” Johnson told the LA Times’ Greg Braxton and Meg James in a phone interview. “This is big for myself, for the African American community and the African American creative community. I wanted a vehicle to show positive images and to have stories written, produced and directed by African Americans for our community. Aspire — that’s how I’ve been leading my life.”

Aspire’s mix will include film, TV, music and comedy, with a combination of acquired projects and original programming. “There will some performing arts and shows about faith,” Johnson said.
Johnson’s entry into the television arena comes courtesy of communications giant Comcast Corp. as part of its agreement with the FCC and Department of Justice to diversify the cable landscape. Comcast agreed last year to launch 10 new independently owned cable channels, with most backed by African Americans and Latinos, by 2018. Johnson’s channel is scheduled to be the first.

Comcast’s obligation to support minority-owned channels came after a bruising yearlong federal review of the Philadelphia cable company’s acquisition of NBCUniversal, which includes the NBC broadcast network, NBC television stations, Universal Studios, Universal Pictures, cable channels USA, Bravo, Syfy, MSNBC and CNBC and Spanish-language broadcaster Telemundo.
During the extensive review process, which spanned all of 2010, executives were called before Congress to defend the merger. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) was particularly tenacious in her grilling of NBCUniversal and Comcast officers, questioning their commitment to hiring and advancing minorities.

With Aspire, which is scheduled for a June 30 launch, Johnson becomes the second A-list celebrity to launch a network in the last two years. Oprah Winfrey established OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network as a vehicle for her philosophy of inspiration and personal empowerment. But OWN has struggled ever since its January 2011 launch, failing to develop any shows or projects that have attracted large audiences.

Johnson is aware of the risks: “We’ll learn from those who have gone before us. We understand the landscape, and we will run a sound business.”

Launching a cable channel takes considerable investment — in some cases, as much as $100 million. Johnson declined to discuss the financial details, although the venture will be paid for through a combination of personal and private equity funds.

Aspire will have headquarters in Atlanta and will partner with GMC, a regional cable channel that offers uplifting programming. The channel Aspire initially will be available in 11 million of Comcast Cable customers’ homes. Johnson hopes to expand the network to other cable providers to reach about 50 million homes within a few years.

Johnson will be the chief executive of Aspire, while Eric Holoman, the president of Magic Johnson Enterprises, will be chief operating officer.

An executive to run the channel is being sought. Johnson will not have much involvement with programming: “I’m not going to be picking shows. That’s not what I do.”


Eric Thomas: Secret To Success

"When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you'll be successful"

The Secrets to Success Video was filmed on the campus of Michigan State University in front of a crowd of about 100 students. The 5:31 second version that was posted on youtube in 2008 was an instant “success”. However, once the video hit facebook in 2010, it became viral and gained international fame. Countless individuals began using it as morning inspiration and posting it on their facebook pages under the renamed version “The Truth.” In the video, Eric explains the story of a young man wanting to discover the secret to success and eventually finding it through the tutelage of the famous “Guru”. The video has inspired individuals from all walks of life to strive to be their best self and reach unimaginable heights. It is evident in the video that when it comes to searching for the “Secrets to Success,” Eric let the cat out of the bag!

Eric Thomas speaks to young college students at Michigan Student University about having a desire for success. View Eric's New profile @

Find Eric on Facebook @


Please visit for the Official Eric Thomas Website.

Dvd's are available for purchase.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Letters to a Young Brother: Manifest Your Destiny

Offering inspirational advice in a down-to-earth style, this unique compilation of letters provides wisdom, guidance, and heartfelt insight to help the reader chart their own path to success. Based on the author’s motivational speaking at inner-city schools across the country, the letters deal with the tough issues that face young people today.

Bombarded with messages from music and the media, Harper set out to dispel the stereotypical image of success that young people receive today and instead emphasizes alternative views of what it truly means to be a successful male, such as educational and community achievements and self-respect. Intended to provide this frequently regarded “lost generation” of young men with words of encouragement and guidance, Harper’s deep-rooted passion regarding the plight of today’s youth drove him to write this book, sure to change the lives of readers for years to come.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Money Coach's Guide to Your First Million: 7 Smart Habits to Building the Wealth of Your Dreams

As seen on CNBC, “Dr. Phil,” “Starting Over,” and “Tavis Smiley”

Each day, nearly 25,000 people in the U.S. become millionaires….

Why not you? All it takes is smart planning, shrewd investing, and a little personal coaching-from the world-renowned Money Coach, Lynnette Khalfani. She's living proof that you can go from rags to riches if you follow a few simple guidelines. Believe it or not, Lynnette managed to dig herself out of $100,000 of credit card debt, turn her life around, and become a millionaire herself. Even more amazing: You can do it, too.

The Money Coach's Guide to Your First Million tells you exactly what to do. First you'll formulate an easy-to-follow budget that fits your lifestyle. Then you'll be able to construct a plan to get out of debt, establish perfect credit, and save a bundle, using the same strategies the wealthy do to manage the money they have-and to keep making more.

Soon you'll learn how to invest in stocks and bonds (without losing your shirt) and make a fortune in real estate (without becoming a landlord if you don't want to.) You'll learn the financial benefits of entrepreneurship and discover the SMART way to set goals (Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, and Time-bound.) You'll avoid the most common financial pitfalls and come out on top every time. In fact, you're just 7 steps away from your first million!

The Money Coach's “Millionaire Success Formula” will show you how to:

Make a personal prosperity plan

Invest first, last, and always in your reputation

Live like a lender, not a borrower

Leverage the power of property

Increase your fortune with proven methods not shortcuts

Overcome setbacks and minimize risks to your financial health

Never forget the next generation

From the Back Cover
The New York Times Bestselling Author

Reveals Her Success Formula to Financial Security!

"The Money Coach's Guide to Your First Million will make you financially healthy, wealthy, and wise. It's seven-step plan is worth its weight in gold."--Tavis Smiley, Author, Television & Radio Host

"Lynnette Khalfani's The Money Coach's Guide to Your First Million is compelling for wanna-be millionaires, making you a millionaire-in-training upon opening the cover! It gives you basics for getting your house in order from which to launch your financial future. Anyone can get started toward financial freedom with this book."--Kenneth L. Fisher, Founder and CEO, Fisher Investments and 22-year Forbes "Portfolio Strategy" columnist

"Just starting out in the world of money? Khalfani's patient and prudent approach is the kick in the pants you need to get on the road towards financial freedom."--Jonathan Hoenig, Portfolio Manager, Capitalistpig Hedge Fund LLC and Fox News Channel personality

"Lynnette Khalfani has written a great little book with many gems to guide you toward your first milion. It's got terrific material on planning, paying down your debt, understanding real estate investments, and even how to avoid the obstacles that could kill off your efforts."--Dr. Van K. Tharp, Trading Coach and Author of the New York Times bestseller Safe Strategies for Financial Freedom

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Brand Within: The Power of Branding from Birth to the Boardroom

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, every day nearly 2,500 people go into business for themselves. Their firms account for 78 percent of U.S. businesses and $951 billion in receipts. Entrepreneurship is abundant in America, especially in the current economic crisis, but how do these companies stand out from the rest in order to succeed?

The Brand Within by Daymond John, founder and CEO of the revolutionary FUBU clothing line, brand strategist and star of the ABC hit reality show, Shark Tank, is the second nonfiction book in the best-selling Display of Power series. The Brand Within examines the loyalty of relationships companies seek to establish by attaching celebrities to their brands and the instantaneous impulses consumers exhibit when purchasing a product. Drawing on his cutting-edge experiences in the fashion business, as well as his hard-won insights developed as a sought-after marketing consultant to trendsetters and tastemakers, the author argues that branding relationships have now seeped into every aspect of our lives.

Daymond John is widely recognized as a branding and marketing authority and a sought-after consultant on the ever-changing urban/pop culture marketplace. He describes the evolution of a brand--from its generic inception to its watermark--and offers expert commentary on iconic personal ''brands'' ranging from Tiger Woods to Muhammad Ali and branding as it pertains to corporations such as Blackberry and UPS, among others.

The Brand Within, co-authored by Daniel Paisner, who is credited with nine New York Times bestsellers, is a dynamic roadmap to growing a successful brand.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Fearless Five: Book Series

The Fearless Five concept seeks to support parents and loved ones of young children, especially young, Black children, in developing a positive self-image. This is important because it affects behavior related to all aspects of daily life. According to experts, a person's self-concept is established quite early in life—40 percent of an individual's mature ego development is achieved by age seven. Though it can always be enhanced or devalued, one's self-concept requires continual maintenance and support.

Facilitating the development of a positive self-concept is critically important and the ways to do it are clear. We must pass on to our children that each of us is unique, and that each of us wants to feel good about him/herself, trust ourselves and others, and make contributions to our communities. In particular, we, at HNK Concepts, want to play an active role in off-setting the negative influences which bombard the sense of worth of young, Black children by offering them positive images in an enpowering setting.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Overbrook Entertainment

Overbrook Entertainment is a leading entertainment production company founded in 1998, which is run by Hollywood producer James Lassiter, Academy Award nominated actor Will Smith, triple threat (Actress, musician, director) Jada Pinkett Smith and former CAA agent Ken Stovitz. Overbrook Entertainment, committed to offering the highest quality entertainment focused in film and television, has produced a diverse slate of both critically acclaimed and blockbuster feature films, which have generated more than $2.5 billion dollars in worldwide box office receipts and even more in home video sales.

Some of Overbrook’s films include “Hancock,” “I Am Legend,” “Hitch,” “I-Robot,” “The Pursuit of Happyness,” “Seven Pounds,” “Ali,” “Lakeview Terrace,” and “The Secret Life of Bees.” Overbrook Entertainment’s next project is the highly anticipated film “The Karate Kid,” starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan, which is being released by Sony Pictures Entertainment on June 11, 2010. Overbrook Entertainment also produced the television series “All of Us” which ran for four years on UPN.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Black Teenager Invents New Medical Procedure

Young Mr. Tony Hansberry II is only 14 years old, but he has already accomplished something very few people of any age have. Tony invented a new medical procedure that can be used to reduce surgical complications in hysterectomies.

Hansberry interned last summer at the University of Florida’s Center for Simulation Education and Safety Research at Shands Hospital in Jacksonville. It was there that he responded to a call for an improvement to the endo stitch, which is a technique used during hysterectomies. The future doctor came up with his concept in only two days.

Hansberry is a freshman at Darnell Cookman, a Jacksonville, Florida magnet school for gifted students who are interested in medicine. He is the son of a registered nurse and a pastor. The teen’s ultimate goal is to become a neurosurgeon.

Not surprisingly, Tony’s ground-breaking research landed him an invitation to present at a medical conference at the University of Florida, where he captivated an audience of doctors and surgeons.

Angela TenBroeck, the medical lead teacher, said in many ways, Hansberry is a typical student, but she told the Florida Times Union that he is way ahead of his classmates when it comes to surgical skills.

“I would put him up against a first-year med student,” she said. “He’s an outstanding young man. And I’m proud to have him representing us.”

Please understand that students like Tony do not exist in a vacuum. Tony’s parents, friends, and community fostered an environment in which he could learn and thrive. How can we duplicate these types of successes with our children?

The key is to take advantage of existing resources and opportunities, and/or create your own. If your child shows an interest in medicine, ask your pediatrician if your child can shadow her for a day or two. If your child is interested in entrepreneurship, give him projects to do, such as creating a business plan. The possibilities really are endless, and we owe it to our children to help them learn, explore, and develop their talents and interests in a supportive environment.

Stay tuned for our series on educational resources!


Monday, February 13, 2012

Whitney Houston: Charity Work - Look To The Stars

Whitney Houston shot to fame in the 1980s when she became one of the first African-American female artists to receive regular rotation on MTV – a feat that successfully opened doors for other women to find success in music and movies. Best known for her work with Kevin Costner in “The Bodyguard”, Houston has led a life of service to others when not on screen or behind a microphone.

The 44-year-old first showed her socially-conscious side when still a model, before her fame rocketed her to stardom. Back then she refused to work for agencies that did business with South Africa, due to the country’s regime of apartheid. It was an issue that she later brought to the attention of the world when she performed at Nelson Mandela's 70th Birthday Concert in London, an event that brought pressure on the Government to ease its restrictions and eventually release the future president of South Africa.

Following the concert, Houston formed the Whitney Houston Foundation for Children, an organization that cared for the homeless and children with cancer and AIDS. It eventually brought the singer one of her many awards for her humanitarian work, as did her involvement with the United Negro College Fund.

Houston is also the only artist to turn the national anthem into a chart hit when her rendition of The Star Spangled Banner reached the Top 100 in 1991. She donated her royalties to the Red Cross.

In 1997, the HBO Concert “Classic Whitney live from Washington DC” raised over $300000 for the Children's Defense Fund.

In 2011, she partnered with her sister-in-law in launching a line of scented candles to benefit charity.

For a comprehensive list of Whitney’s charity work, visit

Whitney Houston passed away in February, 2012.

Read more:


Marshawn Evans

As one of the nation's leading experts on the art of maximizing potential,  Reinvention  Strategist™,  Entrepreneur  and Entertainment Attorney,  MARSHAWN EVANS  is  Founder  of  ME Unlimited®, a consulting firm focusing on reinvention, diversity, women’s empowerment, leadership  and  peak performance strategies.  She  is  founder of  ME University®  -  The  Ultimate Business & Branding Bootcamp, the industry’s premiere summit for equipping entrepreneurs to monetize  and  maximize  their brand (

She is author of the best-selling book, SKIRTS in the Boardroom: A Woman’s Survival Guide to Success in Business & Life, published by Wiley the largest business book publisher in the world.  Some of her most popular presentation topics include:
  • Habitude ™ 
  • Diversity: Value Differences with Different Values 
  • Executive EDGE: How to Make Your Mark
  • Reinvent ME: Keys to Expert Positioning & Personal Branding
  • Style & Substance: Women of Faith in the Marketplace
  • Gender Differences in Leadership & Communication
As President  of  EDGE 3M Sports & Entertainment – she quickly built one of  the  fastest-growing woman-owned professional sports management and branding agencies in the country,  successfully elevating the profile of athletes  in the NBA, NFL, WNBA, and Major League Baseball  (   She  is  Founder  and Executive Producer  of  The Caring EDGE Awards  held  annually  in  Atlanta,  GA  recognizing  the  philanthropic contributions of professional athletes and entertainers.

Her successes in the classroom and the courtroom took her to the infamous boardroom as one of  Donald Trump's handpicked cast members on NBC's hit show “THE APPRENTICE.”  Marshawn was the only person to lead Trump’s all-women’s team to a victory as the Project Manager for an upscale, yet in your face, Lamborghini advertising campaign.    She  has  worked  on  marketing  initiatives  for  global corporations such as  HP, Delta Airlines, Tiffany & Co, Rolls-Royce, Vitamin Water, Gatorade, Kraft, Bally Total Fitness, Dairy Queen, and Best Buy.

As Miss District of Columbia, she finished 3rd runner-up at the Miss America Competition  winning  talent  and interview. Using the power of expectation to surpass “problem-child” stereotypes, Marshawn, who is also a Harry S. Truman Scholar and a former U.S. ambassador to the International Summit of Achievement  in Dublin,  Ireland, received over $200,000 in scholarships and graduated magna cum laude from Texas Christian University with honors  and  distinction, where she  joined  Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.  She launched a new ministry called Marketplace Women™ focused on equipping women of faith to thrive  in  the  workplace,  and  has  held several international business summits in Nigeria, Ghana, the Bahamas, and Mexico.

Named one of Atlanta’s Power 30 under 30, she is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, a member of the State Bar of Georgia, and is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States. Marshawn has been  featured by Glamour Magazine, ESSENCE Magazine, Upscale, Diversity Business Magazine, USA Today, The Big Idea on CNBC,  Fox  News,  MTV,  the  Paula  White  Show,  and  Christian  Living  Magazine. She regularly contributes for Fox Business Channel, PINK Magazine, Black Enterprise, CNN and ESPN.

Subscribe to her e-newsletter at

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Forgotten Genius

"Forgotten Genius" is a fascinating and largely unknown story of scientific triumph and racial inequality. It covers the extraordinary life journey of Percy Julian, one of the great chemists of the 20th century.

The grandson of Alabama slaves, Julian met with every possible barrier in a deeply segregated America. He was a man of genius, devotion, and determination. As a black man he was also an outsider, fighting to make a place for himself in a profession and country divided by bigotry—a man who would eventually find freedom in the laboratory. By the time of his death, Julian had risen to the highest levels of scientific and personal achievement, overcoming countless obstacles to become a world-class scientist, a self-made millionaire, and a civil-rights pioneer.

NOVA reveals Julian's remarkable story in this special two-hour presentation. Tony Award-winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson stars as Julian; actor Courtney B. Vance narrates. Through dramatic period re-enactments, archival footage, and interviews with those who knew him best, Julian's science and gripping biography come to life onscreen.

Percy Julian won worldwide acclaim for his work in organic chemistry, and as the first black director of an industrial chemistry research lab. He broke the color barrier in American science more than a decade before Jackie Robinson did so in Major League Baseball. A brilliant chemist, his career was marked by many scientific breakthroughs that improved lives (see Career Milestones). He converted soybeans into synthetic steroids on an industrial scale, and his innovative approach helped make drugs like cortisone affordable and available to millions.

For all his tremendous achievements, Percy Julian's legacy is largely unknown. Scholars have neither studied him nor written his biography. To tell his story, NOVA filmmakers launched one of the most ambitious research projects in the series' 34-year history, poring over thousands of pages of documents from dozens of sources, and traveling around the nation to interview more than 60 of Julian's friends, coworkers, family members, and former students. The resulting documentary chronicles Julian's life from childhood to his death in 1975, at age 76.

His professional and personal journey was a tumultuous ride of highs and lows. Julian was born into a world ruled by Jim Crow segregation. His parents, both trained as teachers, believed education offered the path to a better life. But academia did not welcome Julian with open arms. As a sophomore at DePauw University, he already dreamed of a graduate education, though only one African-American at the time had ever earned a doctorate in chemistry. He went on to earn his Masters at Harvard, even while black students were banned from the dorms in Harvard Yard and white researchers argued that blacks did not have the intellectual capacity to master the sciences. Julian received his Ph.D. from the University of Vienna, where he studied under one of Vienna's leading chemists, Ernst Späth.

As a scholar, Julian taught at Howard University, Fisk University, and back at DePauw. Early in his career he put himself on the map with a high-stakes research project that pitted him against the premier organic chemist of the time. It was one of many races he would win on his way to publishing scores of papers and pursuing groundbreaking science. But even national acclaim in his field could not sweep aside prejudice.

Finding too many doors closed to black men in academia, Julian leapt into the private sector as Director of Research, Soya Products Division, for the Glidden Company. In 1936 it was a rare opportunity for a black man in America, and one that Julian made the most of, filing more than 100 patents during his tenure. Julian and his team of chemists turned the soybean inside out, isolating parts of the bean that would serve as key ingredients in a vast and varied range of new household and industrial products, including food oils, latex paint, plastics, linoleum, plywood glue, high-protein livestock feed, and fire-fighting foam. This was chemistry that changed the way we live.

It was also chemistry that healed. Just a few years before Julian arrived at Glidden, scientists in Europe and America had discovered that chemicals called steroids played a number of roles in the human body. But steroids drawn from animal sources were scarce and expensive; if these compounds were ever to have a significant role in the treatment of human disease, someone would have to find a way to make them from plants.

Julian realized that in the soybean he had a perfect starting material for making steroids on a commercial scale. He seized on that opportunity, making Glidden the first American company to make progesterone, a female sex hormone, available in large quantities at reasonable prices. His inventiveness helped lay the groundwork for the entire field of steroid medicine, whose products would include not only artificial sex hormones like progesterone and testosterone but also cortisone, so critical to alleviating the crippling pain of rheumatoid arthritis, and later the birth control pill.

His own business, Julian Laboratories, would eventually make Julian one of the wealthiest black businessmen in America and allow him to open doors for other African-American scientists. He hired scores of talented black chemists who could not find employment elsewhere, and by showing that African-Americans could do chemistry at the highest level, he inspired many more students to enter a career field that had previously seemed closed to them (see Julian the Trailblazer).

Still, neither wealth nor fame could insulate Julian from bigotry. His son, Percy Julian Jr., tells NOVA how in the upscale suburb of Oak Park, Illinois, his family faced racist arson and bomb threats. But with success came the chance to do something about it, and in his later years, Julian embraced the fight for racial equality that was commanding the attention of the nation.

Julian's crowning honor came when he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. The year was 1973, and Julian was only the second African-American member. Even in the shadow of society's prejudice, his drive, intelligence, and mastery of chemistry often prevailed. In a more enlightened era, his colleagues argue, he could have been a Nobel laureate.


Hidden Colors 2

"Hidden Colors 2" is the follow up film to the critically acclaimed Hidden Colors: The Untold History Of People Of Aboriginal,Moor,and African Descent.

For this installment of the Hidden Colors series,we are going around the country interviewing leading scholars and historians discussing topics that have been omitted from modern history books. We also touch on many issues that face people of color that are rarely discussed openly. Hidden Colors 2 will talk about things such as:

*The origins of the Olmec and Mayans
*The truth about the prison industrial complex
*The economic warfare against aboriginal people
*Untold American history
*Secret medical practices against people of color

And much more.

This documentary will also touch on many of the reasons why much of this information has been hidden from the public for so long.This film will be of interest to everyone,regardless of race or ethnic background,because the rich history of the people discussed is world history. And world history is all of our history.

The money raised through Kickstarter will be used for travel expenses for the film crew to film interviews in multiple cities. The money will also be used to create special effects & titles, as well as for the process of combining all of these elements: rendering, compositing, sound design and editing. There are also hardware and software that we need in order to create everything at high resolution so that the finished film will be able to screen theatrically.

Also,a lot of the money will be used for media promotions for the theatrical release of the film.

Our minimum funding goal is $30,000,but our ideal goal is between $100,000-$500,000,because the Hidden Colors series has proved to be an influential brand critically,and academically.

Don't forget to help spread the word and share this project on facebook with all your friends. And go to for updates.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Eric Thomas - Youth Activist, Speaker, Author And Motivator

Renown speaker, educator, author, activist and minister, Eric Thomas is rising to national prominence by delivering a high energy message that tells youth through first hand experience how to live up to their full potential and greatness and by breaking the cycles of crime, hopelessness and despair that many face daily. Known for his engagingly personal approach, his messages are both dynamic & inspiring. When coupled with his own Cycle-Breaking experience his blunt essays on reality and remarkable ability to reach even the most jaded of minds, has helped thousands of youth nationwide become peak performers academically, spiritually and personally. Eric has electrified audiences ranging from Fortune 500 companies to urban educators, collegiate athletic programs and inner-city youth development agencies with the message of his own life’s struggles and the principles, insights and strategies he used to overcome them. Eric is no stranger to the ills that plague our communities as he was born in Chicago, IL and raised on the streets of Detroit, MI. His childhood and adolescent years were difficult, and his life struggles and personal identity issues were intensified because like so many, he did not establish a relationship with his biological father until his early thirties.

At the age of 16, defiant and hardheaded, Eric decided to leave home and drop out of school, choosing to live on the streets of Detroit. By divine intervention at age 17, Eric met a pastor who saw him a young man with tremendous unrealized potential. As a result, their mentoring relationship was born which led Eric to complete his GED and to prepare for college. Determined not to be another statistic, Eric enrolled at Oakwood University where he began reading every thing he could get his hands on. Understanding the struggle of the streets, he realized what his purpose in life was to become, so he reached back to his fellow drug dealers and helped many of them get their GED’s, go to college and incorporate the strategies and self-improvement exercises he learned in order to assist them in developing their own life plans. In so doing, he provided them with a much-needed positive option to the life of crime and illiteracy they then led.

While in college, Eric started Break The Cycle I Dare You, (BTC) a non profit youth development and special event organization that focuses on developing programs for youth who have made bad choices and most often have had family, social, and academic struggles along with the lack of a father figure in their lives. Today BTC has developed and produced many supportive community-based programs and conferences across the country. They provide youth and teachers alike with activities, self-improvement exercises and motivational strategies to help them reach their highest potential in life. Eric now serves as the Chairman of the Organization.

He obtained his Masters degree in 2005 and is currently pursuing his PhD in Education Administration at Michigan State University and serves as Senior Pastor of A Place of Change Ministries, Lansing Michigan. He also serves as a consultant at Michigan State where he has developed The Advantage Program, an undergraduate retention program targeting academically high-risk students of color. In addition to his work with the Advantage at Michigan State, he also serves as a consultant for several collegiate athletic programs across the country. In this role, he provides assistants to student-athletes having academic and social challenges as it relates to successfully transitioning from high-risk schools and communities to a collegiate environment.

Eric’s representation of the merits of higher education, coupled with his knowledge of the pains of the street, inspires young people to break bad habits and reach for new levels of personal and spiritual achievement.

Eric has lived a life of challenges and triumph but has found a way to break the cycle.


Friday, February 10, 2012

Angela Benton

Let's see, I've worked at several InterActive Corp businesses including,, and I've also held roles at, UPS, and Homes of Color Magazine. I've been lucky to work in several different roles throughout my career including design, marketing, development, and digital strategy.

Currently I run Black Web Media, which publishes most people know me from this work. Our mission is to be a catalyst for innovative and inclusive ideas on the web for African-Americans. Under BWM we produce a conference and accelerator, NewME, our goal is to steer the Internet economy to be more diverse and inclusive.

Sometimes I get the opportunity to speak at conferences, it's fun even though it has taken some getting use to. When I do speak I tend to talk about diversity in the technology industry, web trends, and digital strategy.

I've been extremely fortunate and blessed in my 30 years to have my work recognized. Fast Company named me one of their Most Influential Women in Technology and Ebony Magazine’s included me in their Power 150. I am also the youngest Hall of Fame inductee of the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council and a 2010 Woman of Power honoree by the National Urban League, all were really exciting accomplishments. Recently, I was featured in CNN's Black in America 4 for the work that I am doing with the NewME Accelerator.

I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communications with a specialization in Digital Design. I also completed postgraduate coursework in Graphic Design from Savannah College of Art and Design. Though I don't get to design much anymore it's still a passion of mine.

This pretty much sums up my career so far. It's just the beginning.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Meek Mill Teams With Reebok To Donate Basketball Shoes & Gear To Local Philly Highschool Affected By Budget Cuts

Reebok and Meek Mill team up for charity event at the Strawberry Mansion High School in Philadelphia

Earlier this week, Reebok and Meek Mill teamed up for a charity event benefiting the boys and girls basketball teams at Meek's own high school - Strawberry Mansion High School - in Philadelphia, PA.

Because of budget cuts, the school's athletic programs have taken a big hit and Reebok worked with Meek to donate basketball gear (duffles, tees, socks, shorts, sleeves, snapbacks and footwear) to both the teams, as well as the new Blast sneaker (for guys) and the new Classic Chi-Kaze sneaker (for girls) to brighten up their days for off-court.

The high school used its gymnasium as the stage for this event and the kids went wild to see one of their idols show up.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Krystal Harrell - Entrepreneur

Krystal Harrell got her start as an entrepreneur at age 13. Her mother loaned her $20 to start Lucky You Design, which took off when Harrell expanded the clothing company from pajamas to customized apparel and accessories -- she was all of 16 at the time. She sold Lucky You in 2009, and used that funding to start her current venture, Create Exposure, in 2010.

Create Exposure provides marketing research, PR, and design services catered to appeal to young consumers. In Harrell's hometown of Charlotte, N.C., the company has worked with clients such as SKYY Vodka and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation. Looking ahead, Create Exposure's team of two in-house staffers and six long-time freelancers is developing online social tools for the Democratic National Convention, which will be held in Charlotte next year.

Harrell is one to keep an eye on not only for her marketing firm, but also because of her interest in camel milk. Working with a female business partner in Karachi, Pakistan, Harrell has developed partnerships with farmers and manufacturers in North Carolina and plans to hit the ground running with her own U.S. camel milk brand when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves the product, which Harrell bets will happen in early 2012.

Harrell hopes that her example will show other young women that they can succeed in launching their own businesses. "It's not rocket science," Harrell says. "It's just having tenacity and drive."


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Black Inventor Online Museum ™, is a look at the great and often unrecognized pioneers in the field of invention and innovation.

Achievements by Black inventors can be seen as far back as ancient Africa but much of society has no idea that many of the products or devices that make their everyday lives more enjoyable are the result of the hard work and ingenuity of Blacks.

The Black Inventor Online Museum ™, is the first of numerous educational/information web sites presented by Adscape International as a method for disseminating relevant and important information on topics that have often been overlooked in the traditional classroom. By bringing awareness to contributions made by a diverse number of ethnic/social groups, we hope to infuse a greater sense of pride, understanding and enthusiasm, contributing to a greater level of achievement on the part of students and their teachers. Used as a supplemental resource to traditional classroom methods, these sites can be used throughout the year as well as at home.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Rosalind Brewer

BENTONVILLE, Arkansas (AP) -- Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's biggest retailer, said Friday that it has named Rosalind Brewer as CEO of Sam's Club -- the first woman and the first African-American to hold a CEO position at one of the company's business units.

Brewer, 49, is replacing Brian Cornell, 52, who is leaving the company so he can return to the Northeast for family reasons.
Brewer, who will also be president of Sam's Club, was previously president of the retailer's U.S. division. She will report to CEO Mike Duke. The moves are effective Feb. 1.

TheGrio's 100: Rosalind Brewer, Wal-Mart leader breaks Fortune 500 glass ceiling

Wal-Mart has in recent years has been battered by a combination of the slow-growing economy and its own decisions that caused U.S. customers to flee to competitors. But it has refocused on offering the lowest prices and shoppers' favorite goods and that strategy has been paying off. In its third fiscal quarter ended Oct. 28, its net income fell 2.9 percent but it reversed a slump in U.S. namesake business.

Its Sam's Club warehouse club business has outperformed its namesake stores. Revenue in stores open at least one year rose 5.7 percent at Sam's Club and 1.3 percent at Walmart U.S. stores in its third quarter. The measure is a key gauge of a retailer's financial health.

Prior to joining Wal-Mart, Brewer held a number of executive positions at Kimberly-Clark Corp.
Wal-Mart also said Friday that it is promoting Gisel Ruiz, 41, to executive vice president and chief operating officer for its U.S. operations. Ruiz has been an executive vice president working on human relations and store innovation issues.

Wal-Mart is also promoting Rollin Ford, 49, to chief administrative officer. Ford was chief information officer. He will be replaced as CIO by Karenann Terrell, 50.

Wal-Mart shares rose 55 cents to $61.16 in morning trading Friday.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

50 Cent Donates SMS Audio Headphones Profits To Charity

50 Cent promises that his new line of SMS Audio headphones will beat out any current market competition, but the G-Unit CEO is also donating some of the proceeds from headphone sales to Feeding America. "Because of my Street King initiative, with every purchase there's a meal being provided through the United Nations World Food Programme," Fif tells MTV News. "And with this actual project, I decided I wanted to do something here in America. So for every pair of these headsets that are sold domestically and online through, 250 meals will be provided by Feeding America, which is our leading charitable organization against hunger."

Over the past few months, 50 has been outspoken about the need to fund charitable organizations, using sales from his Street King energy drink to launch a campaign focused on feeding "a billion kids."

"I think business is the answer for finding finances for situations that have been unanswered and untouched," 50 added. "If young entrepreneurs follow in my footsteps, with having a charitable business model that actually gives back, then you don't have people standing at Occupy Wall Street, because they're aware that the major corporations are conscious of them."

50 Cent's SMS Audio headphones are priced at $299.99 for a standard pair and $399.99 for the wireless version. They're available in white, black and blue through


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Geoffrey Canada

In his 20-plus years with Harlem Children's Zone, Inc., Geoffrey Canada has become nationally recognized for his pioneering work helping children and families in Harlem and as a passionate advocate for education reform.

Joining the organization in 1983, Mr. Canada became the President and Chief Executive Officer of Harlem Children's Zone in 1990. The New York Times Magazine called the agency's work, "one of the most ambitious social experiments of our time." In October 2005, Mr. Canada was named one of "America's Best Leaders" by U.S. News and World Report.

A new approach

In 1997, the agency launched the Harlem Children's Zone Project, which targets a specific geographic area in Central Harlem with a comprehensive range of services. The Zone Project today covers 100 blocks and aims to serve over 10,000 children.

The New York Times Magazine said the Zone Project "combines educational, social and medical services. It starts at birth and follows children to college. It meshes those services into an interlocking web, and then it drops that web over an entire neighborhood....The objective is to create a safety net woven so tightly that children in the neighborhood just can't slip through."

A national model

The work of Mr. Canada and HCZ has become a national model and has been the subject of many profiles in the media. Their work has been featured on "60 Minutes," "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "The Today Show," "Black in America 2," "This American Life," "Good Morning America," "Nightline," "The Charlie Rose Show," as well in articles in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Daily News, USA Today and Newsday.
Mr. Canada grew up in the South Bronx in a poor, sometimes-violent neighborhood. Despite his troubled surroundings, Mr. Canada was able to succeed academically, receiving a bachelor of arts degree from Bowdoin College and a master's degree in education from the Harvard School of Education. After graduating from Harvard, Mr. Canada decided to work to help children who, like himself, were disadvantaged by their lives in poor, embattled neighborhoods.


Drawing upon his own childhood experiences and at the Harlem Children's Zone, Mr. Canada has written two books: "Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America," published in 1995 by Beacon Press, and "Reaching Up for Manhood: Transforming the Lives of Boys in America," published in 1998 by Beacon Press. In its review of "Fist Stick Knife Gun," Publishers Weekly, "a more powerful depiction of the tragic life of urban children and a more compelling plea to end ‘America's war against itself' cannot be imagined." In September 2010, a new graphic novel version of "Fist Stick Knife Gun" was released.

For his years of work advocating for children and families in some of America's most devastated communities, Mr. Canada was a recipient of the first Heinz Award in 1994. In 2004, he was given the Harold W. McGraw Jr. Prize in Education and Child Magazine's Children's Champion Award. In 2009, he received the Independent Sector's John W. Gardner Leadership Award. He was named to Time Magazine's "Time 100" list of the world's most-influential people in 2011.

He has also received the Heroes of the Year Award from the Robin Hood Foundation, The Jefferson Award for Public Service, the Spirit of the City Award from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the Brennan Legacy Award from New York University and the Common Good Award from Bowdoin College. He has received honorary degrees from Harvard University, Bowdoin College, Williams College, John Jay College, Bank Street College and Meadville Lombard Theological Seminary.

Teaching martial arts

A third-degree black belt, Mr. Canada is also the founder (in 1983) of the Chang Moo Kwan Martial Arts School. Despite his busy schedule as head of HCZ, he continues to teach the principles of Tae Kwon Do to community youth along with anti-violence and conflict-resolution techniques.

In 2006, Mr. Canada was selected by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as co-chair of The Commission on Economic Opportunity, which was asked to formulate a plan to significantly reduce poverty. In 2007, he was appointed co-chair of New York State Governor's Children's Cabinet Advisory Board.

Mr. Canada is also the East Coast Regional Coordinator for the Black Community Crusade for Children. The Crusade is a nationwide effort to make saving black children the top priority in the black community. This initiative is coordinated by Marian Wright Edelman and the Children's Defense Fund.

Mr. Canada joined Harlem Children's Zone, Inc. (then called the Rheedlen Foundation) in 1983, as Education Director. Prior to that, he worked as Director of the Robert White School, a private day school for troubled inner-city youth in Boston.

The National Book Award-winning author Jonathan Kozol called Mr. Canada, "One of the few authentic heroes of New York and one of the best friends children have, or ever will have, in our nation."


Friday, February 3, 2012

Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?: How Reginald Lewis Created a Billion-Dollar Business Empire

When six-year-old Reginald Lewis overheard his grandparents discussing employment discrimination against African Americans, he asked, “Why should white guys have all the fun?" This self-assured child would grow up to become the CEO of Beatrice International and one of the most successful entrepreneurs ever. At the time of his death in 1993, his personal fortune was estimated in excess of $400 million and his vast commercial empire spanned four continents. Despite the notoriety surrounding Lewis's financial coups, little has been written about the life of this remarkable man. Based on Lewis's unfinished autobiography, as well as scores of interviews with family, friends, and colleagues, the book cuts through the myth and media hype to reveal the man behind the legend. What emerges is a vivid portrait of a proud, fiercely determined individual with a razor-sharp tongue — and an intellect to match — who would settle for nothing less than excellence from himself and others.

Wayne Sutton

Wayne Sutton is an entrepreneur, advisor and technology journalist.

Wayne helps individuals, startups and businesses succeed in understanding how to communicate on the social web via web development, user experience, brand strategy and marketing (Mobile and Social). With 10 plus years of experience in internet technology, he has provided counsel to business leaders ranging from founders of small startups and representatives of nonprofit organizations to CEOs of large and small corporations.

Wayne has been featured on, BBC, Mashable,, Web Pro news, The Atlanta Post and various media outlets. His blog has been ranked one of the 50 best technology and social media blogs in the world by Evan Carmichael and Simply Zesty.

Recently Wayne helped co-launch NewMe Accelerator, the first minority led startup accelerator in Silicon Valley which will be featured in the upcoming CNN Black in America 4 documentary that airs November 13.

Wayne has spoken at various internet/technology focused conferences and events such as O’reilly Web 2.0 Expo, NY, SXSW, Pubcon Austin, WordCamps, Social Media Breakfast, The Triangle Chapter of the American Marketing Association(TAMA),Triangle Interactive Marketing Association(TIMA), Public Relations Society of America Conference (PRSA), FutureM/GEOM and Blog World.

Staying current with the ever changing trends in internet technology, Wayne loves educating and inspiring others to succeed and providing value to his clients.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Obama Effect

Ever since crime started declining in American cities in the 1990s, researchers have been hunting for the reasons why. After more than a decade of research, many argued that smarter policing, more incarceration, the waning of the crack epidemic, improved home security, and legislation such as the Brady Bill had a role in cutting crime. More speculatively, some posit that an aging population, legal abortion (an argument first advanced in the Quarterly Journal of Economics Steven Levitt and later popularized in his book Freakonomics), the rise of mood-improving drugs, and, a theory that’s attracted much attention lately, laws banning lead in paint, may have contributed to the decline.

Until recently, almost all criminologists could agree on one factor: the good economy. Nothing is as taken for granted (at least by liberals) as this connection between crime and economics. The higher are employment and wages, the thinking goes, the less crime people commit—and vice versa.

But then, unexpectedly, the crime decline of the last two decades did not end with the economic collapse of 2008. On the contrary, decreases in violent crime have not just continued in many places since, according to the latest numbers from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, but they appear to have accelerated in some cities. In the first half of 2009, homicides plummeted an astounding 67 percent over 2008 in Minneapolis, 47 percent in Seattle, 39 percent in Charlotte, 31 percent in New York, and 17 percent in Los Angeles. As surprisingly, these declines occurred in black communities, which suffer disproportionately from unemployment and stagnating wages and from crime (about half of all violent crimes in the United States involve blacks)—even as the growth in the prison population, also disproportionately black, has halted.
Experts are baffled. “Blacks in the U.S. are like the canary in the mine. Their crime rates go up faster during recessions, and go down faster in good times,” says Gary LaFree, director of the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at the University of Maryland. Franklin Zimring, a U.C.-Berkeley criminologist whose new book, The City That Became Safe, explores the crime drop in New York, told me: “The crime decline of 2008 to 2010 comes at a really inconvenient time for the conventional wisdom, in two respects. One, the economy is going to hell, and two, this is the first time in forty years that we are not removing more prisoners from the streets than we’re sending back.”

So what could account for it?

One unlikely explanation that is gaining credence among experts, including some of the biggest names in the field, is a phenomenon tentatively dubbed “the Obama Effect.” Simply put, it holds that the election of the first black president has provided such collective inspiration that it has changed the thinking or behavior of would-be or one-time criminals. The effect is not yet quantifiable, but some very numbers-driven researchers believe it may exist.

Rick Rosenfeld, the president of the American Society of Criminology, studies the relationship between consumer sentiment and crime rates, which appear to track closely. Despite the recession, Rosenfeld has found, black Americans are remarkably confident about their economic futures. In 2009, despite being in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, 39 percent of black people surveyed said they were better off than they’d been five years before, as opposed to just 20 percent who answered that question in the affirmative in 2007. In the same survey, there was a 14 percent increase among blacks who said they thought the standard of living gap between themselves and whites was diminishing, and a 9 percent increase in blacks who believed that the future for black people will be better.

“I think there’s little question the election had the effect of improving the general outlook of blacks and especially their economic outlook,” Rosenfeld told me. “Normally, blacks tend to be more pessimistic about economic prospects, even in good economic times.”

Ohio State University’s Randolph Roth, author of the magisterial 2009 volume American Homicide, is so convinced Obama’s election has fundamentally improved black people’s outlooks, in spite of what may be their actual circumstances, he published an essay last year explaining the crime drop with the title “It’s No Mystery.” “The inauguration of the first black president and the passing of the Bush administration re-legitimized the government in the eyes of many Americans during the first few months of 2009,” he writes. “African Americans and other racial minorities, who live disproportionately in America’s cities, were more deeply affected than anyone else, and it is likely that their greater trust in the political process and their positive feelings about the new president led to lower rates of urban violence.”

Roth is tapping into a line of argument that has been gaining ground in criminology in recent years. Generally referred to as the “legitimacy” theory, it posits that the greater people’s belief in the legitimacy of social institutions and government, the greater their inclination to obey laws. Roth describes it this way: “If people believe that their government shares their values, speaks for them and acts on their behalf, they feel empowered, have greater self-respect and gain confidence in their dealings with people outside their families. When people feel that the government is antagonistic toward them and they question its legitimacy, especially on the national level, they can feel frustrated, alienated, and dishonored.”

The Yale sociologist Elijah Anderson, author of a new book on race relations, The Cosmopolitan Canopy, also agrees with the legitimacy argument, but he believes the psychological shift taking place in black people’s minds since Obama’s election is more profound. “Now we have a sense of future,” he says. “All of a sudden you have a stake. That stake is extremely important. If you have a stake, now there’s risk—you realize the consequences of compromising an unknowable future.”

Like the continuing decline in crime, the legitimacy theory and analyses like Anderson’s have upended ideas about the economic causes of crime. “Most explanations of crime in criminology are social-structural—unemployment, divorce, etcetera,” LaFree, author of Losing Legitimacy: Street Crime and the Decline of Social Institutions in America, says. “But I think it’s the case that historical events may be better predictors of crime than structural elements.” LaFree pointed to the social upheavals of the 1960s and the crack epidemic of the 1980s. Both events took place during economic boom times, and yet both events were accompanied by increases in crime. He thinks that while it is too early to tell, Obama’s election could prove such event, but one with more beneficial effects.

But not if the economy continues to deteriorate. If that happens, the primacy of economic explanations for crime may regain ground, and something reminiscent of the 1970s may result—high unemployment, stagnant wages, and plummeting faith in government to boot. (If Obama’s and Congress’ approval ratings are any indication, the last may already be happening.) The ‘60s and ‘70s “brought not just a government crisis, but a family crisis, a business crisis—a major institutional crisis,” LaFree says. “That’s not happening. You don’t have people marching in the streets—yet. My guess is if conditions remain poor, they will start.”

But Roth wonders if dips in perceptions of government legitimacy occur not just along historical but also racial lines. He points out that in the last half-century, the black homicide rate hit its crest in the period between 1971 and 1974, when, he believes, black trust in government reached its lowest levels since WWII. But the white homicide rate peaked in 1980, “during the final year of the Carter administration, when white trust in government reached its postwar low because of accumulated anger over busing, welfare, affirmative action, the defeat in Vietnam, and the seizure of American hostages in Iran.”

Similarly, sorting through the statistics for early 2009, Roth found that while homicides declined precipitately in cities in states that went for Obama in 2008, they rose in cities of 100,000 people or more in the six states that had the largest percentage of counties to vote more heavily Republican in 2008 than 2004, i.e., the most conspicuously opposed to Obama. These include Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. He adds that these states include some of the largest percentages of people who believe Obama isn’t a U.S. citizen—people, in other words, who may suddenly feel a marked absence of government legitimacy. But there is no proof that those higher homicide rates were concentrated among whites, and his theory doesn’t explain, among other things, the 26 percent decline in homicides in Birmingham during the same period, nor the increase in homicides in cities like Dallas and New Orleans, which have among the largest urban black populations in America.

Elijah Anderson believes there is an Obama effect on crime, and that the election gave black people a new sense of the future. But he also believes that a revived black civic culture had been discouraging crime, and priming the ground for an Obama, for years. He describes in The Cosmopolitan Canopy how a renewed sense of the importance of collective rectitude, even a call to atonement, had been taking hold in black communities long before 2008, citing such events as the Million Man March, which called on black men to be better citizens and fathers. Obama knows this, Anderson says, and knows how to evoke it. “He speaks to a deep vein of social conservatism among black working people by emphasizing personal responsibility,” Anderson says. “In a way, Obama is a manifestation of a tradition of black conservatism that had been buried for decades. He’s not so much of it, but he’s at least tapping into it.”

In other words, Obama could be as much the result of an Obama effect as the cause of it.

But some criminologists believe that those like Roth and Anderson who theorize about an Obama effect are letting their joy at his election affect their research. “We project our feelings,” Franklin Zimring told me. “A lot of us never felt more wonderful in our lives than on election night in 2008. So it’s a projection technique. It’s sort of a Rorschach test for creative social scientists. Is it possible there’s on Obama effect on crime? Yes. Is there a way of testing it on American crime data? Probably not.”

Also, the latest comprehensive crime data we have are for 2009. Anecdotal evidence suggests the crime decline is continuing in cities, but since then, as we know, trust in Obama and the rest of the federal government has plummeted, especially among whites, who profess to be more discontented with Washington than at any time since crime began declining in the 1990s. Whether that discontent will translate into the kind of drop in perceptions of institutional legitimacy that characterized the ‘60s and ‘70s is yet to be seen. If the rise in homicide arrests among whites between 2008 and 2009 that accompanied the drop among blacks is an indication, this may already be happening.

Finally, there is the suddenness of an Obama effect. Singular events can have fleeting effects on crime rates. It’s believed that crime fell dramatically after the Kennedy assassination, for instance, and after 9/11, for short periods. But as far as they can discern why they change at all, experts tend to believe crime rates shift because of years-long phenomena. So, while the recent drops are remarkable, it is also true that black and white crime rates have been converging for decades. And during that time—to name just one possible causal factor—police have slowly come to learn that they can take preventive approaches to crime. What we’re seeing now, then, may be more the dividend of long-term trends than of a single day in 2008.