Saturday, March 31, 2012

Beverly Johnson

Beverly Johnson is the first African-American supermodel. Her stunning features and superstardom would eventually land her on the cover of Vogue magazine in 1974, making world history as the first black model to ever grace the acclaimed magazine’s cover, and forever changing the beauty ideal in the fashion world.

Beverly’s remarkable career, which spans three decades, is a showcase of accomplishment: from model to mom to actress, author, activist, businesswoman, TV personality, and—finally—icon.

As a model in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, Beverly appeared on more than 500 magazine covers from Glamour and Cosmopolitan to Essence, Ebony and French Elle. She has thousands of editorial pages, and hundreds of advertising campaigns to her credit. Her success during the 70s and 80s transcended race as Beverly became a household name. She signed with the Ford Modeling agency and was one of the highest paid models in the industry in a very short period of time. Her work wasn’t limited to print; Beverly also worked the runway for such designers as Yves St. Laurent, Valentino, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Halston.

In the 1970s, Beverly embarked on an acting career appearing in such feature films as Ashanti, Deadly Hero and The Baron. She continued her acting career throughout the 1990s and more recently, appearing in movies, including Meteor Man, National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon, 54, How to Be a Player and Crossroads. She also added TV to her portfolio, playing guest roles on popular shows as Martin, Law and Order, 3rd Rock from the Sun and Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns. For two seasons Beverly appeared as a judge on the reality show She’s Got the Look, which launched in the spring of 2008.

In the 1990s, Beverly appeared in Revlon’s “The Most Unforgettable Women in the World” legendary campaign. She also penned two books, Beverly Johnson’s Guide to a Life of Health and Beauty and True Beauty: Secrets of Radiant Beauty for Women of Every Age and Color.

Throughout her career, Beverly has been active in charity work and speaking out about health issues. In the 1980s Beverly worked as an AIDS activist and continues to this day to support health issues affecting gay men. During the Clinton era, Beverly was appointed the Ambassador of Goodwill to the Fashion Industry to help with the elimination of sweatshops. In 2008 she became the national spokesperson for Ask4Tell4, a campaign that seeks to educate women about the options available to treat uterine fibroids, a painful condition that affected Beverly’s life for more than 10 years. In the fall of 2008 Beverly appeared on NBC’s Today Show to discuss the protocol for the Ask4Tell4 campaign.

A media mainstay, Beverly is often called upon to speak about beauty, fashion, style, hair, fitness and health. She has interviews with many news outlets and TV shows, including OPRAH, Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz and The Nate Berkus Show.

Beverly paved the way for future African-American women in the fashion industry and set the standard for models venturing outside the industry. She would eventually become the first “modelpreneur” with the launch of the Beverly Johnson Hair Collection. For 2012, Beverly will debut a new hair product line that will be exclusively available at TARGET stores across the country.

In addition to her numerous ongoing projects, 2012 will be a very busy year for Beverly. She appears in Tyler Perry’s new movie Good Deeds, which will be released in the spring. And in the second quarter of 2012, Beverly will launch her new reality show, Beverly’s Full House, on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

The Jackie Robinson of modeling, Beverly’s influence truly spans the globe. The New York Times named her as one of the “20th Century’s 100 Most Influential People in the Fashion Industry.” She was featured on the cover of Glamour magazine’s 50th Anniversary issue, the venerable publication that gave Beverly her first break in the 1970s. The late Ruth Whitney, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, proclaimed that Beverly had “broken all color barriers.” In 2008, she received a Thurgood Marshall award for style and innovation, and in 2009, her historic Vogue magazine cover was featured in the “Models as Muse” exhibit at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

An avid golfer, Beverly plays to a 10 handicap and can be found nearly every day on the golf course. She lives in Rancho Mirage, California with her two collies Flame and Hollywood.


Friday, March 30, 2012

Oprah Winfrey - Quotes

“Turn your wounds into wisdom.”

“You can have it all. Just not all at once.”

“The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.”

“Everyone wants to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”

“Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough”

“I trust that everything happens for a reason, even if we are not wise enough to see it.”

“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”

“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure. ”

“True forgiveness is when you can say, "Thank you for that experience.”

“Surround yourself only with people who are going to take you higher.”

“Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.”

“One if the hardest things in life to learn are which bridges to cross and which bridges to burn.”

“If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.”

“You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.”

“I've come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that's as unique as a fingerprint - and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you. ”

“You get to know who you really are in a crisis.”

“If a man wants you, nothing can keep him away. If he doesn't want you, nothing can make him stay.”

“If friends disappoint you over and over, that's in large part your own fault. Once someone has shown a tendency to be self-centered, you need to recognize that and take care of yourself; people aren't going to change simply because you want them to. ”

“Every day brings a chance for you to draw in a breath, kick off your shoes, and dance.”

“You don't become what you want, you become what you believe.”

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”

“Your true passion should feel like breathing; it’s that natural.”

“Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don't fight them. Just find a new way to stand.”

“When you undervalue what you do, the world will undervalue who you are.”

“Step Away from the Mean Girls…
…and say bye-bye to feeling bad about your looks.
Are you ready to stop colluding with a culture that makes so many of us feel physically inadequate? Say goodbye to your inner critic, and take this pledge to be kinder to yourself and others.

This is a call to arms. A call to be gentle, to be forgiving, to be generous with yourself. The next time you look into the mirror, try to let go of the story line that says you're too fat or too sallow, too ashy or too old, your eyes are too small or your nose too big; just look into the mirror and see your face. When the criticism drops away, what you will see then is just you, without judgment, and that is the first step toward transforming your experience of the world.”

“Think like a queen. A queen if not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.”

“Dogs are my favorite role models. I want to work like a dog, doing what I was born to do with joy and purpose. I want to play like a dog, with total, jolly abandon. I want to love like a dog, with unabashed devotion and complete lack of concern about what people do for a living, how much money they have, or how much they weigh. The fact that we still live with dogs, even when we don't have to herd or hunt our dinner, gives me hope for humans and canines alike.”

“I believe that every single event in life happens in an opportunity to choose love over fear.”

“Every day brings a chance to live free of regret and with as much joy, fun, and laughter as you can stand.”

“We can't become what we need to be by remaining what we are.”

“Some women have a weakness for shoes... I can go barefoot if necessary. I have a weakness for books.”

“Self-esteem comes from being able to define the world in your own terms and refusing to abide by the judgments of others.”

“The best thing about dreams is that fleeting moment, when you are between asleep and awake, when you don't know the difference between reality and fantasy, when for just that one moment you feel with your entire soul that the dream is reality, and it really happened.”

“As you become more clear about who you really are, you'll be better able to decide what is best for you - the first time around.”

“Meditate. Breathe consciously. Listen. Pay attention. Treasure every moment. Make the connection.”

“Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire.”

“The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be.”

“It makes no difference how many peaks you reach if there was no pleasure in the climb.”

“Only make decisions that support your self-image, self-esteem, and self-worth.”

“I know for sure that what we dwell on is who we become.”

“When I look at the future, it's so bright it burns my eyes!”

“Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the mext moment”

“You are responsible for your life. You can't keep blaming somebody else for your dysfunction. Life is really about moving on.”

“Follow your instincts. That's where true wisdom manifests itself.”

“If you want your life to be more rewarding, you have to change the way you think.”

“To love yourself is a never-ending journey.”

“You look at yourself and you accept yourself for who you are, and once you accept yourself for who you are you become a better person.”

“In the mist of Difficulty lies Opportunity.”

“I believe the choice to be excellent begins with aligning your thoughts and words with the intention to require more from yourself.”

“The big secret in life is there is no secret. Whatever your goal. You can get there if you're willing to work.”


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Michael Jordan

Michael Jeffrey Jordan is Chairman and majority owner of the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats, which he purchased from BET founder, Robert L. Johnson in 2010. Jordan joined the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats ownership group as a minority owner in June 2006, serving as the team’s Managing Member of Basketball Operations.

Jordan's ownership of the Bobcats was approved by the NBA on March 17th, 2010. Jordan is now the first former NBA player to own an NBA team.

Since its creation, his Jordan Brand (an elite division of Nike) has been an innovator of athletic shoes and apparel. Brand Jordan has grown to become a market leader under Jordan’s creative design input.

As one of the world’s most popular and recognizable figures, Jordan’s endorsement portfolio includes Gatorade, Upper Deck, Hanes, Nike, Coca-Cola, Chevrolet, McDonald's, Ball Park Franks, Rayovac, Wheaties and MCI. Jordan has had a long relationship with Gatorade, appearing in over 20 commercials for the company since 1991.

In June 2010, Jordan was ranked by Forbes Magazine as the 20th most powerful celebrity in the world with $55 million earned between June 2009 and June 2010. According to the Forbes article, Brand Jordan generates $1 billion in sales for Nike.

In 2004, Jordan formed Michael Jordan Motorsports as a result of his passion for motorcycle racing. Among Jordan’s other business ventures are several thriving restaurants.

Jordan supports many charitable causes including the James R. Jordan Boys and Girls Club in Chicago, the Jordan Institute for Families at the University of North Carolina, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and many others through the M & J Endowment Fund. His annual Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational golf tournament has raised more than $2 million for several worthy charities since its inception.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Strategies to help develop
Black boys who can imagine
and achieve their dreams

by Clayton Singleton

Product Details
ISBN: 978-0-578-09984
Format: Paperback, 112pp
Publisher: BirthMark Books
Pub. Date: January 2012
4.25” x 7” Perfect bound

Ships in 24 hrs

Visionary Black Male is a testament of methods used to raise a personally confident and socially responsible individual. The size of the book is designed to be pocket-sized allowing young visionaries to have carry it with ease having access to information at any given moment. Written as a complete tool, sections of Visionary Black Males are directed at young males, parents then teachers.

Writing from personal experiences, Singleton identifies useful skills and strategies that parents, teachers and young males can use to design plans, achieve goals, live out dreams and attain human fulfillment.

Watch the VISIONARY Black Male video

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Leah Brown, JD, CHC

Leah Brown, Owner and President of A10 Clinical Solutions, Inc., is unwavering in her vision to provide exceptional, compassionate, highly talented clinical-research and clinical-care professionals to areas that traditionally experience healthcare disparities. With over 20 years in the healthcare/regulatory compliance consulting space, she founded A10 years following the loss of her dear uncle to HIV/AIDS and knowing she had to do something critical and innovative to help heal the world.

Leah holds a degree in Information Technology from Virginia Commonwealth University, holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Kentucky, and was admitted to the North Carolina State Bar in 1992. She also possesses the distinguished designation of Certified in Healthcare Compliance (CHC), and most recently, she successfully completed two Executive Management Programs at Dartmouth College and Northwestern University.

She was selected in Fortune Magazine’s Top 10 Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs 2010 and was invited to speak at their Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington, D.C. with President Barack Obama, the Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, business tycoon Warren Buffett, and many other C-level women executives of the nation’s top companies. She was also named Inc. Magazine’s 2010 No.1 African-American-Run Business and Top 10 Women Entrepreneur, in addition to having A10 named the 2010 No. 92 Fastest-Growing Privately Owned Companies in America and No. 5 in the Health Industry. A10 was also named the Carolinas Minority Supplier Development Council’s Supplier of the Year 2010 and the Ernst & Young 2010 Entrepreneur of the Year Carolinas. Leah Brown additionally received the 2010 Women Extraordinaire Award from Business Leader Media.

Prior to establishing A10, Leah was responsible for the marketing, architecture and coordination of complex technical solutions for hospitals and academic medical systems. She also served as Area Vice President for CHC Healthcare. Leah Brown is an awareness writer and speaker for workforce issues impacting clinical research. She has authored several articles including “Retention: An important Factor of Minority Subjects in Research” and “Taking Clinical Research Careers to a new ‘Life’.” Leah’s industry leadership roles include: Co-Founder and Vice President of non-profit Diversity Alliance for Science, Inc.; Pharmaceutical/Bio-Tech Industry Chair – Carolinas Minority Development Council; American Heart Association Go Red for Women Executive Leadership Team; Member, Association of Clinical Research Professionals; Forum-At-Large Women Business Enterprise National Council; Advisory Board for Enterprising Women Magazine; Deputy Co-Chair for Healthcare for Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) in Washington, D.C.; Board of Directors of Greater Women’s Business Council; Board of Directors on the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce; and the International Affairs Council member.


Monday, March 26, 2012

50 Cent Visits Famine Victims In Somalia, Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Rapper 50 Cent is teaming up with the World Food Program to see firsthand the effects of hunger in Somalia and Kenya.
The rap star flew to Dolo, Somalia, on Wednesday. Tens of thousands of women and children have fled there over the last year to flee a devastating famine that killed tens of thousands of people across Somalia.

WFP said the rapper, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, has committed to provide 1 billion meals for the hungry, and is donating to WFP 10 cents from every sale of a new energy drink called Street King that he is promoting.

The U.N. last week declared an end to Somalia's six-month famine, though it said tens of thousands of people still need food aid to survive. The British government estimates that between 50,000 and 100,000 people died from the famine's effects.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Clinton Names Basketball Star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Cultural Ambassador

The state department has a new global Cultural Ambassador: LA Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

The towering Hall-of-Famer said tackling his new position will be like following in the footsteps of Louis Armstrong, one of his heroes. Armstrong traveled the globe as a Goodwill Ambassador under President Kennedy.

Secretary Hillary Clinton said Abdul-Jabbar exemplifies a great story, “from the streets of Harlem, to the NBA, now with all the work you’re doing with your foundation to give back.”

Abdul-Jabbar presented Clinton with a signed LA Lakers jersey, emblazoned with the number he wore, 33, when he played center for the NBA team from 1975-1989. He also gave the secretary a copy of “What Color Is My World?”, a children’s book on the history of African-American inventors, which he co-authored.

The former NBA player travels to Brazil later this month to meet with underprivileged youth, and talk with them about the importance of education, racial tolerance, and sports as a tool for empowerment.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices, and Priorities of a Winning Life

Tony Dungy's words and example have intrigued millions of people, particularly following his victory in Super Bowl XLI, the first for an African American coach. How is it possible for a coach—especially a football coach—to win the respect of his players and lead them to the Super Bowl without the screaming histrionics, the profanities, and the demand that the sport come before anything else? How is it possible for anyone to be successful without compromising faith and family? In this inspiring and reflective memoir, now updated with a new chapter, Coach Dungy tells the story of a life lived for God and family—and challenges us all to redefine our ideas of what it means to succeed.

The softcover edition of this #1 New York Times best-seller includes a new chapter! In it, Coach reflects on the 2007 football season and last year's successful hardcover release of Quiet Strength. Also features a foreword by Denzel Washington and a 16-page color-photo insert. Over 1 million in print!

Friday, March 23, 2012


“One of the things my mother taught me when I was a child was just keep your eye on the prize and as long as you feel that you’re right with your creator and you’re right yourself, then other people’s opinions really don’t matter.”

–Cathy Hughes

Cathy Hughes is the media maven behind the broadcasting companies Radio One and TV One. Though she encountered many obstacles in her path to success, she had a vision for the future of media and never let challenges prevent her from seeing them through.

A combination of determination, dynamic personality and extraordinary work ethic has brought her to the media forefront. Her accomplishments are astounding. Radio One is now the seventh largest radio broadcasting network in the U.S. and the largest African-American owned and operated radio broadcast company in the nation. Hughes has used her company to empower African-Americans across the nation, making sure that her success signifies an achievement for her race.

“Hopefully the information that [Radio One] disseminates will somehow, some way assist in [African-American] empowerment, because, as quiet as it’s kept, the African American community is still struggling with and progressing towards liberation… we [at Radio One] see ourselves as the voice of Black America that identifies [with what] is best for our community,” Hughes said in a interview.

Catherine Elizabeth Woods Hughes was born in 1947. She grew up in Omaha, Nebraska as the eldest of four children. She lived with her parents in an Omaha housing project. Hughes was very young when she realized that she wanted to pursue a career in radio.

“I knew that I wanted a career in radio when I was 8 years old… There were six of us in the house… and I would tie up the bathroom in the morning pretending my toothbrush was a microphone and I would be standing in front of the mirror giving news casts and announcing records and events in the community.”

Hughes attended the elite Catholic girls school Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart. She dropped out of high school at age 16 to give birth to her son, Alfred Liggings III. Hughes was given the choice to have an abortion or move out. She chose to give birth and marry the baby’s father at age 17. The marriage lasted for 14 months.

As a single mother Hughes attended both Creighton University in Omaha and the University of Nebraska but never had the opportunity to graduate.

The entrepreneur began her career in radio in 1969 as a volunteer at KOWH, a black-owned radio station in Omaha. Here she learned the essential skills needed to be successful in the radio business. Afterward, she was offered a position in Washington D.C. as a lecturer at Howard University’s School of Communications. Hughes became the general manager of WHUR-FM, the university’s radio station in 1975, where she boosted annual sales revenue from $300,000 to more than $3.5 million. While Hughes served as station manager for WHUR-FM, Melvin Lindsey, an intern for the station created a radio format called the “Quiet Storm,” a late-night romantic R&B music and talk format that is prevalent in urban radio programming. Hughes heard about the positive feedback from the show and rewarded Lindsey with his very own segment.

In 1978, Hughes relocated to WYCB-AM in Washington, D.C. As the station’s vice president and general manager, she revamped WYCB-AM into an all-night gospel music station. With this title, Hughes became the first African-American general manager in the Washington, D.C., media market before leaving to establish her Radio One empire.

A year later she saw her dreams become reality as she and Dewey Hughes, her former husband, purchase the small Washington D.C., radio station WOL 1450. This purchase was no easy feat; 32 banks rejected the couple before they finally received a loan for $1 million, the purchase price of the station.

Shortly after buying the station, her husband Dewey wanted to relocate to L.A., but Hughes had a vision for WOL that she was unwilling to forfeit. The couple decided to get divorced instead of trying to make a long-distance marriage work. This left Hughes as the sole-proprietor of the radio station.

She began a morning talk show program on the station followed by music programming for the remainder of the day. Finances were scarce for Hughes, causing her to give up her apartment and car and live with her son inside of the WOL station building. Due to a lack of funding for personnel, Hughes took on the tasks of producer, on-air personality, and even a DJ. She even played songs from her own personal music collection. Largely because of the morning talk show’s success, the station began generating abundant profit.

Hughes continued to purchase stations across the nation until Radio One became an influential force in the media world. In 1999, the company was valued at $950 million and it was traded publicly for the first time on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). This made Hughes the first and only African-American woman to head a publicly traded firm in the U.S.

Radio One currently has a network of 69 radio stations, located in 22 American cities, with 13 million listeners. The company has received numerous awards and abundant acclaim; in 2003, it was even inducted into the U.S. Small Business Administration Hall of Fame.

In 2004, Hughes launched TV One, a cable television channel targeted at the African-American adult community that seeks to maintain the positive image of African-Americans on television.

Currently, Hughes’ son serves as CEO and president of Radio One and Hughes serves as the company chairperson.

Hughes is an active participant in issues that involve the radio world. In 2009, Hughes fought against the Performance Rights Act (HR 848), a bill that would require radio stations to pay royalties to artists for playing their music. Through “Reality Radio,” a series of announcements that aired frequently on Radio One stations, Hughes spoke out against the bill and its governmental supporters, urging listeners to sign a petition against it. The bill never became a law.

Today, this media maven is highly revered and respected. Her skills as a savvy businesswoman have helped her build an impressive communication chain from the ground up. Cathy Hughes serves as a spokesperson for women and the black race, using her power and prominence to stand up for those whose voices would otherwise, not be heard. Hughes has shown that if a person is willing to make sacrifices and has a strong will to succeed, they can make anything happen.

-Morgan King


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Zero Debt: The Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom 2nd edition

Would you like to be free from financial worries, rest at night knowing your bills are paid, and have peace of mind when it comes to money matters? Then you need Zero Debt - a 30-day action plan to fix your finances.

In Zero Debt, you'll discover:

* How to get annoying creditors off your back
* Insider secrets to reduce interest rates or eliminate credit card late fees
* Your legal rights – and what bill collectors can and can not do under the law
* The best strategies to clean up your credit report or fix errors in your credit file
* How to make lifestyle changes that will save you money for decades to come!

If you want to be debt-free and achieve financial freedom, you need an action plan to guide you. This book is your step-by-step plan. It’s simple. It’s easy to understand. And it works.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


CODEBLACK ENTERPRISES LLC (CBE) was launched in 2005, by entertainment industry veteran Jeff Clanagan. CBE’s mission is to super-serve the global black community through the development of a diversified portfolio of entertainment media companies that create quality products and experiences that speaks to, engages and accurately represents the global African American experience. These companies include: Codeblack Entertainment (, a new media entertainment company that focuses on brand strategy consulting and content production and distribution; Codeblack Live, is a full service live event & concert production company focused on the packaging and promotion of live comedy concerts worldwide; Codeblack Interactive(, is focused on investing in emerging digital technology platforms and developing casual games and smart phone apps, and digital content delivery platforms and services relevant to Black Americans across the country and the world; (, the eyes and ears for Black Americans looking for what's hot in black entertainment; The Comedy Shaq ( ) an online video channel showcasing the best in multi-cultural comedy programming. Since its launch, CBE has quickly become the #1 supplier of filmed and live entertainment for the African American community.

CBE strategic partners include; Shaquille O'Neal, Kevin Hart’s Hartbeat Productions, T.D. Jakes Enterprises, Courvoisier, AEG Live, Lisa Raye McCoy, AMC Theaters, Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, Google/YouTube, Sony Network Entertainment and The Usual Suspects Productions.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

10 Most Successful African-American CEOs of All Time

America has long been a melting pot of different cultures, ethnicities, religions, and creeds. And with African-Americans historically being underrepesented in centers of power due to years of oppression, a celebration of African-American businesspeople is warranted. One of the most diverse groups in terms of methods of accruing wealth, here you'll find the ten most successful African-American CEOs of all time.

1) Oprah

With her aptly acronymed television network, Oprah, in a word, OWNs. America's most beloved talk-show host, book club president, actress, producer, magazine owner, satellite radio station owner, philanthropist, lifestyle guru, and single-handed president picker, Oprah was raised being taunted for having to wear potato-sack dresses because of her poverty. Now, if she sneezes, the market moves. Not only the best businesswoman and alpha-female in the entire world, Oprah revolutionizes every industry that she touches, including politics — her unwavering support of President Obama absolutely helped to influence his 2008 election. People everywhere know her truth: if Oprah likes it, it's good.

2) Kenneth Frazier

Here's something good to come out of Penn State: Kenneth Frazier, CEO of Merck & Co., Inc. He's the first African-American CEO of a pharmaceutical company, and only the second lawyer to become a CEO of big pharma. A champion of innovation and an all-around good guy, Frazier is also a successful pro bono lawyer, and the man responsible for the release of a wrongly accused Alabama man from death row. While at Penn State, he worked in a local aquarium, selling newts and tadpoles; now he's in charge of one of the distributors of birth control and tetanus shots. All in all, not a bad move.

3) Ursula Burns

Women have it hard. African-American women have it harder. African-American businesswomen have it triple tough, and that's just the truth. A first-generation American citizen and raised in the housing projects of New York City, Ursula Burns defied many odds and, as of 2009, is the CEO of paper and copy giant Xerox. Ranked as the 14th most powerful woman in the world, Ursula Burns is no stranger to back-breaking work as a means of rising through the ranks — she began her tenure with Xerox as a summer intern in 1980. Contrasting fearlessness with recklessness, she is passionately focused on growth for the company.

4) Robert L. Johnson

Not only is he named after one of the most prolific blues musicians of all time, Robert L. Johnson is a true influencer of American culture and the first African-American billionaire. The former CEO of Black Entertainment Television provided for the world a voice and a vehicle for all things African-American: television shows, hip-hop, R&B, soul, and movies. Additionally, Johnson was the first African-American to head a company listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Part owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, along with rapper Nelly and basketball giant Michael Jordan, his life and style beg the question: with friends like those, who needs…other friends?

5) Aliko Dangote

The CEO of the eponymous Dangote group, this Nigerian businessman is the richest person of African descent in the world. Contributing to the development of Nigeria with the largest industrial conglomerate in West Africa, the Dangote Group employs upwards of 11,000 people, dealing with industries such as sugar refining, flour mills, food distribution, and cement. Also a heavy contributor to political parties in the region, Dangote's businesses account for one-fourth of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

6) Russell Simmons

Give it up for the man who produced the The Beastie Boys, Will Smith, LL Cool J, and everyone else that you can think of from the annals of rap history. The original hip-hop mogul and pioneer of the genre and its subsequent entrepreneurial spin-offs, Russell Simmons is as much activist and spiritual practitioner as he is CEO. Whether he's founding Def Jam records, marrying a super model, and seeking enlightenment, Russell Simmons has his hands in much of the entertainment that we hold dear today.

7) Sean "Puff Daddy" "Puffy" "P. Diddy" "Diddy" Combs

The Artist Formerly known as Prince's radical name-to-symbol has got nothing on this guy. The richest and one of the most successful figures in hip-hop, unless you're as B.I.G. as him, he won't be missing you. From the projects to his own projects as CEO of Bad Boy Entertainment and Sean John Clothing, Combs has been a recording executive, producer, rapper, actor, entrepreneur, and a man of many names.

8) Madam C. J. Walker

Also known as Sarah Breedlove, Madam Walker was the first American woman to become a millionaire for her own achievements. Experiencing hair loss at an early age, she experimented with home products until she developed a workable salve. Parlaying her $1.50-a-day job as a washer into a hair-care empire in only 12 years time, this fascinating 19th-20th century mogul is a true inspiration and pioneer for African-Americans and businesswomen everywhere. Walker used her money to forward anti-lynching campaigns and black education, dying in 1919 at the age of 51.

9) Kenneth Chenault

The third African-American CEO of a Fortune 500 company, Kenneth Chenault has been the CEO of American Express since 2001. Another lawyer turned CEO, Chenault worked his way through the ranks at American Express — beginning in 1981. Also an active public servant and recipient of the prestigious Third Lantern Award, Kenneth Chenault has been likened to perennially successful business magnate, Jack Welch.

10) Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter

Rap and hip-hop can't be stopped! Producing some of the most financially successful CEOs of all time, you also have to give the industry credit for producing some of the greatest stories of all time. Another African-American born into impoverished American housing projects, Jay-Z is the current CEO of Roc Nation and his net worth is an estimated $450 million. Also, he's married to one of the hottest female entertainers of all time, and they just had a new baby. Rumor also has it that he and Beyonce are planning to shoot a music video…in space.


Monday, March 19, 2012

UniverSoul Circus

In 1994 the UniverSoul Circus was born. I had a vision to explore the various talents other than singing and dancing that performers from around the world had to offer. We had the idea to present something different, to create a show that presented a wide spectrum of talent to a wide demographic. Our goal was to reach deep into our culture and search for what talent and skills lie asleep in the entertainment experience of urban America.

Our journey began in libraries, first researching African American entertainment from the turn of the century until today. We came across a single African American owned circus operating in 1893. I envisioned hip-hop musicals, a return to vaudeville and animal acts. That’s when the decision was made to create a new entertainment complex — a full-blown circus complete with its own big top tent. While walking through a Black Expo, a particular booth immediately caught my attention. The sign read: OF BLACKS AND CIRCUS RINGS. It was so exciting! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. This vendor had artifacts, pictures, videos and in-depth knowledge of our contributions to the circus industry — the real contributions of people who looked just like me. He shared a wealth of knowledge and contacts with us. He led us to Prince BoJino, one of the first African American lion tamers. He introduced us to legendary performers of color who helped us pull it all together. We sent out an international call for acts to perform in our new form of live entertainment. Recruiting, training and production for UniverSoul Circus began in 1993.

Not everything went exactly as planned. Three weeks before the opening, I paid a visit to the training facility. It was clear that the person we chose as tiger trainer wasn’t working out as we had hoped. I had to let him go. I was three weeks away from advertising this historic lion tamer and I’m sitting in my office at 11 p.m. saying to myself, ‘Okay Cedric, you’ve really done it this time. Now I’m going to have to get in the tiger’s cage and tame a tiger.’ I had almost — key word, “almost” — convinced myself that I could do it, when, thank you Jesus, I recalled my “wild and crazy” cousin who lived with three 14 feet boa constrictors in his bedroom. I called his home that night. By six the next morning, he’d quit his job and was ready to run away with the circus.

Our first show lost everything. But the idea was a critical success. If I wanted to realize my dream, I knew I had to use my own money to finance the majority of this incredible million-dollar endeavor. Since then, there’s been no looking back. Despite going deep into the red during the first season, enthusiastic crowds and rave reviews encouraged us to continue our journey. By 1997 the circus tour had grown to a 10 city tour; to 19 cities in 1999; a South Africa tour 2001, an Emmy nominated HBO special in 1998, and 32 cities in 2011. It has been a hard and difficult slog during our incredible 18 years, but I would not change it for the world. Seeing smiling faces, watching our fans dance, sing and laugh — makes it all worthwhile.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Resilience: Faith, Focus, Triumph

Resilience. It’s not just the title of Alonzo Mourning’s stirring memoir; it’s the stuff he’s made of. Whether petitioning himself into foster care as an eleven-year-old, tirelessly studying his way onto the dean’s list at Georgetown University, making it as an all-star center in the NBA, or returning to peak form after organ-transplant surgery, Mourning has shown enormous inner strength. His faith, his determination, and his courage are what have driven and sustained him throughout his extraordinary life.

In 2000, Mourning was on top of the world: He had a fat new contract, an Olympic gold medal, and a second beautiful child–all that and the fame and wealth he had earned playing the game he loved. But in September of that year, he was diagnosed with a rare and fatal kidney disease. Over the next couple of years, as his health faltered, he retired, unretired, and retired again–and sought to make sense of the rest of his life.

Finally in 2003, after a frantic search for a donor match, Mourning had a new kidney and a new outlook. He vowed to make this second chance count by dedicating his life to others. He resolved that he would consider the disease a blessing, a revelation of God’s plan for him.

Although he battled his way back to the NBA, winning a championship with the Miami Heat in 2006, Mourning believed that the most important and fulfilling part of his life still lay ahead. Basketball, it turned out, was just the vehicle that would allow him to devote his talents and energies to a greater cause.
Alonzo Mourning’s return to basketball glory, already familiar to sports fans and non-sports fans alike, has inspired millions of patients suffering from kidney disease and living with dialysis, as well as organ donors around the world. By sharing his experiences of the physical, emotional, and spiritual roller coaster of illness and recovery, Mourning hopes to deliver a message of faith and fire, hurdles and hope, trust and triumph. Resilience is a story about the meaningful everyday lessons that he longs to share and about the things that truly matter in life.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

H.O.P.E. Scholarship

Michelle Janaye and I, Jeffrey Chance, believe that it is our responsibility to invest in the next generation of leaders.  Instead of talking about how we could be the change that we wanted to see, we simply took action.

The  H.O.P.E. (Helping Others Pursue Education) Scholarship Initiative is the fruition of our joint desire to serve. Not only do we want to assist those who have traveled a similar path, but also challenge more HBCU alumni to also reinvest.

Our goal is to raise scholarship money for students and ask them to pay it forward in the future. Help us, help others. - H.O.P.E Directors

Our mission is to make quality education affordable to deserving students. No student should be denied access to a quality education simply because they lack the necessary funds. Household incomes cannot continue to dictate academic outcomes.

It does not require a person with lots of money and lots of success to make a difference in society; hard work, determination and a passion for service can turn any dream into a reality.

With the assistance of students and alumni in the black college community, frequent fundraisers, and corporate sponsorships, we are raising money to reward deserving students with $500 scholarships.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Jeanette Jenkins

Jeanette Jenkins, founder and President of The Hollywood Trainer is the author of The Hollywood Trainer Weight-Loss Plan: 21 Days to Make Healthy Living a Lifetime Habit and creator of the highly successful Bikini Bootcamp, part of her internationally successful Hollywood Trainer DVD Collection, created to inspire and motivate men and women to live a healthy life.

New for 2011 Jeanette released her 14th & 15th workout DVDs “Power Yoga” &“Blast the Belly Fat”voted top 10 DVD of the year by Fitness Magazine and joined forces with the legendary Jane Fonda to launch Team Jane Fonda’s Workout exclusively for Target. In November of 2011 Jeanette will release the highly anticipated “Sexy Abs” workout with Kelly Rowland.

As a Nike Training Club Ambassador Jeanette has also launched the New 2011 Nike Training Club iphone Application. Users worldwide get an opportunity to build up workout time to unlock Jeanette’s adrenaline pumping, high intensity Hollywood Trainer Workouts!

As one of the country’s leading healthy lifestyle coaches, known best for her holistic approach, results-driven cross-training techniques and supreme ability to motivate,Jeanette helps millions of men &women achieve their health and fitness goals through her international products, challenges and social media outreach on twitter @JeanetteJenkins and Facebook. Jeanette’s work has been featured in columns ranging from and to NBC’s Today Show, The Dr. OZ Show, The Doctors, Fox News World, The Tyra Banks Show, BET Networks, Access Hollywood, Extra, E! Entertainment and much more.

Jenkins studied Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa and has earned over 18 international certifications covering nutrition and various methods of training. She is a graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition which is recognized by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners and Columbia University. Her mission is to use her experience and education to teach and inspire men and women to live their best life! Jeanette’s expert advice and products have been recognized by several publications including O Magazine, USA Today,Fitness, Shape, Health, Self, Essence, Ebony, Women’s Health, In Style, Glamour, Marie Claire, Prevention, People & Us Weekly Magazine.

Jeanette is one of the few experts nationwide hand-picked for Nike Corporation's Elite Athletes program and a 7 year Advisory Board Memberfor Fitness Magazine.

Her knowledge and ability to get results is what attracts an A-List client roster. It’s also what keeps her group classes at L.A.’s top fitness clubs jam-packed with celebrity regulars and Hollywood’s hottest bodies. Jeanette’s student and client roster has included Kimora Lee Simmons, Serena Williams, Queen Latifah, Kelly Rowland, Robin Thicke, Paula PattonThicke, Tia Mowry, Chrisette Michele, Christina Applegate, Lauren Velez, Taryn Manning, Ian Ziering, Kendra Wilkinson, Carmen Electra, Holly Madison, Jordana Brewster, Terence Jenkins, Mara Brock Akil, NFL’s Bryant McKinnie, Ty Law and Brian Cox. Terrell Owens describes Jeanette as being "high energy, passionate and knowledgeable. Says Owens, “Jeanette knows how to draw you in and keep you motivated.

Growing up in public housing in Canada, Jenkins was one of three children raised by a single mother and fitness is what kept her focused. A natural athlete, Jeanette found a safe haven in sports, one that taught her the value of discipline and team work, and most importantly instilled self confidence and a “can do” attitude. Jeanette has benefited from social and community services as a child and dedicates her time and support to several non-profit organizations including the School on Wheels Organization the The Los Angeles Downtown Women’s Shelter and The Samburu Project


Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Reason to Believe: Lessons from an Improbable Life

“I’ve simply seen too much goodness in this country—and have come so far in my own journey—not to believe in those ideals, and my faith in the future is sometimes restored under the darkest clouds.” —Governor Deval Patrick

In January 2007, Deval Patrick became the first black governor of the state of Massachusetts, one of only two black governors elected in American history. But that was just one triumphant step in a long, improbable journey that began in a poor tenement on the South Side of Chicago. From a chaotic childhood to an elite boarding school in New England, from a sojourn doing relief work in Africa to the boardrooms of Fortune 500 companies, and then to a career in politics, Patrick has led an extraordinary life. In this heartfelt and inspirational book, he pays tribute to the family, friends, and strangers who, through words and deeds, have instilled in him transcendent lessons of faith, perseverance, and friendship. In doing so, he reminds us of the power of community and the imperative of idealism. With humility, humor, and grace, he offers a road map for attaining happiness, empowerment, and success while also making an appeal for readers to cultivate those achievements in others, to feel a greater stake in this world, and to shape a life worth living.

Warm, nostalgic, and inspirational, A Reason to Believe is destined to become a timeless tribute to a uniquely American odyssey and a testament to what is possible in our lives and our communities if we are hopeful, generous, and resilient.

GOVERNOR DEVAL PATRICK is donating a portion of the proceeds from A REASON TO BELIEVE to A Better Chance, a national organization dedicated to opening the doors to greater educational opportunities for young people of color. To learn more, visit

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Steve Harvey Mentoring Weekend

The mission of The Boys Mentoring Weekend Program is to share, teach and demonstrate the principles of manhood to young men, enabling them to achieve their dreams and become men who are strong, responsible and productive.

The goal of The Steve Harvey Mentoring Weekend is to break the misguided traits of manhood and introduce role models who provide positive examples of manhood.

The aim of the Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation is to instill the following principles in the boys who take part in The Steve Harvey Mentoring Program.

  • Integrity
  • Responsibility
  • Respect
  • Honesty
  • Patience
  • Discipline
  • Service
  • Courage

NOMINATION PERIOD: March 6-30, 2012

I want to invite you to the Steve Harvey Mentoring Weekend in Dallas TX. June 14–17, 2012 where I and some of my very good friends will conduct a series of seminars on the principles of manhood, leadership, dressing for success and community empowerment.

If you are a young man between the ages of 13-18 years old you can nominate yourself or if you are someone that know a young man in need of mentoring complete the online application by clicking here or
click here to print and mail your application today.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A. Barry Rand

Addison Barry Rand is chief executive officer (CEO) of AARP, the world's largest nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization dedicated to social change and helping people 50 and over to improve the quality of their lives. Mr. Rand is a dynamic leader and change agent who brings to AARP a proven track record of leading both multibillion-dollar businesses and smaller, private equity-driven businesses. He has served as chairman and chief executive officer of Avis Group Holdings, CEO of Equitant Ltd., and executive vice president, Worldwide Operations, at Xerox Corporation. He serves as chairman of the Board of Trustees of Howard University.

Mr. Rand began his career at Xerox as a sales representative in 1968. From there, he advanced to several senior positions within the company, completing an outstanding 30-year career as executive vice president, Worldwide Operations. He was responsible for the entire value chain for Xerox's $18 billion business, oversaw a workforce of more than 70,000 employees in over 150 countries and helped lead Xerox's financial revival resulting in total shareholder return at twice the rate of the S&P 500. Under his leadership, Xerox became the most diverse company in the Fortune 500 while also being named "America's Best Sales Force" and "Top Training Organization in America." And he was the driving force behind Xerox receiving the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 1989 and again in 1997.

In 1999, Mr. Rand became chairman and chief executive officer of Avis Group Holdings, Inc. He transformed Avis from the second-largest car rental company to the world's leading service and information provider of comprehensive automotive transportation and vehicle management solutions, dramatically increasing the company's value. His successful transformation of the company led to its being acquired by Cendant Corporation in 2001.

In 2003, while serving on the board of Equitant Ltd., an Ireland-based provider of outsourced management services, Mr. Rand was asked to become the company's chairman and chief executive officer. Over the next two years, he expanded Equitant into a global firm and negotiated its successful acquisition by IBM in 2005.

Throughout his career, Mr. Rand has served on numerous boards, including: Teacher's Insurance Annuity Association/College Retirement Equity Fund (TIAA/CREF), Honeywell Corporation, Abbott Laboratories, Ameritech, Avis Group, AT&T Wireless Services, Agilent Technologies, Aspect Communications and Campbell Soup Company.

He has served as the chairman of the Board of Trustees of Howard University since 2006 and has also served on the boards of the Urban Family Institute, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and the Garth Fagan Dance Theatre. He established the Helen Matthews Rand Endowed Scholarship, a $1.5 million program at the Howard University School of Education named in honor of his late mother, a Washington, D.C., public school principal, to encourage students to enter teaching careers in urban school areas.

Mr. Rand continues to serve on a number of boards and advisory committees. He holds a B.A. from American University and an M.B.A. from Stanford University, where he was also a Sloan Executive Fellow. He has received honorary doctorate degrees from six universities. He was inducted into the National Sales Hall of Fame (winning the Thomas J. Watson Award) and is a recipient of the esteemed NAACP Image Award. He and his wife, Donna, have two adult children.

Request A. Barry Rand as a speaker for your event.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Octavia E. Butler

Octavia E. Butler possessed a lifelong interest in science fiction and undertook a noteworthy writing career merging science fiction with previously untapped themes of social issues. An introspective child who grew up in a racially mixed community, she began writing at the age of 10 to escape self-described "loneliness and boredom". While pursuing a degree at UCLA, Butler attended two writing workshops outside of her college studies in 1970. She credits these practicums with giving her the most valuable help with her writing, and with helping her form a kinship with the science fiction community that included author and mentor Harlan Ellison and author Samuel R. Delany.

Butler's first published novel, Patternmaster (1976), is ostensibly a reworking of one of her childhood stories. It became part of the five book Patternist series, which explores biology, as well as topics of power and enslavement. Butler's most renowned novel, Kindred (1979), is also a modern exploration of slavery that she described as "grim fantasy" rather than science fiction. The novel breaks from using science as its underlying concept, and instead focuses on descriptions of societal divergence. Butler's recurring use of metaphoric references to issues of race, social class, gender and religion would become her literary hallmark.

Butler won the first of many Nebula and Hugo awards for her novelette Bloodchild (1984), and would later earn such honors as a MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant and the PEN American Center lifetime achievement award. She is notable for being a female African American writer of science fiction—a rarity—but mainly she's notable as one of the most eminent science fiction writers overall.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

11-year-old entrepreneur creates eco-friendly clothes

An 11-year-old girl from the metro Atlanta area has turned her passion for making clothing into a successful online business. The pre-teen entrepreneur designs handmade eco-friendly garments and accessories that are sold on her website to customers across the globe.

Maya Penn, CEO and owner of her own online company called Maya's Ideas, set up the business when she was just eight-years-old. She joined the online crafts store Etsy in 2007 and spent a year coming up with ideas for her own shop.

The home-schooled seventh-grader from Canton, Georgia, says when she's not studying she spends much of her time working on designs in her studio. "It kind of depends on what my schedule is, but I like to be in here because I like to create new items and it's really fun for me," said Penn in an interview with FOX 5 Atlanta.

"I always loved to find fabrics around the house and say well, this might make a good headband or a good hat or something and then I thought one day I thought I could probably make a shop."
Indeed, her business is gaining a growing reputation. Not only does Maya write a blog about her experiences, which includes her love of animation, but she recently featured on a list of talented grade school entrepreneurs.

"It's really fun to animate because you can see your ideas come to life right before your eyes, said Penn. "But it is kind of tedious and time consuming but the work really pays off."
Not only is the Etsy entrepreneur talented, she is socially conscious as well. At least 10 percent of her proceeds go to Atlanta charities and global relief organizations.
"I like making people happy through my items, but some people may not have the money to purchase my items, so I try to help other people and make them happy through donating."


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Carmelo Anthony, Will And Jada Smith Named Among Most Generous Celebs

If the old saying "Give and you shall receive" is true, then Carmelo Anthony and Will and Jada Smith have a karmic bounty headed their way soon. The stars were named numbers 22 and 20 respectively on The Giving Back Fund's "Giving Back 30," a list of the 30 celebrities who made the largest donations to charity in 2010 according to public records.

According to The Giving Back Fund (GBF), the ranking is based on media reports of charitable giving by sports and entertainment professionals and information provided by more than 250 celebrity publicists, attorneys, agents agencies, and managers about their clients. Requests were also sent to charities known for their celebrity affiliations and to major sports leagues and associations.

Through their charity the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation, the couple made hefty donations totaling $900 thousand to the Lupus Foundation, the Baltimore School for the Arts and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Carmelo Anthony gave $837,200 to his alma mater Syracuse University and to the non-profit The Living Classroom Foundation, according to GBF. But an ABC News interview with celebrity stylist Phillip Bloch last fall put Anthony's donations closer to the $4 million mark.

Information on the "Giving Back 30" was confirmed by at least one source other than an initial media source and donations made by a celebrity's foundation were not included on the list since there is no way to track the source of that money, GBF says.

While Anthony and The Smiths ranked high on the list, which also includes writers, producers, musicians and comedians, the top giver was actress Jami Gertz and her husband Antony Ressler whose donations totaled more than $10.5 million given to their Ressler Gertz Foundation. Grants from the foundation were then distributed to to the LA County Museum of Art (for $1.7 million) and to Cedar Sinai Medical Center (for $400,000).

Forbes magazine notes that while Gertz isn't exactly a mainstream actress, her deep-pocketed donation has much to do with the fact that Ressler is the co-founder of Ares Capital, a Los Angeles investment firm that controls more than $40 billion in assets, which has also recently expressed interest in buying the Dodgers.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Bookstore: Hue-Mae

Founded in August 2002, Hue-Man Bookstore & Cafe LLC is a privately held company, specializing in book sales and café delights. Since opening its doors, the bookstore quickly established itself as a cornerstone in the revival of Harlem. Hue-Man is one of the largest and best known African-American bookstores in the country, and enjoys the reputation of a top-flight organization nationwide.

With a stream of events and appearances by well-known guests and authors, Hue-Man has hosted such literary figures as Muhammad Ali, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Former President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Alicia Keys, Walter Mosley, LeRoy Neiman, George Wein, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee – just to name of few. Hue-Man enjoys a prestigious reputation in the book industry and literary world, attracting top-rate authors and entertainment personalities. The bookstore is considered a must on any author’s book tour.

Since its infancy, Hue-Man quickly emerged as a major player in the cultural life of Harlem, becoming a community hub for local New Yorkers as well as a national mecca for intellectual pursuits. Informative, enlightening, and enriching, the bookstore boasts 23 to 25 calendar events per month.

Hue-Man offers the traditional atmosphere of a bookstore, which is warm and inviting, yet modern in its design and √¶sthetically pleasing. The store features the work of African-American authors, a variety of non-ethnic titles, and an extensive children’s collection.

Hue-Man Bookstore & Cafe

2319 Frederick Douglass Blvd
(Between 124th and 125th Streets)
New York, NY 10027
Tel: 212-665-7400
Fax: 212-665-1071

Store Hours:

Mondays - Saturdays 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Sundays 11:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Disney's Dreamers Academy Kicks Off

Finding the right career is never easy, but 100 lucky students will get some help on that front thanks to the fifth annual Disney’s Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine this weekend.

Launched in 2007, the Dreamers Academy helps students explore their options by providing a series of career workshops, networking events and motivational seminars. Students will have a lot to choose from: computer science, dance, aviation, engineering and acting are just some of the seminars they’ll be able to attend. This year, the event’s theme is all about dreaming big, and to shepherd the young adults, a bevy of celebrity guests will be on hand, including event host Steve Harvey, CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien, Yolanda Adams and motivational speaker Jonathan Sprinkles.

The opportunity is open to students in grades 9-12, and while thousands apply, only 100 are chosen. They are stars in their classrooms and have found ways to make a difference in their communities (click here for photos of some of last year’s Dreamers). This year’s retreat is a special milestone as the 500th student will graduate from the program.

The four-day conference kicks off today and runs through Sunday, March 11. will be reporting from the summit in Orlando and will follow some of the teens as they dive into all the Disney's Dreamers Academy has to offer.


African-American theater company uses children's plays to promote giving

Michael Bobbitt is an African-American theater producer with a unique mission. As the black father of a Vietnamese adopted child, Bobbitt understands the need for culture that celebrates diversity while providing role models for children of color. As the producing artistic director of Adventure Theatre in Maryland near Washington, D.C, Bobbitt uses his unique role to create plays for kids interwoven with teaching tools that broaden their horizons, while introducing them to the importance of philanthropy.

In an interview with, a web site that showcases African-American philanthropy, Bobbitt explained the nature of his mission and his latest project. His coming production, The Snowy Day, is based on a children's book of the same name that was the first to feature an African-American child as its main character. Now celebrating its 50th anniversary of publication, The Snowy Day will be presented as a musical adaptation by Adventure Theatre premiering on January 20 and running through February 12, 2012.

Plays produced by Bobbitt incorporate interactive elements such as emails sent to attending children before the shows full of educational elements. Plus, "many of our plays appear on school reading lists," and "we... cross reference our shows with the core curriculum in the schools," Bobbitt told the black philanthropy site. "When schools come to our theatre for field trips, the teachers are provided study guides. These are interactive guides with lesson plans and other exercises that teachers can use in the classroom before or after they see a play."

In these ways, Bobbitt uses his productions to entertain kids and enlighten. "Independent studies show that performing arts such as those offered by Adventure Theatre can have positive impacts on a child's socio-economic growth, or generally speaking their prosperity," Bobbitt said. "By providing a creative outlet through performing arts, Adventure Theatre is helping to deter delinquent behavior in youths."

The philanthropy portion of Adventure Theatre's projects is another innovative element. "The other thing that we do is to tie our main stage shows into some sort of community engagement project," Bobbitt told the philanthropy web site. "So, we partner with other non-profit arts, humanities and social service organizations."

"For example, when we produced GO DOG GO by PD Eastman, we partnered with the Montgomery County Maryland Humane society to host a Dog Adoption Day," Bobbitt continued. "The Humane Society drove their mobile adoption unit to the theatre and we successfully helped them adopt out 8 animals."

Learn more about how Michael Bobbitt uses his Adventure Theatre to promote giving and cultural awareness to kids on the Black Gives Back blog.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Ralph Gilles named President and CEO of SRT brand

Chrysler has announced a rash of personnel changes. Ralph Gilles will now serve as the President and CEO of the company's Street and Racing Technology brand, which be responsible for crafting performance products across the various Chrysler camps. The SRT brand will also take charge of the company's various motorsports activities. Gilles will still hold onto his duties as head honcho of exterior and interior design.

While SRT has long been familiar to car buyers and enthusiasts, this is the first time Chrysler will treat the performance division as a distinct brand. This probably doesn't mean that SRT will replace Dodge, Jeep, or Chrysler branding on a particular vehicle, rather, it's simply an effort to put the company's SRT projects together under a common head, Gilles.

In addition to the SRT changes, Fred Diaz has been appointed President and CEO of Chrysler de Mexico, and Reid Bigland has taken over duties as President and CEO of the Dodge car brand and head of U.S. sales. Bigland will also continue to serve as President and CEO of Chrysler Canada.

David Buckingham will now fill the newly created Chief Operating Officer of Chrysler Canada position, and Joe ChamaSrour will now report to Mike Manly as part of International Operations for the automaker. Click past the break to view the brief press release.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Misty Copeland takes ballet to new heights

New York, NY - Around this time last year, the Oscar-winning movie Black Swan had the nation buzzing about ballet. Natalie Portman's portrayal of 'Swan Queen' Nina Sayers won the actress accolades, but may have reinforced many of the negative perceptions the public has about the industry.

Enter Misty Copeland.

The stunning 29-year-old is a star in the national ballet scene -- and, because of her talents, even caught the eye of musical legend Prince who asked her to perform with him on his most recent tour.

Copeland is the first black female soloist for the American Ballet Theater in two decades. She took her first ballet class at a local Boys and Girls Club when she was 13 and will have a principal role in her company's production of The Firebird, which premieres next March.
Copeland recently spent time speaking to young girls in Black Girls Rock!, a non-profit dedicated to empowering young women of color.

"I think it's so important to have mentors," said Copeland, who grew up in California. "It's just so important to see that it's possible and to see that someone can make it. Now that I'm here, I can set an example and hopefully make things easier for the next black [ballet] dancer."
As a part of theGrio's 'Living Forward' series, Copeland spoke with Todd Johnson about her life on tour and what she's doing to inspire young black girls to follow in her footsteps.


Monday, March 5, 2012

What Color Is My World?: The Lost History of African-American Inventors

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, basketball legend and the NBA's alltime leading scorer, champions a lineup
of little-known African-American inventors in this lively, kid-friendly book.

Did you know that James West invented the microphone in your cell phone? That Fred Jones invented the refrigerated truck that makes supermarkets possible? Or that Dr. Percy Julian synthesized cortisone from soy, easing untold people's pain? These are just some of the black inventors and innovators scoring big points in this dynamic look at several unsung heroes who shared a desire to improve people's lives. Offering profiles with fast facts on flaps and framed by a funny contemporary story featuring two feisty twins, here is a nod to the minds behind the gamma electric cell and the ice-cream scoop, improvements to traffic lights, open-heart surgery, and more - inventors whose ingenuity and perseverance against great odds made our world safer, better, and brighter.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Diddy follows Oprah's footsteps and gets new TV network: How Sean Combs plans to make Comcast cool

A renaissance man never stops working and in Sean "Diddy" Combs' case, we already know him as a Grammy-winning hip-hop pioneer, clothing designer, occasional actor, product endorser, and recently, a successful film producer.

Now he can add one more role to his resume — cable television executive.

Combs is launching a brand new music channel called Revolt on the Comcast cable network that will focus on real-time content, connecting emerging artists and fans through social media. The channel will be a mix between BET and MTV, delivering music and pop culture content with interviews, music videos and news — all live streaming. This will serve as a one-of-a-kind promotional platform for new artists to gain exposure and Combs' hopes will emerge as a huge influence for an evolving music industry.

What's also really neat about Revolt and Comcast, is its push for minority-owned channels after acquiring NBC Universal. This deal follows Magic Johnson's Aspire, which will highlight successes in the African-American community. Film director Robert Rodriguez also scored a deal with El Rey, an entertainment channel for Latino audiences featuring Hispanic public figures.

Revolt will be pitted up against veteran music channels MTV and VHI. But because these stations have resorted to music documentaries and reality TV shows, Combs has a vision to make Revolt "represent you and the soul of music that's been missing for a long time."

Revolt will launch next year.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Ava DuVernay: First Black Woman to win Best Director award at the Sundance

The Huffington Post reported that Ava Duvernay became the first black woman to win 'best director' at Sundance Film Festival Sunday. Her film, Middle of Nowhere is the second full-length feature for the director. Her first, I WIll Follow was released last March to glowing reviews. DuVernay's production company Forward Movement, produced her films. Her distribution company, African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement, (AFFRM), released Middle of Nowhere.

In her acceptance speech, Duvernay said that it was important that Nowhere be seen beyond the film festival and for "filmmakers of color to see one another's films and have them seen." 'Nowhere' was picked up by Participant Media for distribution last week.

Her win came as a shock, as Benh Zeitlin's Beasts Of The Southern Wild, a story inspired by the people who refused to leave New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, was considered the favorite. (Beasts took home the Dramatic Grand Jury Prize.)

"Middle of Nowhere is a story about a woman named Ruby who has lost her husband to incarceration," DuVernay told Jason Scoggins of the Sundance Project 2012. "It touches on the prison wives' tale, but really the story of a woman who's living in a relationship that's imbalanced."


Friday, March 2, 2012

James McLurkin

"Understanding nature is the key to unlocking the secrets of intelligence," said MIT graduate student James McLurkin. Intrigued by the behavioral patterns of swarm reproductive labor groups, McLurkin developed 'swarm' microrobots based on the principles of nature to carry out cooperative, real-world tasks. An inventor who has pushed the frontier of microrobotics, McLurkin was named the 2003 winner of the $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize.

Measuring 4.5 inches, McLurkin's swarm robots are programmed to emulate the behavior of bees, with capabilities to cluster, disperse, follow and orbit. Equipped with bump sensors, a self-charger, a radio modem and an audio system, they are autonomous yet travel in a fleet. When one robot makes a discovery, it signals the group to execute the task together.

The swarm robots were originally built under a team McLurkin managed at iRobot in Massachusetts. As part of his doctoral research at MIT, McLurkin focused on complex group behavior through continued development of the largest swarm of robots. His research concentrated on writing software to implement behavioral attributes for the swarm and examine how the robots respond to one another, while increasing their collective power. Potential uses of the swarm include organizing groups of 20,000 robots to detect land mines, search through earthquake rubble, or explore Mars.

For McLurkin's undergraduate thesis, he invented 12 cubic-inch robotic ants—the world's smallest self-contained autonomous robots, based on the characteristics of an ant colony. During the project, he kept a large container of ants on his desk to observe their roles and interactions. His robotic ants were programmed to hunt for food, send messages to each other and even play tag.

Inventing since the age of three, McLurkin's inspirations sprung from Lego® bricks, model trains, video games, BMX bicycles and his parents—who were key role models. During the course of his graduate work at MIT, McLurkin stepped into the role model position as a teacher in The Saturday Engineering Enrichment and Discovery Academy (a college preparatory program at MIT). Riding into class on his BMX bike for a physics lesson was one of the many ways he incorporated his favorite toys into activities and demonstrations. According to McLurkin, "It is important that teens truly understand how much fun and exciting inventing can be."

McLurkin received his S.B. in Electrical Engineering from MIT, his M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and his S.M. and Ph.D. in computer science from MIT. McLurkin began his post doc at the University of Washington in 2008; he is using probabilistic models for algorithm development. His words of advice to aspiring inventors: "Empowerment and go."


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Ne-Yo Joins Motown Roster, Also Appointed Senior VP of A&R

Left to right: Barry Weiss, Ne-Yo and Ethiopia Habtemariam

Singer/songwriter Ne-Yo is moving from Def Jam to Motown Records, the company told exclusively today. In addition, the Grammy Award-winning artist will bring his Compound Entertainment imprint to the venerable label and take on a creative role at Motown as senior VP of A&R.

In that role, Ne-Yo will serve as a producer and mentor to the label's artists and also discover and sign new talent. Ne-Yo, who co-stars in the current George Lucas-produced film "Red Tails" about the Tuskegee Airmen fighter pilots, will appear on the upcoming season of NBC-TV's " The Voice" as a mentor for Cee Lo Green's team. Ne-Yo will mark his debut as a Motown artist with his fifth studio album, slated for this summer.

Backbeat: Ne-Yo, Ludacris, Jermaine Dupri at ASCAP'S ATL Legends Dinner

"His track record of success at Def Jam will always be a benchmark," says Universal Republic and Island Def Jam Motown chairman/CEO Barry Weiss in a statement announcing the news. "But this move to Motown will provide new and inspiring challenges for Ne-Yo as both an artist and a key member of the new senior management team that is taking form at the label in 2012."

Ne-Yo's move to Motown marks the latest step in the revitalization of the Universal Music Group division. Ethiopia Habtemariam was appointed senior VP of Motown, formerly headed by president Sylvia Rhone, last September. She concurrently serves as executive VP/head of urban music for Universal Music Publishing Group.

Ethiopia Habtemariam Named Senior Vice President of Motown Records

"We are committed to discovering, developing and nurturing R&B/soul superstars here at Motown," says Habetemariam in the co-announcement with Weiss. "In Ne-Yo we have both a global superstar and arguably one of the best songwriters in music. His presence on the executive team only strengthens our commitment to be the very best in R&B."

Ne-Yo added, "I'm honored that I¹ve been given such a prestigious title and trusted with such responsibility; terrified because I know that playing this role in the fashion of one of my career role models, Mr. Smokey Robinson -- these are big shoes to fill. But trust, I can handle it."

Coming off a No. 1 Hot 100 hit last year as a featured guest on Pitbull's "Give Me Everything" (also featuring Afrojack and Nayer), Ne-Yo released four albums during his Def Jam tenure. With cumulative U.S. sales of 4.3 million, according to Nielsen SoundScan, the four include: 2010's "Libra Scale," 2008's "Year of the Gentleman," 2007's "Because of You" and 2006's "In My Own Words." The two latter albums were both No. 1 debuts on the Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. His hit singles includes "Miss Independent" -- which netted Ne-Yo Grammy Awards for Best R&B Song and Best Male R&B Vocal Performance - "Closer" and "Mad."


HBCU Mentor

HBCUMentor is a student services website representing the statewide and independent colleges and universities of HBCU.

HBCUMentor can serve as a valuable tool in choosing a college or university, planning to meet admissions requirements, and getting answers to commonly asked questions. HBCUMentor is designed to be useful throughout the admissions process, from the time you begin your research to the time you're set to attend your school of choice.

Plan for College
  • The Planner Timeline provides students with a general guideline of the financial aid and college application process. It begins with the 8th grade, and follows the process through the senior year of high school.
  • The Freshman Planner helps high school students plan their high school education to meet college entrance requirements. It allows students to track their high school work and compare it against the admissions requirements of the schools in HBCUMentor.
  • The Add Your Counselor module allows your high school counselor to view your MyMentor section of HBCUMentor.
Select a School
  • The Comparative View module allows you to compare HBCUMentor campus statistics from the available parameters that interest you most.
  • The Campus Tours module provides online tours of the colleges and universities in HBCUMentor. It includes statistical data, photos of campuses, links to official campus sites, and other useful information. You can also choose between viewing information for undergraduate schools or graduate schools.
  • The Matching Assistant module allows you to select criteria that you would like your prospective college to meet. Once you have made your selections, HBCUMentor will display all matching HBCUMentor colleges.
  • The Distance Search module allows you to search for HBCUMentor colleges near a specific zip code.
  • The HBCUMentor Search module is a search engine specific to HBCUMentor. It will search only the websites of HBCUMentor colleges and universities. You can even limit your search to the colleges and universities in which you are interested.
Financial Aid
  • The Financial Aid Guide provides an overview of financial aid, including the different types of financial aid, eligibility information, and how to get it. It also provides a timeline for the college application process and outlines, among other things, important financial aid deadlines and milestones.
  • The Scholarship Search module helps you find scholarships that match your specific skills, interests, and background.
Apply Online
  • The Online Applications module allows you to apply online to the campus or campuses of your choice. You can complete and submit your admissions application from the HBCUMentor website. This module also helps you manage the applications you are working on and those you have submitted.
Career Center
  • The Career Keyword Search module allows you to search for careers by keyword or description.
  • The Career Information module provides an overview of the career center and information as to how each module of the career section operates and what they mean for students.
  • The Career Self-Assessment module provides links to assessment surveys designed to help you identify your interests, skills, values, and personality. This information will be useful later when you're trying to find a career that suits you.
  • The My Interest Finder helps you discover how your interests relate to the working world.
  • The My Work Values Finder helps you identify the work values that are important to you, and explore related occupations.
  • The Career Matching Assistant will help you find a career based on your interests, skills, and preferences. Once you find jobs in which you are interested, the assistant will provide you with a list of related majors and colleges that offer them. Once you are done here, you can add your results to your portfolio for easy management and future reference.
  • The List of Careers module provides a comprehensive listing of careers organized by type.
  • The Links to Career Resources module will lead you to internship and volunteer resources.

Ask an Expert
  • The Student Support module provides assistance on technical problems with this website.
  • The Frequently Asked Questions module answers the most commonly asked questions about going to college and using the HBCUMentor website.
  • The MyMentor module allows you to maintain a custom list of colleges and universities in which you are interested. You can choose to navigate HBCUMentor viewing only your select schools. You may add or delete colleges from your list at any time.
  • The Applications section will track where you stopped entering your information. It will link you to all applications you currently have in progress for colleges and universities with an online application on HBCUMentor. It will also provide the date and confirmation number of your submitted applications.
  • The Colleges section will store and allow you to access any college you have added to MyMentor from any other module. These colleges will be used in worksheets and tables in other sections of this site. You may add or delete colleges from this list at any time.
  • The E-mail section will allow you to store your sent and received e-mail messages.
  • The Profile section will store the information you enter about yourself. Make sure to keep your information as accurate and up-to-date as possible. The profile will be used to autopopulate your applications and search for potential scholarships that match your profile.
  • The Recruiter module allows you to create and edit your academic profile, including your background and your schools of interest. Once you've filled out your profile, you can release it to colleges and universities for recruitment purposes through HBCUMentor.
  • The Events section will allow you to access your personal or college events on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
  • The Careers section will allow you to access any careers or majors which have met your specifications based on the Career Self-Assessment and Career Matching Assistant modules.
  • The MyMentor Freshman Planner section will allow you to view a summary of your current courses in comparison to the selected schools in MyMentor. This information is based on what you have entered in the Freshman Planner module.