Monday, April 30, 2012

Its Not Over Until You Win: How to Become the Person You Always Wanted to Be No Matter What the Obstacle

The man who inspired millions with his television shows and his bestselling book, "Live Your Dreams", returns with more great advice on overcoming life's obstacles. Imbued with Brown's optimism and enthusiasm, this book is an irresistible addition to the popular self-help market National print publicity. 6-city author tour. TV & radio satellite tours.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Rapper Styles P’s Juice Bar Promotes Healthy Living in Black Community

Anyone familiar with Castle Hill Avenue in the Bronx, NY is used to seeing an assortment of bodegas, car accessory shops, hair salons and nail shops. It’s not the neighborhood most would expect a healthy living juice bar to be located, but according to David Styles, known to music fans as Styles P, that’s exactly why it’s needed.

A little over a year ago, Styles, along with his business partners, established Juices for Life, a local juice bar that serves up natural and healthy beverages. According to Styles, who serves as the face of the business, his job is to spread the word on the benefits of juicing to communities of color. He swears by his commitment to the lifestyle daily on Twitter, in every interview he does and in general conversation. These days he wants to take being health-conscious a step further, whether that’s offering health tips or franchising his business, Styles is interested in pursuing it all. “One way or another,” he says, “we all need a reminder to stay healthy or spread the word about getting to that healthy way of being to someone else.” caught up with the enterprising entertainer, who spoke on his budding business and healthy lifestyle.

What was the impetus behind starting Juices for Life?

My partner had a juice bar prior to this one and I used to be a frequent customer of it. When I first started going, it was like me and six other people total as customers. It was just such a life-changer for me that I felt like I had to spread the word, so it kind of became my hangout spot. So I would be like, “If you want to meet me, meet me at the juice bar.” And it just became something that I tried to put all of my friends on to. It became home base for me, a way of life.

When exactly did you fully immerse yourself into the lifestyle of juicing?

I would say probably about 10 years ago. Yeah, I’ve been juicing for a while.

Most people wouldn’t necessarily associate rapping and juicing. How did these two worlds come together in your life?

Well, you know, just being a rapper, moving around so much and living the fast life, I would always look for balance. Coming off the road, I would get some juice, some natural fruits in my system—just something natural to bring some balance.

Did you grow up with that kind of thinking or was it something you learned along the way?

We all grow up with our moms telling us to make sure to eat an apple a day and to eat the veggies. I think that thought leaves you sometime around [the age of] 18. I think my body kind of knew. I was always tired and I was already not getting any sleep. I would eat something and I would feel weighed down. I just started paying attention to my body, like I really needed to balance it all out.

Then as I started balancing, it became a way of life for me. I started changing from eating a lot of fast food, to eating a little bit of fast food, to I don’t eat fast food at all. So you know, it was an eye-opener for me, plus it helped me with my work. I lost a lot of weight. In the studio, it would be a lot for me to lay [a track] in the booth, because I would always get short-winded. After juicing, everything just became more open, the vision became clearer for me.

So what is your approach to encouraging people who aren’t necessarily interested in juicing to get into it?

By giving them the real, you know. I think a lot of people, especially when it comes to being healthy or living a healthy lifestyle, they look at it in a light like how people look at nerds. Like, it’s not “cool” to be healthy. We try to change that mindset because your body is your temple. There is nothing more important than your body.

With [our customers] being a hip-hop crowd, we try to say: juice is cool, chicks are cool or dudes are cool—whatever sex you may be—cars are cool, nice gear is cool… all of that is cool. But it’s not cool, if you’re not in good health. Like, you can’t even begin to think about getting that or even if you do, you’re not going to [get the opportunity to] enjoy it if you’re not in good health. So we try to push them to understand basically that we are the future, our children are the future, and their children are the future. We’ve been doing this for a long time, as far as fast food and eating the wrong things, so it’s going to take a long time to get it back right. We just don’t hide the truth. When you get older, you’re going to wish you could do some of the things you were doing when you were young. By juicing up and coming here, that’s the way to do it.

Why did you choose Castle Hill Avenue as your location? Why the Bronx?

Our other location was in Harlem on 125th Street. When we were looking for a new location, we said we wanted to be somewhere that Harlem people could get to Yonkers people could get to, Bronx people could get to. The Bronx just seemed like a good spot, and actually, the Bronx is one of the poorest and unhealthiest counties in the world. So we felt definitely we had to start in the Bronx first.

A lot of the times with juicing, you think about Jamba Juice or you’re thinking straight islander. We like to fuse all of that. When you come here, you’ll see White, Black, Spanish, every age group. But as minorities we don’t get health insurance and we don’t go to the doctor before it’s too late, so this right here we feel is prevention for later on, in addition to exercising and eating well. We just tried to put it in a spot where there’s everything—multicultural, a big melting pot—where it was poor, uneducated and where it was needed.

Heavy D passed recently and many Blacks within entertainment are dying at a younger age. What are you doing about educating people about having a healthy lifestyle?

I don’t specifically go for entertainment; we go for people. People are people. But when I see entertainers—I live by it, so my every word whenever I see them, I spread the knowledge in a way that will get the word bigger and get it out there to even more people. As far as entertainers, I feel like those are the people who know about health, but keep it to themselves. Not so much in hip-hop, but in general because if you’re an entertainer, you get the trainers, the nutritionists, the dieticians and all that. It’s very hard to find an A-list celebrity who’s out of shape. Think about it realistically. We try to reach the people who don’t have the ability to shop at Whole Foods, or go to Mrs. Green’s [Natural Market], who need the education. If anything, we’re asking entertainers, athletes and stars for help to make it cool. We’ve got to make it look cool for the kids because they’re not thinking about their future.

How much of an education did you have to commit yourself to in order to keep this lifestyle and your business going?

Just from being a health-conscious person, I think that as you go and you look into things you get [your education] up just like with anything else you do. Everyday we try to learn things. We have customers who come here and put us onto things. We’re here for the community and we’re here to learn. If you have a problem and we don’t know about it, we’ll look it up, which we do when people come here for certain things or for certain reasons. We tell them to give us some time while we look it up and if we can’t help, we’ll recommend them to someone.

What’s your ultimate goal with this business?

Basically, juicing is a lifestyle and it goes hand-to-hand with eating correctly and exercising. We have people who come in here who give us eating tips. Like any customer, if you have good tips, spread it and we’re going to continue spreading that word. Like I was telling some of my dudes in here that I just found out about oil pulling, like sesame and sunflower oil pulling. I had never really heard of it, so we’re trying to see if it works and if it does, we’re going to spread the word. The thing about our juice bar is that we’re not about the dollar. We’re at 1026 Castle Hill in the Bronx, but we try to spread the word around the world. And of course everyone can’t get here, so we tell people to go buy a Jack LaLanne Power Juicer or a Breville juicer. Go get you fruits, and look up anybody’s juice bar—ours, anybody’s—and just mix your fruits and juice up. That’s our main focus and goal that we get up and do everyday.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Little Black Book of Success: Laws of Leadership for Black Women

In this engaging and invaluable “mentor in your pocket,” three dynamic and successful black female executives share their strategies to help all black women, at any level of their careers, play the power game—and win.

Rich with wisdom, this practical gem focuses on the building blocks of true leadership—self-confidence, effective communication, collaboration, and courage—while dealing specifically with stereotypes (avoid the Mammy Trap, and don’t become the Angry Black Woman) and the perils of self-victimization (don’t assume that every challenge occurs because you are black or female).

Some leaders are born, but most leaders are made—and The Little Black Book of Success will show you how to make it to the top, one step at a time.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Earl G. Graves Sr.

Earl G. Graves Sr. is the founder and publisher of Black Enterprise magazine and a nationally recognized authority on black business development. In 1972, he was named one of the 10 most outstanding minority businessmen in the country by the president of the United States and received the National Award of Excellence in recognition of his achievements in minority business enterprise. He is also listed in Who’s Who in America and was named one of 200 future leaders of the country by Time magazine in 1974.

Today he is chairman of Earl G. Graves Ltd., parent corporation of Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., publisher of Black Enterprise magazine—a business-service publication targeted to black professionals, executives, entrepreneurs, and policy makers in the public and private sector. Black Enterprise magazine has been profitable since its 10th issue and yearly sales are steadily increasing. The magazine has a paid circulation of 500,000 with a readership of approximately 4 million. Since 1997, the magazine has been a five-time recipient of the FOLIO: Editorial Excellence Award in the business/finance consumer magazine category.

In January 2006, Graves named his eldest son, Earl “Butch” Graves, the company’s new chief executive officer. The promotion of Graves Jr. to CEO represents the transition of Earl G. Graves Ltd. to the next generation of leadership. His formal title is president and CEO.

Earl G. Graves Sr. was previously chairman and CEO of Pepsi-Cola of Washington, D.C., L.P., the largest minority-controlled Pepsi-Cola franchise in the United States. The company spanned a franchise territory of more than 400 square miles, including Washington, D.C. and Prince George’s County, Maryland. He acquired the $60 million franchise in July 1990 and at the end of 1998, sold it back to the parent company for which he continued to be actively involved as chairman of the Pepsi African-American Advisory Board. In March 2005, Pepsi awarded him the Harvey C. Russell Inclusion Award, recognizing him for outstanding achievement in support of PepsiCo’s diversity and inclusion efforts.

Graves is a staunch advocate of higher education and equal opportunity. In recognition of his support of entrepreneurial education and his many years of contributing to Morgan State University, including a $1 million gift to advance business education, the University renamed its school of business and management the Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management. The announcement was made by University President Dr. Earl Richardson during the Black Enterprise 25th Anniversary Gala on Aug. 9, 1995.

Graves was an administrative assistant to the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy from 1965 to 1968. After Senator Kennedy’s assassination, Graves formed his own management consulting firm to advise corporations on urban affairs and economic development. His firm’s clients included major multinational companies.

Graves is currently a director of Aetna Inc. He retired from the boards of AMR Corp. (American Airlines), DaimlerChrysler AG Corp., Federated Department Stores, Inc., and Rohm & Haas Corporation.

In 2002, Fortune magazine named Graves one of the 50 most powerful and influential African Americans in corporate America. He holds a seat on the board of selectors of the American Institute for Public Service, the Advisory Council of the Character Education Partnership, the board of the Steadman-Hawkins Sports Medicine Foundation, the board of The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the national advisory board of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. He is also a trustee of Howard University, the Committee for Economic Development, the Special Contributions Fund of the NAACP, and the New York Economic Club. Graves was appointed to serve on a presidential commission for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and was a civilian aide to the secretary of the U.S. Army from 1978 to 1980.

In 2007, Graves was inducted into the U.S. Business Hall of Fame, which recognizes the contributions of the nation’s most distinguished corporate professionals who have enriched the econonmy and inspired young people to pursue excellence in business and in life.

Graves is an ROTC graduate. He attended Airborne School and Ranger School and finished his Army career (in the rank of Captain) as a member of the 19th Special Forces Group, the Green Berets. He received a U.S. Army Commendation Award.

Long active in scouting, Graves is currently a vice president on the National Executive Board and a member of the marketing committee for the national office of the Boy Scouts of America. He was formerly National Commissioner of Scouting and chairman of the National Communications Committee. He has also received the highest recognition awards for volunteer service in scouting: the Silver Beaver Award (1969), the Silver Antelope Award (1986), and the Silver Buffalo Award (1988).

During the span of his business and professional career, Graves has received numerous awards and honors for his outstanding business leadership and community service. In 1998, he received the Marietta Tree Award for Public Service from the Citizens Committee for New York City Inc., the Charles Evans Hughes Gold Medal Award from The National Conference for Community and Justice, the Ronald H. Brown Leadership Award from the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the Merrick-Moore Spaulding National Achievement Award at the 100th Anniversary celebration of North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Co., among others. In 1995, he was named New York City Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young, and inducted into the National Sales Hall of Fame by the Association of Sales and Marketing Executives. Other awards he has received include the Dow Jones & Co. Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence (1992), the Free Enterprise Award from the International Franchise Association (1991), and the New York State Regents Medal of Excellence.

In 1999, Graves received the 84th NAACP Spingarn Medal, the highest achievement award for African Americans, and he was named one of the Top 100 Business News Luminaries of the Century by TJFR, a business journalism publication. That same year, he also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Caribbean Tourism Organization. In 2005, Graves was inducted into the Sales and Marketing Executives International (SMEI) Academy of Achievement Hall of Fame and named Entrepreneur of the Century by Atlanta Life Financial Group at the company’s centennial celebration. In January 2006, he was immortalized in wax when ExxonMobil commissioned a likeness of him to be exhibited in the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. In August, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) for his contributions to the field of journalism and the publishing industry. In October, civil rights activist and founding Black Enterprise Board of Advisors member Julian Bond interviewed Graves for “An Evening with Earl Graves,” a program produced for The HistoryMakers that aired on the PBS network in February 2007.

Graves is a member of the National Black College Hall of Fame, and he has also lectured at Yale University as a Poynter Fellow. He received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Morgan State College (now Morgan State University) in Baltimore, Maryland, and has received honorary degrees from more than 65 colleges and universities, including his alma mater.

Elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000, Graves is continually sought out as a keynote speaker by small and large corporations, as well as the public and non-profit sectors of business in America. He authored a book titled How to Succeed in Business Without Being White, in which he talks about his strategies for success. Published by HarperBusiness Publications, the book was released in April 1997 and made the best-seller list in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. It was also selected as a finalist for the 1997 Financial Times/Booz-Allen & Hamilton Global Business Book Award.

Graves was born in Brooklyn, New York, and currently resides in Westchester County with his wife of more than 48 years, Barbara. Mr. and Mrs. Graves have three sons, all successful professionals who work in the family’s businesses, and eight grandchildren.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Black Diamonds: The Evolutions of Blacks in Baseball

Black Diamonds: The Evolutions of Blacks in Baseball is a film that chronicles the evolution of Blacks in baseball from segregation to integration and includes exclusive interviews with living baseball legends Ernie Banks, Frank Robinson, "Sweet" Lou Johnson, Tommy Lasorda and Joe Torre. To learn more about Black Diamonds become a Bill Duke Insider.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Grandmother graduates college after 42 years

Thursday was the graduation day a Hamden grandmother has been looking forward to for 42 years.

Dora Anne Council, 76, was among the 870 graduates to receive their diplomas at Gateway Community College Thursday night.

"They said, 'Grandma, you're one of a kind.' But I'm not one of kind because all you have to do is want something bad enough," Council said.

In 1969, she first enrolled in what was then called South Central Community College. Shortly after, she decided to put her education on hold to help support her family.

"I wanted to go to college when I was young, but I knew I couldn't because I had to get a job," Council said. "I lucked out and got a job as a telephone operator and that was a good accomplishment."

Thirty years later, she decided it was time to go back to school, and she had the full support of her family when she went back to what is now Gateway Community College.

"I told her, 'Look mom, you want to go back. It's your turn now,'" her son, Jimmy-Lee Moore, said. "Hey, I have the money, I'll pay for whatever you need. You let me know."

On Thursday night, Council sat amongst her classmates, most of whom are around the same age as her grandchildren.

"They think I'm so smart. I said, 'I'm no smarter than you are,'" Council said. "The answers are in the book."

When Dora's name was called out, there was a huge round of applause.

"It feels wonderful! Wonderful! Wonderful!" she exclaimed following graduation.

She received an associate degree in general studies.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Gerald ‘Jerry’ Lawson: Inventor of the Cartridge-based Video Game

Gerald ‘Jerry’ Lawson (1940-2011) is a singular figure in video game and computer history. He’s a self-taught electronics genius who, with incredible talents, audacity, and strong guidance from his parents, managed to end up at the top of his profession despite the cultural tides flowing against him. Jerry Lawson passed on April 8, 2011 at the age of 70.

Early Life & Education

Gereald ‘Jerry’ Lawson was originally a Queens native who moved out to Silicon Valley in the ’70s. He grew up in a Jamaica housing project and went to Queens College and CCNY. He moved out to Silicon Valley where he was a major part of the early tech scene.


Jerry Lawson has spent over 40 years in the electronics industry in a variety of fields, including video display technology, microwave and RF systems, optics, digital system design, video game hardware and software design and development, analog and digital computers, satellite technology and much more. During his career he has worked for many well known companies such as Signetics, Fairchild, Kaiser Electronics, Monolithic Memories, PRD Electronics, Grumman Aircraft, ITT and others.

In the early 1980′s he started his own company, Videosoft, that produced video games for the Atari 2600 console and OEM products for Parker Brothers, Milton Bradley, Mattel, CBS and Amiga. Jerry has been a ham radio operator for more than 50 years (WA6LVN) and was involved with the mentor program at Stanford University.

His earliest foray into consumer electronics began early on, but it wasn’t until he joined Fairchild in 1970 that he really made his mark on the tech industry. During that time, he became the only black member of the infamous Homebrew Computer Club that counted Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniack as members.

Fairchild Channel F – 1st Cartridge-based Video Game

While Jerry worked for Fairchild, he developed the first home console that used cartridges. Jerry designed the game system (Fairchild Channel F), the cartridge, and its controller. See the previous link for a list of games.

FairChild Channel F Game System designed by Jerry Lawson

The ‘Channel F’ came out just one year before Atari’s cartridge-based console, the VCS, opening the floodgates of modern gaming. He was honored at this year’s GDC for his monumental contribution to modern gaming.

Jerry Lawson also designed and produced the Demolition Derby arcade game, while head of Videosoft game developer.

Although he was a video game pioneer, it seems that Lawson lost some respect for the genre in recent years.

Lawson had apparently developed diabetes in the past few years and was confined to a wheelchair. His family friend David Erhart said,

“He continued building devices to control telescopes, lasers, tools, etc. up until the day he went to the hospital. His workbench had more tools than most people would even know what to do with. He taught me quite a bit and I’ll miss him sorely.”

Black in Gaming honors Jerry Lawson a month before his death during the International Game Developers Conference in March 2011.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Rob Hardy, Director/Writer/Producer

Rob Hardy, who is a recent nominee of the HBO Director to Watch Award, broke into network television with his January 2008 directorial debut of the Emmy Award winning show ER. Soon after, Black Enterprise Magazine listed him among the Top 40 Entertainers under 40 (2008). Since recently wrapping production on Stomp the Yard: Homecoming for Sony Pictures, Hardy has returned to television with a directing stint on the CBS series Criminal Minds.

Hardy began his career as a high school Senior, with the camcorder-shot movie G-Man. While pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering at Florida A & M University, he made the leap to film with the low-budget motion picture Chocolate City. This experience earned him the institution's highest honor, the Bernard Hendricks Student Leadership Award, and launched his company Rainforest Films. The underground buzz on the project soon led to his controversial film Trois. Hardy not only directed and co-wrote the thriller, he was also instrumental in self-distributing the project to be the fastest Independent African American film to pass the $1million dollar mark. In 2003, after directing the critically acclaimed thriller Pandora's Box, he added the role of "Producer" to his credits by collaborating with business partner Will Packer, to produce Motives. 2004 saw Hardy Executive Producing Trois: The Escort, and penning an "untitled Usher" project for MTV Films. Hardy then wrote and directed the spiritually themed drama entitled The Gospel, and produced the companion Gospel Live!. Executive producing Mekhi Phifer's directorial film debut Puff Puff Pass, soon followed, before serving as Executive Producer of Stomp The Yard, which held the #1 position at the box office for two weekends in January of 2007 and received the 2007 Movie of the Year Award from the BET Hip Hop awards.

Afterwards came Motives: Retribution and Three Can Play that Game. His hard-earned success has garnered a 2006 “Best Screenplay” (Black Movie Awards) nomination for The Gospel. The Hollywood Reporter (December 2002) listed him amongst the New Establishment of Black Power Brokers.

Florida A&M University awarded him with the Meritorious Achievement Award, which is the highest honor bestowed on an alumnus. After which he received the inaugural Woody Strode / Paul Robeson Award of Excellence from his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

His company Rainforest Films, was listed as one of the Top 25 Money Makers in Entertainment (2007) by Black Enterprise Magazine. Most recently Hardy has continued his network episodic directing with stints on Criminal Minds and NBC’s Heroes (the webisodes). With several studio projects in development Hardy has also broken into reality television with his creating Sprite Step Off for MTV2. Additionally, Hardy completed studies at the New York Film Academy, and has begun directing commercial projects for clients, including: CNN, TBS (Turner Broadcasting), American Honda, Coca-Cola, Georgia Lottery and The National Cancer Institute. He serves on the Advisory Board for the International Feature Project (IFP) Film Lab series. He resides in Atlanta, GA with his wife and son.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

African American Images

PUBLISHING - African American Images publishes and distributes books of an Africentric nature that promote self-esteem, collective values, liberation, and skill development. Please check our publishing guidelines to find out the type of books that we will and will not publish

DISTRIBUTION - You will find books that we have published in Culture Conscious and mainstream bookstores nationwide from coast to coast! In addition, our published authors now have the benefit of reaching a global market of potential readers through our website.

CURRICULUM - African American Images is the proud owner of SETCLAE, (Self-Esteem Through Culture Leads to Academic Development), an Africentric multicultural curriculum designed for today's youth. Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu also provides workshops for parents, teachers and students (at your facility). Our program is a model curriculum that provides a mechanism from which educators, and parents can teach their children the positive aspects of their cultural heritage and simultaneously increase their self-esteem and their desire to excel. If you are interested in establishing a right of passage program please contact Dr. Kunjufu. 

We will be glad to offer assistance.

A few examples of the type of titles which we publish
24 Reasons Why African Americans Fail-Dumas, The Egyptian Philosophers-Asante, The Mis-Education of the Negro (reprint) Woodson, Sisters Helping Sisters-Wright, Great Negro's Past And Present: vol.II-Kunjufu, Myles, Wilson

To see more about these and other titles check our selections review section.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Tray Chaney - Radical Readers [Music Video]

Tray Chaney aka Poot from HBO's The Wire - Radical Readers [Music Video] [@traychaney]
Directed by Lamar Tyler for Tyler New Media, Inc. [@lamartyler]
Produced by Don Cox for Fire Drop Music Group [@iamdoncox]
Created for MSEA (Maryland State Education Association)

Friday, April 20, 2012

John H. Johnson

John H. Johnson was the founder of a major international media and cosmetics empire that includes EBONY and JET magazines, Fashion Fair Cosmetics and EBONY Fashion Fair. Founded in 1942, Johnson Publishing is the number one African American publishing company in the world.

Johnson was one of America’s most successful and wealthiest entrepreneurs. Ebony, his flagship publication, is the nation's number one African American-focused magazine with a monthly readership of over 10 million. In 1982, he became the first African American to be named one of the 400 richest people in America by Forbes magazine. In 1996, President Bill Clinton awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the nation.

Johnson was born a descendant of slaves in Arkansas City, Ark., in 1918. At the time, no high schools for blacks existed in Arkansas City. His mother’s dream was for Johnson to finish high school. So the family moved to Chicago and Johnson graduated from DuSable High School, where his classmates included Nat King Cole and Redd Foxx. Here, Johnson’s ambition and drive landed him several leadership positions including senior class president, editor of the newspaper, and yearbook editor.

In 1936, the University of Chicago offered him a tuition scholarship but Johnson had no way to pay for expenses. After impressing Supreme Liberty Life Insurance Company president Harry Pace with a speech he delivered at an Urban League dinner, Pace offered Johnson a job as an office boy. This job provided him with the funds to attend college. Johnson attended both the University of Chicago and Northwestern University.

CenterJohnson’s abilities led to increased responsibilities, and he eventually became Mr. Pace’s personal assistant. One of Mr. Johnson’s tasks was to collect news articles of interest to the black community and then brief Mr. Pace on them. It was at this point that the idea for a black news publication was born.

Unable to secure any bank financing for his project, Mr. Johnson created the Johnson Publishing Company with a $500 loan against his mother's furniture. He began publication of the Negro Digest in November of 1942. It was a success from the start and with the help of magazine distributor Joseph Levy, Negro Digest circulation reached 50,000 in only six months. During this time he also married his wife, Eunice.

Trying to reach an even wider audience, Mr. Johnson modeled his next project on magazines like LIFE and Look and created Ebony, a magazine designed to bring hope and positive images to African Americans following World War II. In addition to highlighting the achievements of successful African Americans, Ebony also dealt with the political and social issues facing blacks in America. The unparalleled success of the publication led to the creation of Tan, Jet, Hue, Ebony Man and Ebony Jr. Mr. Johnson also expanded his media ventures into radio, television and book publishing.

His prominence and visibility in the African American community led to several special government appointments including trips with Vice President Nixon to Africa in 1957 and later to Russia and Poland in 1959. In 1970, President Nixon appointed him as a member to the President's Commission for the Observance of the 25th Anniversary of the United Nations.

In addition to his media ventures, Mr. Johnson was on the board of trustees for several major corporations and received many important awards, the NAACP's coveted Spingarn Medal of 1966 among them. In 1989, Mr. Johnson published his autobiography, Succeeding Against the Odds.

John Johnson passed away on August 8, 2005 in Chicago at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He was 87.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

National Visionary Leadership Project

Co-founded in 2001 by Camille O. Cosby, Ed.D. and Renee Poussaint, The National Visionary Leadership Project (NVLP), a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, unites generations to create tomorrow's leaders by recording, preserving, and distributing through various media, the wisdom of extraordinary African American elders - Visionaries - who have shaped American history. Some of these elders are nationally recognized leaders, who are interviewed on videotape by NVLP's co-founders and board members. Other Visionary elders, known primarily in their local communities, are selected and interviewed by NVLP college Fellows.

This invaluable primary source material is accessible worldwide on the NVLP website, and permanently archived at the Library of Congress, allowing students, scholars and the public to gain a whole new understanding of this country's past, and the lessons to be learned from it.

An extensive, publicly-accessible internet archive of videotaped interviews with legendary African American elders.

The NVLP Collection of African American Oral Histories; a permanent collection of NVLP interviews established at the Library of Congress.

The Visionary Heritage Fellows Program which trains college students to record and document the oral histories of Visionaries in their home communities.
Production of multimedia lesson plans built upon national educational standards and featuring NVLP interviews.

Intergenerational events
The Intergenerational Summit on the State of Black America, a discussion of contemporary issues between honored Visionaries - distinguished in the humanities, arts and sciences - and a student audience, held at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.

The NVLP High School Essay Contest, a competition in conjunction with the Summit to introduce DC area high schools students to the Summit honorees. Winning schools receive "Visionary Visits."
Intergenerational Roundtable Discussions ; topical live webcast forums featuring nationally-known Visionaries and a select audience.

The Wisdom Awards Celebration honoring Visionaries distinguished in the Performing Arts with tribute performances by young protégés.

Community Outreach
NVLP's " Legacy Guide" created for African American community groups and churches across the country, to help them with the process of recording their own elders' life histories.
" National Registry of African American Oral Histories," a web-based registry created to keep track of these historic interviews.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Pact The Movie

A gritty, provocative true-life story of three friends from the 'hood, Rameck Hunt, Sampson Davis, and George Jenkins, who made a pact in high school to find a way to go to college and then medical school. They not only accomplished this, but they're now spreading the word to inspire other inner-city kids to stay off of drugs, out of gangs and to take the educational route to a better life. THE PACT captures the pathos of the men's individual journeys, the integrity of their voices and the power of their rare friendship. Their stories affirm the values that ultimately sustained and drove them: courage,tenacity, and faith. And they give tribute to the life of the mind and its power to turn dreams into reality.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Kenneth Frazier

As a volunteer attorney, Kenneth Frazier won the 1997 release of James "Bo" Cochran, who spent 19 years on death row for a murder he didn't commit. In 2011, Frazier became CEO of the second-biggest U.S. drugmaker, Merck & Co, and he could be taking home $11.25 million for his 2011 work.

Ken Frazier is making history ... by proving that good guys don't always finish last. In less than 20 years at Merck, Frazier has made his way from general counsel to CEO of the Fortune 100 pharma company. Frazier, 56, earned his big-league success leading Merck's legal defense against thousands of claims that a painkiller, Vioxx, was causing strokes and heart attacks.

He's also made a point of volunteering to fight far less profitable battles during his career. In 1991, when he was a partner at a Philadelphia law firm, Frazier and two colleagues took on the case of James "Bo" Cochran, an Alabama man who had been wrongly accused of murder; Frazier's team worked pro bono to win Cochran a new trial and, in 1997, the innocent man was acquitted. Not bad for a man who sold tadpoles and newts at a local aquarium to make money during his undergraduate years at Penn State.

What's next for Ken?

Frazier will be at the helm as Merck moves experimental drugs through the final stages of testing. As a result of a decade of research on cardiovascular disease, Merck's close to releasing four pills that are each expected to bring in $1 billion in annual sales by 2016.

In his own words ...

"The pillar of our strategy will remain innovation," Frazier told Bloomberg in November. "Emerging markets is a subset of that innovation strategy."

A little-known fact ...

Frazier, a Harvard-trained lawyer, is the first African-American to lead a major U.S. pharmaceutical company.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Essence: 50 of the Most Inspiring African-Americans

Essence Books presents a revised and updated edition of its popular 2002 hardcover that sold over 40,000 copies.50 of the Most Inspiring African-Americans features dynamic profiles of some of today`s most influential, powerful, and, above all, inspiring African-Americans.This is a coffee table softcover that features people of color who are breaking barriers in political, educational, business, and entertainment arenas, as well as those building up their communities. This exquisite 160-page book includes more than 100 stunning photographs. Includes some of the most inspiring African-Americans of present dayrole models, icons, and innovatorswho are changing our world, are in the news, and are making a difference on both national and grass-roots levels Profiles include such well-known and respected people as Maya Angelou, Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Barack Obama, Condoleeza Rice and Tyra Banks Essence magazine sells over 1 million copies per issue and has approximately 8 million loyal monthly subscribers Essence 50 of the Most Inspiring African-Americans hardcover edition currently has over 57,000 copies in print

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Letters to a Young Sister: DeFINE Your Destiny

In the follow-up to his award winning national bestseller, Letters to a Young Brother, actor and star of CSI: NY shares his powerful wisdom for young women everywhere, drawing on the courageous advice of the female role models who transformed his life.

Letters to a Young Sister unfolds as a series of letters written by older brother Hill to a universal Young Sistah. She’s up against the same challenges as every young woman: from relating to her parents and dealing with peer pressure, to juggling schoolwork and crushes and keeping faith in the face of heartache. In his straight-talking style, Hill helps his young sister build self-confidence, self-reliance, self-respect, and encourages her on her journeys towards becoming a strong and successful woman. The book also includes contributions from admirable women like Angela Basset, Ciara, Michelle Obama, Tatyana Ali, Nikki Giovanni, Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrikck, Eve, Malinda Williams, Kim Porter, and more.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Dolls Like Me

We are a toy retailer with a conscience. We provide better books, toys and baby gifts that accurately represent today's children.

We recognize how important it is that all children have multicultural books, toys and characters - they teach acceptance, tolerance, cultural awareness & self-esteem. This is particularly important for children of color. For children of color, these products also help enhance their sense of belonging in our society and are key to their sense of self-importance. Yet, despite our desire to develop strong, healthy, sensitive and aware children, there is still a painfully meager sampling of toys that resemble America’s growing population of multicultural children.

We help meet this growing need by researching and identifying unique and interesting multicultural children's products and bringing them to you at fair and reasonable prices.

Our Philosophy

Our philosophy is simple: Children need to see the world the way it really is. They need to begin to develop global understanding, cultural awareness, and self-esteem as early as possible -- and children of color need positive images that look like them. We provide quality toys that:

• Reflect all children in a positive light, particularly children of color… We take our commitment to building self-esteem in children seriously!
• Are age-appropriate... No Br*** dolls here!
• Are safe… Review our Toy Safety statement for more information.
• Are fun… Isn’t that what it’s all about?

We also provide parents with resources and information.

Our Value Proposition

Relationships with Manufacturers: Our with numerous doll and puppet manufacturers mean better prices, better availability, and exclusive promotions for customers.

Product Selection: Our buyers research the market and hand-pick all products to ensure we have an excellent selection in a variety of price ranges. If we don't have what you're looking for, just let us know and we'll do what we can to get it for you!

Competitive Pricing: Through strategic relationships, the expertise of our buyers, and exceptional promotions, is able to offer some of the best prices anywhere.

We Stock: Unlike many online retailers, stocks merchandise. That means we have better control over our inventory, resulting in fewer backorders.

Better Product Information: We work hard to provide accurate, detailed information for every product. We often post parent reviews and links to product reviews so you'll have sufficient information to make good buying decisions.

Easy to Use Website: has received considerable praise from customers regarding the ease of navigating and ordering on our website. We're confident that you too, will find our website "easy to use and easy to love!"

Customer Service: At we continually strive to ensure our customers receive a high level of service. We listen to your feedback and do what we can to tailor to your needs. Thank you for coming, and enjoy shopping at

Our Company is a registered trademark of Dolls Like Me, Inc., a wholly woman-owned company. Dolls Like Me, Inc., has been in business since 2005. For additional information, please review our Corporate Profile or Legal Notice. You can reach at

Our Corporate/Business Office is located at:

Dolls Like Me
315 Madison Ave, Suite 901
New York, Ny 10165


Friday, April 13, 2012

Black Muslim is changing the face of fencing

Maplewood, New Jersey - With each burst of energy, Ibtihaj Muhammad usually shreds her opponents with relative ease.

"A lot of people say that fencing is the physical chess," Muhammad told theGrio's Todd Johnson. "That's what I love about it...the strategy that's involved so many different angles to fencing that I appreciate."

Ibti, as she's known to her friends, is as unique a site on the fencing circuit as you'll see -- a young African-American Muslim woman who chooses to wear a headscarf or hijab while she fences.

"I'm a practicing Muslim woman so I knew that growing up I would have to eventually cover," Muhammad said. "So I wanted to find a sport where, you know it'd be accommodating to my faith."

Muhammad earned a spot on the U.S. World Championship Fencing team last year and says she's vying for one spot that's up for grabs to represent the U.S. in London in 2012.

She grew in a northern New Jersey suburb. She fenced throughout high school before she became an All-American at Duke in Women's saber, which is her weapon.

She was addicted to the competition but frustrated by the lack of diversity around her.

Being different wasn't easy.

"Within the fencing community, there's still a lot of apprehension when it comes to encountering a Muslim fencer," she said. "I mean, there are very, very few."

Muhammad's mentor, Peter Westbrook, is a former six-time Olympic fencer. He's been breaking down barriers since he was born.

Muhammad came to Westbrook when she was 16 and looking for more diversity in the sport she loved.

"Ibti used to get on my nerves because she's so strong-willed, she's so persistent, she's so stubborn," said Westbrook, who started his own foundation twenty years ago to help young fencers like Ibti. "[I tell her] however people feel about African-Amercian[s], however they feel about Islamic people, it it's not positive, you have to use that as a springboard to go to higher heights."

It's sound advice for the 25-year-old rising star - who is currently the second-highest ranked fencer in woman's saber.

She will find out early next year if her dreams will become reality.

"Making the Olympic team shouldn't be easy," Muhammad said. "That's my ultimate goal right now. It's what I want."


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Will Packer, Producer

Producer Will Packer has officially taken the film industry by storm. Having produced two box office hits grossing over $100 Million in one year, Packer is at the top of his game. In September of 2007, Daily Variety magazine was on the right track when they selected Packer as one of their “10 Producers to Watch.” Packer states, “Receiving this honor was great validation for my burgeoning work in Hollywood. As the only African-American honored on this list, I accept the tremendous responsibility that this represents to make movies that matter as well as have commercial appeal.” Packer further states, “I look forward to continuing to promote imagery that has not traditionally been pushed by mainstream Hollywood.” Packer has also been acknowledged on several high profile lists including; Giant Magazine’s “The Giant 100”, Jet Magazine’s “Who’s Hot To Watch in 2008” and Black Enterprise Magazine’s “Most Powerful Players Under 40.” In March of 2008, Packer and his business partner Rob Hardy were honored by Black Enterprise as one of the “Top 25 Money Makers in Hollywood”. Other honorees included Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Eddie Murphy, Denzel Washington, Queen Latifah, Chris Tucker and Tyler Perry.

As Co-Founder and Chairman of the Atlanta based production company, Rainforest Films, Packer is responsible for producing and overseeing the company’s studio financed and self-financed films and distribution projects. He co-founded Rainforest Films with his partner Rob Hardy in the summer of 1994 while both were engineering students at Florida A & M University. After graduating magna cum laude from Florida A&M University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering in 1996, Packer decided to forego lucrative job offers in the field of engineering to capitalize on his entrepreneurial instincts and his passion for filmmaking. His tenacious and visionary leadership fueled the production and led to the successful independent distribution of the company’s first theatrically released motion picture Trois. Trois grossed $1.2 million dollars and became the fastest million dollar grossing film distributed by African Americans. Based on the company’s success as an independent distributor, Packer brokered a profitable partnership between Rainforest Films and Sony’s Screen Gems to produce and distribute urban films. This partnership also resulted in Packer overseeing production and distribution budgets of numerous urban-themed releases that included titles: Trois: The Escort, Motives and the independent breakout hit film, The Gospel. Next, Packer brokered a deal to produce actor Mekhi Phifer’s feature film directorial debut, Puff Puff Pass before returning to Atlanta to produce the company’s largest project to date, Stomp The Yard, which held the #1 position at the box office for two weekends in January of 2007 and received the 2007 Movie of the Year honors from the BET Hip Hop Awards. Shortly after, Packer enjoyed the success of his 2007 holiday film, This Christmas, which starred Regina King, Loretta Devine, Delroy Lindo, Mekhi Phifer, Columbus Short and Chris Brown, which opened a strong #2 at the box office on Thanksgiving weekend in 2007.

While many filmmakers struggle to line up top talent in their films, the talent starring in Packer’s films read like a “who’s who” in music and entertainment. In April of 2009, Obsessed, a femme -fatal thriller starring Beyonce Knowles, Idris Elba and Ali Larter, will release nationwide. Another star-studded film on the horizon is the action movie Takers, starring Matt Dillon, Idris Elba, Paul Walker, Hayden Christensen, TI, Chris Brown, Michael Ealy, Jay Hernandez and Zoe Saldana, which is slated to release in January of 2010.

Packer is also busy preparing several future projects including the urban remake of the classic film The Big Chill, which will star Regina King and is set to begin production in 2009, as well as the yet to be titled Kemba Smith story which Packer recently picked up the life rights to. The Kemba Smith story is a dramatic story about young girl who made headlines after President Bill Clinton granted her clemency from a 24.5-year prison sentence for conspiracy to sell drugs. This compelling story is one that other high profile filmmakers have pursued with great interest, yet Kemba Smith chose Packer to tell her story. Packer is currently working on securing the creative team for this project.

Mr. Packer is a dynamic and inspiring speaker who delivers educational and motivational speeches to industry groups, as well as youth and community groups nationwide. He has been honored with the key to the city of St. Petersburg, FL, and “Will Packer Day” has been proclaimed in the cities of Chattanooga, TN and Fort Lauderdale, FL. Packer has also been honored with the Meritorious Achievement Award from his alma mater Florida A&M University, the highest honor the University bestows.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spelman College

The Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary was established on April 11, 1881 in the basement of Friendship Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, by two teachers from the Oread Institute of Worcester, Massachusetts: Harriet E. Giles and Sophia B. Packard. The school was originally named Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary and was sponsored by the American Baptist Women's Home Mission Society.

Giles and Packard began the school with 11 African-American women and $100 given to them by a church congregation in Medford, Massachusetts. In 1882 the two women returned to Massachusetts to bid for more money and were introduced to wealthy Northern Baptist, businessman John D. Rockefeller at a church conference in Ohio.

In 1883, the school relocated to a nine acre (36,000 m²) site in Atlanta relatively close to the church they began in, which originally had only five buildings left from a Union Civil War encampment, to support classroom and residence hall needs. The school was able to survive on generous donations by the black community in Atlanta, the efforts of volunteer teachers, and gifts of supplies.

In April 1884, Rockefeller visited the school and was so impressed that he settled the debt on the property. The name of the school was changed to the Spelman Seminary in honor of Laura Spelman, an Oread student and the wife of John D. Rockefeller who helped to fund the school, and her parents who were longtime activists in the anti-slavery movement. Rockefeller's gift precipitated interest from other benefactors

Rockefeller also donated the funds for what is currently the oldest building on campus, Rockefeller Hall; in 1887 Packard Hall was also established. Packard was appointed as Spelman's first president in 1888, after the charter for the seminary was granted. The first college degrees were awarded in 1901.
Packard died in 1891, and Giles assumed the presidency until her death in 1909. Lucy Hale Tapley then became president, and the college witnessed a transition to vocational training. Tapley declared: "Any course of study which fails to cultivate a taste and fitness for practical and efficient work in some part of the field of the world's needs is unpopular at Spelman and finds no place in our curriculum." The nursing curriculum was strengthened; a teachers' dormitory and a home economics building were constructed, and Tapley Hall, the science building, was completed in 1925. A club for students whose mothers and aunts had attended Spelman was also created, and this club is still in existence today.

In 1924, Spelman Seminary became Spelman College. Spelman also solidified its affiliation with Morehouse College and Atlanta University by chartering the Atlanta University Center in 1929. Atlanta University was to provide graduate education for students, whereas Morehouse and Spelman were responsible for the undergraduate education. In 1932, Spelman was granted accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. This milestone as accompanied by the construction of a university library that was shared amongst the Atlanta University Center institutions, and the center continues to share a library to this day.

In 1927, one of the most important buildings on campus, Sisters Chapel, was dedicated. The chapel was named for its primary benefactors, sisters Laura Spelman Rockefeller and Lucy Maria Spelman. The college also began to see an improvement in extracurricular investment in the arts, with the inauguration of the much-loved Atlanta tradition of the annual Spelman-Morehouse Christmas Carol Concert and smaller events such as the spring orchestra and chorus concert, the Atlanta University Summer Theater, and the University Players, a drama organization for AUC students. In 1930 the Spelman Nursery School as created as a training center for mothers and a practice arena for students who planned careers in education and child development. Spelman celebrated its 50th anniversary in April 1931.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Historically Black Apparel

Historically Black Apparel (HBA) is an urban, stylish and trendy t-shirt company that reflects the dynamic culture that exists within America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. HBA speaks to the personality of all members of the HBCU community, understanding their tastes as well as their need for more unconventional college apparel. Whereas traditional college apparel is standard and predictable, Historically Black Apparel honors our history in a fresh and innovative way.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Muhammad Ali - Quotes

“Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It's not something you learn in school. But if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything.”

“If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it - then I can achieve it.”

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion'.”

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”

“Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn't matter which color does the hating. It's just plain wrong.”

“Live everyday as if it were your last because someday you're going to be right.”

“Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.”

“The man with no imagination has no wings.”

“Champions aren't made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them-a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.”

“Inside of a ring or out, ain't nothing wrong with going down. It's staying down that's wrong.”

“You lose nothing when fighting for a cause ... In my mind the losers are those who don't have a cause they care about.”

“To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If you’re not, pretend you are.”

“The Service you do for others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.”

“What you're thinking is what you're becoming.”

“It's just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.”

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life”

“Don't count the days, make the days count.”

“The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.”

“I'm a fighter. I believe in the eye-for-an-eye business. I'm no cheek turner. I got no respect for a man who won't hit back. You kill my dog, you better hide your cat.”

“Others may know pleasure, but pleasure is not happiness. It has no more importance than a shadow following a man.”

“Age is whatever you think it is. You are as old as you think you are”

“The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”

“I am America. I am the part you won't recognize. But get
used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours;
my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me.”

“If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, then they can sure make something out of you.”

“Jokes? There are no jokes. The truth is the funniest joke of all.”

“It's lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself.”

“It's hard to be humble when you're as great as I am.”

“I am the greatest.”

“I'm the greatest, I'm a bad man, and I'm pretty!”

“Often it isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the little pebble in your shoe.”

“I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.”

“What keeps me going is goals.”

“The fight is won or lost far away from the witnesses, behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road; long before I dance under those lights.”

“Silence is golden when you can't think of a good answer.”

“I know where I'm going and I know the truth, and I don't have to be what you want me to be. I'm free to be what I want.”

“I never thought of losing, but now that it's happened, the only thing is to do it right. That's my obligation to all the people who believe in me. We all have to take defeats in life. ”

“Superman don't need no seat belt.”

“There are more pleasant things to do than beat up people”

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion”

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. The hands can't hit what the eyes can't see.”

“This is the legend of Cassius Clay,
The most beautiful fighter in the world today.
He talks a great deal, and brags indeed-y,
of a muscular punch that's incredibly speed-y.
The fistic world was dull and weary,
But with a champ like Liston, things had to be dreary.
Then someone with color and someone with dash,
Brought fight fans are runnin' with Cash.
This brash young boxer is something to see
And the heavyweight championship is his des-tin-y.
This kid fights great; he’s got speed and endurance,
But if you sign to fight him, increase your insurance.
This kid's got a left; this kid's got a right,
If he hit you once, you're asleep for the night.
And as you lie on the floor while the ref counts ten,
You’ll pray that you won’t have to fight me again.
For I am the man this poem’s about,
The next champ of the world, there isn’t a doubt.
This I predict and I know the score,
I’ll be champ of the world in ’64.
When I say three, they’ll go in the third,
10 months ago

So don’t bet against me, I’m a man of my word.
He is the greatest! Yes!
I am the man this poem’s about,
I’ll be champ of the world, there isn’t a doubt.
Here I predict Mr. Liston’s dismemberment,
I’ll hit him so hard; he’ll wonder where October and November went.
When I say two, there’s never a third,
Standin against me is completely absurd.
When Cassius says a mouse can outrun a horse,
Don’t ask how; put your money where your mouse is!

“Life is a gamble. You can get hurt, but people die in plane crashes, lose their arms and legs in car accidents; people die every day. Same with fighters: some die, some get hurt, some go on. You just don't let yourself believe it will happen to you.”

“Wars of nations are fought to change maps. But wars of poverty are fought to map change.”

“Go to College,
Stay in school,
If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread,
they can sure make something out of you.”

“Put yourself out on a limb, sucka, like me! - young Cassius Clay to heavily favored thug Sonny Liston during the weigh in before Cassius wins his first title and changes his name to Muhammad Ali.”

“It's not bragging if you can back it up.”

“It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe.”

“If your mind can conceive it; and your heart can believe it - then you can achieve it.”

“I Ain't Got No Quarrel With The VietCong...No VietCong Ever Called Me Nigger.”

“I'll beat him so bad he'll need a shoehorn to put his hat on.”

“A rooster crows only when it sees the light. Put him in the dark and he'll never crow. I have seen the light and I'm crowing.”

“The man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.”

“i have wrestled with an aligator!! ive gone tossling with a whale!! ive gone handcuffed lightning and put thunder in jail!!thats bad......only last week i murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalised a brick!! .. im so mean i mke medicine sick!!”


Sunday, April 8, 2012

CodeBlack Store

The CODEBLACK STORE is the #1 site for the absolute best in urban-themed books and movies, created by and featuring all your favorite African-American authors and entertainers.

Browse our catalog of over 1,500 DVDs or search through a selection of more than 4,000 books. Fiction, kids, romance, biographies, memoirs and more - CODEBLACK has it all. And be sure to check-in often as we update our collection frequently, adding new releases each week while expanding our already impressive catalog.

Plus, purchases are simple and secure. Select your shipping option and your items will be delivered to your doorstep. It's that easy. And feel free to contact us anytime at and a CODEBLACK representative will handle all your needs with total customer satisfaction.

CODEBLACK is honored to serve you, and we thank you for your loyal support.

Welcome to the evolution.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Steven Smith

Steven Delano Smith was born in Highland Park, Michigan, on March 31, 1969. His parents are Donald and the late Clara Bell Smith, and his siblings are his brother Dennis and late sister Janice. Steve and his wife Millie have two sons, Brayden and Davis.

Steve attended Pershing High School in Detroit and Michigan State University from 1987-1991, where he became a First Team All American basketball player, and the Spartans’ all-time leading scorer, with 2,263 points. At that time he ranked 5th all-time in Big Ten history, and was also First Team All-Big Ten in his senior season.

In 1991 Steve was selected in the first round of the NBA draft by the Miami Heat. He also has played with the Atlanta Hawks (1994-1999), the Portland Trail Blazers (1999-2001), the San Antonio Spurs( won championship ring in 2003), the New Orleans Hornets (2003-2004), and the Charlotte Bobcats and Miami Heat during the 2004-2005 season.

He was also a member of the gold medal winning Dream Team II for the world championships in Toronto. In 2000 Steve was honored by being chosen to play in Sydney Australia for the gold medal winning United States Olympic Basketball team and represent his country.

Throughout his career Steve has carried with him a strong commitment to his community, which was handed down to him through his mother and father. His father a hard working Detroit city bus driver for 37 years instilled in him hard work and the importance of giving back. Steve has always been an active member in his “community” by working with and for inner city youth organizations in Michigan, Miami, Atlanta, Portland, San Antonio, New Orleans, and Charlotte.

In 1997, Steve, who believes you can never give too much, donated $2.5 million to Michigan State University. This donation helped construct the Clara Bell Smith Student-Athlete Academic Center, in honor of his late mother, Clara Bell Smith, who died of cancer during Steve’s rookie NBA season. This is the largest single donation ever made by a professional athlete to an alma mater. The building was formally dedicated on September 12, 1998, and it remains a state-of-the-art-facility in this country.

At Steve’s insistence, a portion of this generous donation also funds The Steve Smith/Pershing High/MSU Scholarship for Academic Achievement. In 2001, Steve donated an additional $600,000 to fully endow the scholarship. This scholarship provides, on an annual basis, high-achieving students from Detroit Pershing High School the opportunity to attend Michigan State University. In honor of Steve’s generous gift to Pershing High School, Pershing paid tribute to the basketball star by holding “Steve Smith Day” in September 2001, where they renamed the school’s gym after the 1987 graduate.

The Steve Smith Scholarship and the Charitable Fund is supported by additional money raised from Steve’s three annual charity golf outings. Together with the MSU Alumni Club of Mid-Michigan, the MSU Alumni Club of West Michigan, the MSU Alumni Club of Kalamazoo County and the MSU Detroit Area Development Council, approximately $500,000 has been raised to help support the Steve Smith Scholarship Fund, MSU, and local charities in the Detroit, Lansing, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo areas.

Steve’s generosity has been recognized not only by the various charities, organizations, and institutions he donates to, but by the NBA as well. During the 1997-1998 NBA season, Steve received the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, and was later awarded the Joe Dumars Sportsmanship Award in 2002. His goodwill and compassion for others placed Steve in an elite group of athletes when he was inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame in 2006. Steve served as a member of both the National Alumni Board and National Development Board of Michigan State University.

Steve is currently a member of the national board of Reading is Fundamental (RIF), a non-profit organization created to eradicate illiteracy in our nation’s urban public schools. He is also a board member for the Special Olympics of Georgia; the Nsoro Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to enriching the lives of foster children; and serves on the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Hughes Spalding Community Board, which is the largest clinical care provider for children in the country.

On September 30, 2005, Steve returned to MSU to announce his retirement from the NBA after 14 seasons. He still remains involved with basketball, however, as a TV analyst for NBA TV and the Big Ten Network. If anything else need be known about Steve, his character and/or his values, it can be easily found from his own words which he delivered at the January 1997 announcement of his donation to Michigan State University. His words, in part, were as follows:

“I have had great coaches, but none greater than my mother. I have had great role models, but none greater than my mom. I have had great teammates and fans, but none greater than Clara Bell Smith.”


Friday, April 6, 2012

The Soul of a Butterfly: Reflections on Life's Journey

"During my boxing career, you did not see the real Muhammad Ali. You just saw a little boxing. You saw only a part of me. After I retired from boxing my true work began. I have embarked on a journey of love."

So Muhammad Ali begins this spiritual memoir, his description of the values that have shaped and sustained him and that continue to guide his life. In The Soul of a Butterfly the great champion takes readers on a spiritual journey through the seasons of life, from childhood to the present, and shares the beliefs that have served him well.

After fighting some of the fiercest bouts in boxing history against Joe Frazier and George Foreman, today Muhammad Ali faces his most powerful foe -- outside the boxing ring. Like many people, he battles an illness that limits his physical abilities, but as he says, "I have gained more than I have lost....I have never had a more powerful voice than I have now." Ali reflects on his faith in God and the strength it gave him during his greatest challenge, when he lost the prime years of his boxing career because he would not compromise his beliefs. He describes how his study of true Islam has helped him accept the changes in his life and has brought him to a greater awareness of life's true purpose. As a United Nations "Messenger of Peace," he has traveled widely, and he describes his 2002 mission to Afghanistan to heighten public awareness of that country's desperate situation, as well as his more recent meeting with the Dalai Lama.

Ali's reflections on topics ranging from moral courage to belief in God to respect for those who differ from us will inspire and enlighten all who read them. Written with the assistance of his daughter Hana, The Soul of a Butterfly is a compassionate and heartfelt book that will provide comfort for our troubled times.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Akil Productions

In 2000, writing and producing powerhouses Salim and Mara Akil founded Akil Productions (formerly Happy Camper) a production company focusing on developing new and exciting projects for both cable and broadcast networks. They are forces behind such hits as one of the longest running sitcomes, the CW's Girlfriends, which enjoyed 8 successful seasons. Their spin-off, The Game for the CW was an equal audience pleaser for 3 seasons (06-09) and will be soon airing the highly anticipated 4th season on BET. Fusing their creative talents in writing, producing and directing, Salim and Akil are currently developing shows for NBC and other major networks. Mara recently worked as a key producing consultant on NBC's runaway hit Cougar Town. The Akil's are gearing up for the release of Salim's directed film starring Julie Bowen,  Paula Patton & Laz Alonso entitled Jumping the Broom (Sony Pics) for spring of '11.

Salim and Mara have received several accolades not only for their exceptional work in film and television, but also for their community outreach and involvement in social issues close to their hearts. This married duo has redefined what it is for a couple to work together in a collaborative fashion - merging their respective skill sets and developing winning productions.

Products: Sparkle (Sony), Jumping the Broom (Sony), The Game (BET), Girlfriends (CW), Soul Food (Showtime)



Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Uncommon: Finding Your Path to Significance

The New York Times bestseller is now in softcover with a bonus chapter on how the “Dare to Be Uncommon” movement is reaching schools, teams, and families across the country and an update on Tony’s life since retiring as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. What does it take to live a life of significance? When Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy took home the trophy in Super Bowl XLI, fans around the world looked to him as the epitome of success. Athletic victory, professional excellence, fame and celebrity, awards and honors—he had it all. But even in that moment, he knew those achievements had little to do with his ultimate significance as a man.

Coach Dungy still passionately believes that there is a different path to significance—a path characterized by attitudes, ambitions, and allegiances that are all too rare but uncommonly rewarding. In the New York Times best seller Uncommon, Dungy reveals secrets to achieving significance that he has learned from his remarkable parents, his athletic and coaching career, his mentors, and his walk with God.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

First African-American polo team wins national title

The Cowtown-Work to Ride team took home the gold after beating out the crew from Baltimore in the National Interscholastic Championship at the Virginia Polo Center.

A polo team from Philadelphia made history in central Virginia on Sunday when they became the first all African-American team to win a national title.

The Cowtown-Work to Ride team took home the gold after beating out the crew from Baltimore in the National Interscholastic Championship at the Virginia Polo Center.

The top polo players say it feels great to be a part of this monumental achievement in their sport.

Brandon Rease, of the winning team said, “If you get involved with it and want to do really good in it, you just practice every day and, a sport is a sport, no matter if it’s for black, white, anything.”

This was the 42nd year for the tournament. The Philly team also had to beat out groups from California, Texas and Canada to be named the champions.

Who knew a bunch of black kids in Philadelphia would forgo basketball and football to play polo? The Philadelphia youth polo team, the Cowtown/Work to Ride based in Fairmount Park, is an all-black team and a force to be reckoned with in the world of polo.

The team won the 42nd annual USPA National Interscholastic Championship tournament over the weekend in Charlottesville, Va.

“It was awesome,” Cowtown/WTR Coach Lezlie Hiner told the Philadelphia Inquirer about her team’s 24–17 victory over Baltimore in the title game. “We’re known as a come-from-behind team, but the boys were so explosive in these games.”

The stars of the team are brothers Kareem Rosser, 18, and Daymar Rosser, 16, of West Philadelphia, and Brandon Rease, 15, of North Philadelphia. Kareem was named the No. 1 All-star at the competition and plans to attend Cornell after he graduates from Valley Forge Military Academy.

Lezlie Hiner started the team back in 1994 with the goal of exposing the sport to underprivileged kids. In exchange for horse-riding lessons, kids would help around the barns and take care of the horses.


Monday, April 2, 2012

Perfect Credit: 7 Steps To A Great Credit Rating

Perfect Credit is the definitive guide to getting and keeping outstanding credit. Think of this book as a roadmap for anyone hoping to establish picture-perfect credit, make improvements to have stellar credit, or simply maintain a fantastic credit standing. Right now, roughly 220 million Americans have credit files maintained by the "Big Three" credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Of those individuals, about 40 million Americans (roughly 1 out of 5), have very poor credit, or "deep subprime scores," according to Experian. Another 50 million adults in the U.S. have no credit files - either because they've never used traditional forms of credit, or because their credit files are "too thin" to generate a credit score. Perfect Credit offers all these consumers an easy-to-follow blueprint on how to get superb credit - and how to sidestep numerous credit traps and pitfalls along the way.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Hampton University

Other universities simply teach history. Hampton University puts you right in the middle of it. Because, as you'll soon discover, you're not just a part of Hampton University – Hampton University is a part of you.

While our roots reach deep into the history of this nation and the African-American experience, our sights – like yours – are set squarely on the horizons of the global community of the 21st century.

Rich in history, steeped in tradition, Hampton University is a dynamic, progressive institution of higher education, providing a broad range of technical, liberal arts, and graduate degree programs. In addition to being one of the top historically black universities in the world, Hampton University is a tightly-knit community of learners and educators, representing 49 states and 35 territories and nations.

Hampton University is nestled along the banks of the Virginia Peninsula, near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. The surrounding city of Hampton features a wide array of business and industrial enterprises, retail and residential areas, historical sites, and miles of waterfront and beaches. Attractions such as Fort Monroe, NASA Langley Research Center, and the Virginia Air and Space Center add to the splendor – and just plain fun – of the HU campus.

The Mission

Hampton University is a comprehensive institution of higher education, dedicated to the promotion of learning, building of character and preparation of promising students for positions of leadership and service. Its curriculum emphasis is scientific and professional with a strong liberal arts under girding. In carrying out its mission, the University requires that everything that it does be of the highest quality.

A historically black institution, Hampton University is committed to multiculturalism. The University serves students from diverse national, cultural and economic backgrounds. From its beginnings to the present, the institution has enrolled students from five continents – North America, South America, Africa, Asia and Europe – and many countries including Gabon, Kenya, Ghana, Japan, China, Armenia, Great Britain and Russia, as well as the Hawaiian and Caribbean Islands and numerous American Indian nations. Placing its students at the center of its planning, the University provides a holistic educational environment. Learning is facilitated by a range of educational offerings, a rigorous curriculum, excellent teaching, professional experiences, multiple leadership opportunities, and an emphasis on the development of character which values integrity, respect, decency, dignity, and responsibility.

Research and public service are integral parts of Hampton's mission. In order to enhance scholarship and discovery, the faculty is engaged in writing, research, and grantsmanship. Faculty, staff and students provide leadership and service to the University as well as the global community.

In achieving its mission, Hampton University offers exemplary programs and opportunities which enable students, faculty and staff to grow, develop and contribute to our society in a productive and useful manner.