Thursday, February 28, 2008

Soul Music Gets No Love

I may only be thirty, but I long for the days of the late 80's when Anita Baker and Frankie Beverly were heard way more often on the radio. Indeed, those legends have been reincarnated in the likes of Jill Scott and Will Downing. But we don't hear from them like we used to.
Yes, we understand that radio is useless these days. It's the same songs over and over again. But what do we do to keep soul music relevant? I don't have an answer other than to keep supporting the artists out there: Angie Stone, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, and many others. These are artists who are truly saying something from within and remaining true to their genre.
But this genre gets no love anymore. Just check out All Music Guide ( I have over the past few weeks been trying to get them on my radio show ( Weeks 12 and 13 of last year and Week 1 of this year.) and they have refused. My issue with them is with their ratings of soul music. There has not been a soul music album with their highest ranking of 5 stars in the last 25 years. This of course does not include compilations or an album with any rap on it. How is that possible? It's because they are biased against soul music. How do I know? I'll have an article posted on very shortly about how unlikely it is for their system to be fair and yet no soul album get a 5 star rating. It turns out that it is very unlikely.

So not only is soul music not even being played, it's not even getting the full critical success it deserves. These are sad times indeed. But there is hope. Ironically enough, the hope is embedded in the music itself:

You cannot hate on me
‘Cuz my mind is free
Feel my destiny
So shall it be

-Jill Scott

If we keep passing on the soul music to others then we and all of its recipients will be better for it.

Peace and Love for a lover of soul music.

Dr. Aris Winger

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

What About Our Families?

Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us. James 1:27 (NLT)

Our children deserve the best. Unfortunately, too often we associate the best with material accumulations rather than with the opportunity to mature in safe, loving, violence and substance free two parent home. Statistically, African American children are less likely than Asians, Hispanics, and Whites to grow up in the home of their biological parents.

Reality in today's society is that our families are fragmented by myriad socioeconomic challenges arising from systemic racism. Additionally, there are crisis and dilemmas created by the irresponsibility of individuals. Both of these scenarios affect the children presently and in time to come.

Our communities destabilize and erode further with each generation. The family is the base of the community and when that base crumbles, the complex concerns reach into each segment of the community. Children without a two-parent family home are served best in a stable and loving environment where they can develop the confidence needed to gain social and academic competence.

Historically, African Americans have embraced and nurtured those in need of family support, especially children. Family was not always defined by bloodlines. Children were admonished, encouraged, hugged, and supported by block parents, church parents, neighborhood aunties, barbershop pops, et al. Today we seem to have decreased in our extended kinship care.

Today, our children languish in foster care at disproportionate rates. We do not adopt at the same rate as Asians, Hispanics, and Whites and our children are hard to place because they are not the most sought after children. When other races do adopt our children, there is a concern that the children will lose a connection with African American culture, history, and the community.

As an adoptive parent and a former foster parent, I can definitively state that there is not a need for one to be wealthy to adopt. In addition to adopting, my husband and I have biological children and opened our hearts and home to various family members over the past twenty-five years. The outcome has been beautiful memories, great experiences, and children who are now compassionate adults.

I highly recommend extending yourself and family to save our community. You may not be able to save the world…start with a child.

Successful Black Women and Love

I recently went out to dinner with some of my old friends from college. My date, my date's fraternity brother, and the guy's wife were at the table with me. We started talking about home ownership, money and jobs. The conversation then drifted to the role of a woman in a relationship and her financial contributions to the relationships. The married guy said that his wife would never make more money than he. Even if something happened to where she started making more money, he said he would work harder or get a second job just so that he made more. Are you serious? His wife gave him one of those looks. She stated that he should be happy and supportive if she came upon a situation that had her making substantially more money. She said she thinks women today should be independent and strive to reach the highest level possible. Her husband agreed, but then added, "That's fine, as long as you're not making more money than I in the process."

My date was not a boyfriend, but I was curious about his answer. So, I looked his direction for input. He owns his own law firm and stated that he was creating a life where his wife wouldn't have to work. He said that as long as he had the bills paid, then it was his wife's responsibility to manage the house and the kids. I asked him what would happen if for some reason he did meet a woman that made more money than he. He said that wouldn't happen.

I had major gripes with our conversation. First of all, these men were saying that if you are more successful that them, then they are not going to give you a chance because they should be the ultimate breadwinner in the family. What does that have to do with love? They are punishing the female gender for making their mark and overcoming all of the barriers that exist. Shouldn't this be applauded? I know this was only two men's perspectives, but I have found the same attitude in other men.

Last year I met a guy that was not in a good position in his life. For our first date, we watched a movie at my house. He was instantly intimidated by the size of my house and by the brand of car I drove. From the beginnning, he formed the opinion that he could never provide for me or give me the things I wanted in life since I already possessed so many things. I tried over and over again to explain to him that money is not everything and if I can find a man to meet my emotional needs then I have found someone that can win my heart. Although he tried to look past this, he really couldn't get over it and our situation dissolved.

I have found that this male perspective has put me into an ackward position. My career is in education. There is not a great chance that I will ever make large sums of money. However, I am an only child and both of my parents have passed away. When my mother passed away in 2006, I inherited a large amount of money. I am now completely debt free and can retire at any time that I am ready. I have moved into the large house where I grew up. Although I don't brag about the money I have (all of it is invested and I haven't touched any of it yet), many people judge me by my house, car and clothes. These same men don't realize that two years ago I was paying rent for an apartment and driving my wonderful Nissan Sentra. My personality has not changed at all since that time, but I am definitely seen in a different light. Usually when I first meet someone, I try to meet them out instead of having them pick me up. I don't volunteer information that my parents have passed away because I want them to get to know me for the person I am. None of the men I've dated have ever discovered my actual networth, and now I fear that if they knew, some of them would run away as fast as possible and not look back.

I do honestly believe that there are some men out there that will not try to take advantage of the things I possess and will truly be willing to fall in love with me regardless of my circumstances. You always have some men (and women) that think money makes the world go around and that certain gender roles are essential to a successful relationship. One day I hope they'll realize that times are changing and many people are building relationship on partnerships where both man and woman can flourish!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

"Next to God we are indebted to women, first for life itself, and then for making it worth living."

"Next to God we are indebted to women, first for life itself, and then for making it worth living." These words of Mary McLeod Bethune resonate with truth yet today.

It is not that I am possessed of an anti-man sentiment; no, it is that I am possessed a driven to recover and reveal the many and mighty ways in which women have and continue to support and sustain our beloved community.

Women were active and activists in every historic event from the Maafa or Middle Passage to Slavery to Reconstruction to the Exoduster Movement to Jim Crow to the Harlem Renaissance to Civil Rights to present day. Unfortunately, the names and contributions of women are often not documented adequately.

History identifies one of the first African American females simply as 'Old Elizabeth'. It is important that we teach the history of our people fully. Women are vital in the survival and success of African Americans. The Women's Club movement included the National Association of Colored Women speaking on their theme Mary Church Terrell expressed purpose and hope for women collectively working for the uplift of our race.

"And so lifting as we climb, onward and upward we go, struggling and striving and hoping that the buds and blossoms of our desires will burst into glorious fruition ere long. With courage born of success achieved in the past, with a keen sense of the responsibility which we must continue to assume we look forward to the future, large with promise and hope. Seeking no favors because of our color or patronage because of our needs, we knock at the bar of justice and ask for an equal chance" (Mary Church Terrell).

African American women have approached societal proablems from different perspectives. There is dimension and depth to the intellectual contemplations of our women even when there is unity of purpose and commonality of crisis.

Upon the founding of the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs in 1896, Sarah Dudley Pettey lauded the organization's mission while deploring its use of the word "colored." She attributed its origin to the "softening" of the word "nigger" to "you colored people" in the antebellum South. All people are colored, she argued, "from the fairest blonde to the darkest hue of humanity." Far better to use the term "Afro-American ... as it designates both the races and countries from whence we, the amalgamated race, came." It was typical of her to speak forthrightly of racial mixing; on another occasion, she argued that the word "Negro" was useless because it denoted "one type of the African race without mixture." By clinging to "Afro," she showed her pride in her African heritage; by linking it with "American," she held whites accountable for both slavery and miscegenation. When an African American writer proposed "affirming we are `Americans, pure and simple,'" Dudley Pettey retorted that if "we [were] Americans, pure and simple," there "would be no class legislation against us; there would be no need of separate schools and churches." To Dudley Pettey, race prejudice worked like class prejudice: it created false divisions among worthy human beings (Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore, 1997)

African American women have been advocating and agitating for our beloved community since our arrival in America. Anna Julia Cooper, Ida B. Wells, Violette N. Anderson, Augusta Savage, Norma Sklarek, Leontine T. C. Kelly, and Hazel Winifred Johnson. It is important that as we move into the twenty first century that we embrace, uplift, and appreciate the African American women for their endeavors as leaders, supporters, sustainers, mentors, caretakers, and risk takers.

Today resolve to thank God for all He has done for you and through you. Thank God for the African American women in your life. Thank the African American women in your life. Learn more about African American women and share the your part to continue the role of strong, beautiful, gifted, and committed African American women in the generations to come!

Friday, February 22, 2008

What Becomes of the Colored Girl?

"The Colored Girl"

by Fannie Barrier Williams

"What becomes of the colored girl? The muses of song, poetry and art do not woo and exalt her. She has inspired no novels. Those who write...seldom think of this dark-skinned girl who is persistently breaking through the petty tyrannies of cast into the light of recognition."

As we observe this season of primaries to see who will emerge as US presidential candidates and which of those candidates will eventually become the next president of the United States, I want to know will the conditions experienced by African American women change for the better?

Are the candidates aware of the urgent needs of the most marginalized segment of American society? Do the candidates understand how their decisions inform society on the value of including African American women in decision-making, policy implementation, and positions of significance in commerce, foreign relations, military, and international relations.

We have had symbolic tokens that held no true power other than to be depicted in photo ops. We have had a few women to breakthrough the testerone and ego of patriarchy to achieve positions of power; however, the door did not remain open for others and once in these women still had to struggle against stereotypes and racial traditions.

Perhaps, we will have a female clergy woman from a historically African American religious tradition to pray and lead services for the next president. The choices made by the next president extend beyond governmental positions. Acknowledging the spiritual position of women affirms their authenticity as leaders in the community and for the community they serve.

One of the talented African American fashion designers could be selected to design the inaugral gowns for the next president or first lady? African American women also are professional and enormously talented in event coordination, culinary preparation, speech writing, research, and all areas needed by the next US president.

As we see the stature of African American women rise and the US president pay her homage and respect then we will see all segments of society do the same. Music lyrics will change as will movies and televison depictions along with how corporate America values this underserved but overcharged consumer. Criminal and social justice agencies will unite to help address the issues of crime that plague the communities where too often African American women are single heads of households. The US Health Department will direct resources towards the preventable and treatble illnesses that too often plague these women and kill them too early: AIDS, breast and cervical cancer, hypertensive diseases, and stress related disorders.

What will become of the colored girl?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Dog is back...Who is surprised?

Dog the Bounty Hunter will be back on the air soon. Is this a surprise to anyone? It certainly isn’t to me. After all, what did taking him off the air really accomplish? Did it create a huge gaping hole in his pocket? Most likely not. Did it ruin his credibility in his career as a bounty hunter? Again, it most likely did not.

What it did do, is create controversy around his name. We all know what Dog said. We all know how many times he said it. We all saw him on Larry King pleading his case and professing his regret. And most of us know it was and still is a line of crap. However, it got his name out in front of people who may not have already known who Dog the Bounty Hunter is, or where and what time his show comes on. It went off the air for a time to appease those who called for it, and now it’ll come back because the ratings were good before and without a doubt they will be even higher this time around. Yes some people will avoid the show because of the controversy, but many more will tune in because entertainment has become more of a priority than morals and ethics now.

If you think about it, you can look at plenty of ‘our shows’ and see where we have put mindless entertainment in the forefront of morals, ethics, and just plain enriching entertainment. Flavor of Love is a prime example. This is a television show that is a demonstration of women making a mockery of themselves for notoriety. None of us are watching this show with hopes of seeing Flavor Flav find his ‘true love’. We’re watching these women make fools of themselves on national television for fifteen minutes of fame. Where is the art or talent in this? And we’ll just ignore the fact that he’s already engaged, which means if he wasn’t doing the show before just to make a quick buck and not really find ‘true love’ then he certainly is now.

Dog’s notoriety for his exaggerated use of the ‘n-word’ has done for him what controversy does for everyone else who has found their way into fame for dishonorable reasons; it has put him out in the light to be examined and scrutinized. Whether the people determine him to be another bigot getting away with offending another group of people or a simple man who made a simple mistake and is woefully sorry, at the end of the day, he’s just another celebrity who has succeeded in making a scene to make a couple more bucks

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Confession of Love

"I know you're trying to figure out what in the world possessed me to write thisletter, right?  Well I've been sitting around for the past several weeks thinking of a number of things, number one of which has been me.  I guess you could say I've been taking a good hard look at myself.  The surprising thing that I've discovered about myself is that I've been a somewhat destructive individual over the past 29 years.  Destructive in the sense that I've always looked out for (me) - and as a result, I've hurt a number of individuals who have been very dear to me.  I've also discovered that I am in love with you.  I know that latter statement comes as a shock to you.  However, that was the manner in which it was intended.  I know you're wondering why I've chosen this particular method and tell you this- it's quite simple.

You see-I fear being rejected, so therefore if I start anew the pain may not be as great as it would if I were to go all out and try to win you over.  During the past several weeks I've been tempted to call you a number of times.  However, I always backed down.  This letter has been in the works for a number of weeks.  However, tonight I decided to go ahead and let you know how I felt.  I've shocked you once so let me do it again.  I would marry you tomorrow if you felt I was worthy of you.  I do not say this jokingly.  If you think back several years ago, I'm sure that you will discern that I never used the words 'love' or 'marriage' in any of our conversations, and in order for me to use these words has taken a great deal of soul searching on my part.  I know I've caused you to begin to think of yourself in the future.  I ask that you also think of me in the process. " Love, Steve

*This is a love letter that I found in my house from my father to my mother written in 1971. They met in college while attending Tuskegee University (class of '64).  They did not date during undergrad.  My mother went back several years after graduation to visit her younger brother who was a student at Tuskegee.  My father was over the dorms where my uncle lived and during a visit my parents became reacquainted and began a long distance relationship.  At the time the letter was written, my parents were not together, but my father realized he almost let a good thing get away!  

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Tavis Smiley Response to Barack Obama

Senator Barack Obama and the State of the Black Union 2008
Tom Joyner Morning Show
Thursday, February 14, 2008

By now many, if not most of you, have either read or heard about the letter faxed to me by Senator
Barack Obama yesterday to officially inform me that he would not be attending the State of the
Black Union symposium next Saturday, February 23, in New Orleans, live on C-SPAN. The letter
was apparently made public on the Internet by the Obama campaign.
This morning a few thoughts now about the letter, about Senator Obama and for that matter, about
Michelle Obama.
First, I want to thank Senator Obama for his letter, although I regret his decision. I said on Tuesday
and I reiterate today, that I believe that this is a critical miscalculation and a missed opportunity.
Having said that, I also feel that should Senator McCain or Governor Huckabee, like Mr. Obama,
end up denying our invitation to appear at this annual Black think tank, it would also be for them as
well, in the long run, a critical miscalculation and a missed opportunity.
Particularly for Senator John McCain, who appears to now be the presumptive Republican nominee
and who decided, as you recall, not to appear last year before Black America in Baltimore.
Indeed, I personally expressed that sentiment to Senator McCain earlier this week. Don’t think that
in the general election, should he be the nominee, that he ain’t going to get reminded frequently that
he kept passing on opportunities to speak to Black and Brown audiences. That’s pretty much
Political Science 101. That’s going to happen, trust me.
Two. For the record, with regard to this letter and the statements made therein, my office was never
contacted by the Obama campaign offering Michelle Obama as a proxy speaker. It never happened.
No letter. No fax. No e-mail. No phone call. No document whatsoever from the Obama camp to
my office, ever, regarding Michelle Obama. She was never offered, it was never discussed.
Three. While I have great admiration and affection for Michelle Obama, had she been offered to us
I would have respectfully declined. Just as we would have declined had Hillary Clinton offered Bill
Clinton; had John McCain offered Cindy McCain; had Mike Huckabee suggested Janet Huckabee.

By any measure, by any measure, Michelle Obama’s personal story is empowering and inspiring. I
am moved by her personal story, as I have been, since I first met her. From the South side of
Chicago to Princeton, to Harvard Law, it is a quintessential American story of overcoming.
That said, last year at Howard, live on PBS, we spoke to candidates only. And that’s what we intend
to do next Saturday, February 23, in New Orleans, live on C-SPAN, speak to candidates only, with
all due respect.
And speaking of Howard, point number four. When we invited Senator Obama last year to
Howard, with all of the other announced Democratic candidates at the time, so many people, so
many people, said publicly, that Tavis is stacking the deck in Obama’s favor. Black college. Black
book. Black audience. Black journalists. Black moderator. “Smiley is stacking the deck for
Obama,” they said.
The Washington Post Editorial Board said that to me to my face. “Aren’t you stacking the deck for
Mr. Obama?” Now, eight months later, another simple invitation, along with all the other
remaining viable candidates, and now he’s being boxed in by me?
Respectfully, that dog just won’t hunt. Because by that logic, at this point in the campaign, any
gathering of Black thought-leaders, opinion-makers and influencers who invite Senator Obama to
appear on stage at a nationally televised event, that invitation --- in and of itself, given that logic ---
would be tantamount to “boxing him in.”
This was simply an invitation, nothing more. There has not been, there is not now, nor will there
be, any effort on my part to snap on the Obama campaign, or the McCain campaign or the
Huckabee campaign, if they choose not to attend. It was just an invitation to him and every other
candidate. Accept or reject. An invitation, nothing more, nothing less.
I’ve lost count now of how many debates the Democrats have had to address other issues that, in
fact, do matter to us. But I can tell you exactly how many times they’ve gathered to specifically
address our issues. There is no comparison.
Point number five. Senator Obama is on a mission. As he suggested in his letter, his mission is to
become the next President of the United States. And I ain’t mad at him. As I’ve said before, and I’ll
say it again, I revel in his historic run for the White House. As a Black man, I celebrate his past
accomplishments. I celebrate his future aspirations.
Respectfully, I knew Barack Obama long before most of us learned to pronounce his name
correctly. So long ago, in fact, that years ago Barack Obama was working with the kids in my
Foundation, speaking to them about leadership development way back when.
I have no personal animus toward Barack Obama.
To quote that great philosopher, George Wallace, “I love him and there ain’t nothing he can do
about it!” That said, I love Black people, too. And I have a vocation. I have a calling. I have a
purpose. And since this ain’t just about me, you have a purpose too. You have a calling, you have a
vocation as well.

And I would hope, this morning, that at the center of our collective calling, is an unconditional love
for Black people. His job right now is to get elected. Our job is to do our part to ensure that
whoever gets elected will be held accountable to the issues that matter most to Black people.
And in that regard, all that I have ever tried to do, with the media platforms, including this one, that
I have been blessed to have access to, is to attempt to speak a love language, to ask critical
questions, to engage in sober assessment and to counsel wise enthusiasm.
If Barack Obama is your candidate, I ain’t mad at you! If Hillary Clinton is your candidate, I ain’t
mad at you! I am not personally in the endorsement business. My small part is to engage in
Socratic questioning. As a Black person, a member of the media, I’ve said many times on this
program, my job is to ask questions, raise issues, address topics, and profile people that otherwise
wouldn’t get that kind of air play.
Now, as the old folk used to say, “I done spoke my piece.”
Senator Clinton has decided to join us. Senator Obama has decided not to. Senator McCain and
Governor Huckabee, we shall see.
But once again, it has never, ever been about them. It has always been about us. We cannot
confuse candidates with the cause. The cause of suffering Black people who are catching hell every
So, I personally; I can only speak for Tavis, I personally have no intention, no interest in discussing
this matter beyond this commentary no matter what’s said about me. Except to promote the
Symposium, which I’ve done every year for almost 10 years now.
I’m told by the folk in the Lt. Governor’s office in Louisiana that it looks like we will have the
largest gathering of volunteers for a single day next Friday on our Day of Service, since Katrina hit
back in 2005. That’s what matters. Loving and serving everyday Black people.
Our conversation next Saturday promises to be spirited, soulful and inspiring.
Finally this morning, as I always, more than wins. Love wins. Love wins.
Happy Valentine’s Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Watch Who Treat Like Mammy

The Black Church in 21st Century America

Haggai 1:2 "This is what the Lord Almighty says: The people are saying, `The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord's house-the Temple.' " 3 So the Lord sent this message through the prophet Haggai: 4 "Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins? 5 This is what the Lord Almighty says: Consider how things are going for you! 6 You have planted much but harvested little. You have food to eat, but not enough to fill you up. You have wine to drink, but not enough to satisfy your thirst. You have clothing to wear, but not enough to keep you warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes!
7 "This is what the Lord Almighty says: Consider how things are going for you! 8 Now go up into the hills, bring down timber, and rebuild my house. Then I will take pleasure in it and be honored, says the Lord. 9 You hoped for rich harvests, but they were poor. And when you brought your harvest home, I blew it away. Why? Because my house lies in ruins, says the Lord Almighty, while you are all busy building your own fine houses. 10 That is why the heavens have withheld the dew and the earth has withheld its crops. 11 I have called for a drought on your fields and hills-a drought to wither the grain and grapes and olives and all your other crops, a drought to starve both you and your cattle and to ruin everything you have worked so hard to get." (NLT)

As an ordained minister and Black woman, it troubles me to observe the causal disregard and indifference that all people have for the House of God. However, I am particularly weighted down with aggravation, frustration, and irritation with how the Black community has allowed the one institution that has seen us through the Middle Passage to present day to fall into fiscal, physical, and spiritual decay and disrepair.

Sadly, too many people are not cognizant of the Christian faith of some Africans prior to the Maafa or Middle Passage and simply accept the mythology that Black Christians adopted the religion of the slave owners and slave masters. This is the effect of being disconnected from world history and miseducated so as to perceive the only means of significance and success is to aspire to fit into the fictionalized accounts of American history that have for too long been formed around the need for white males to retain power and resources.

An analysis of Christianity will lead one to the logical conclusion that there were some Africans worshipping Jesus Christ. In what continent is Egypt located? Africa! When Joseph and Mary took Jesus into seclusion for safety, Jesus was taken to Egypt. In the New Testament Phillip witnessed to and baptized the Ethiopian eunuch. While there were indigenous African religions and there were Africans engaged in Islam there were also Christian Africans.
The Black Church as provided support for the Black community in myriad ways since its formation and yet the very beneficiaries of the sacrifices and services of the Black Church have left the church wanting and needing. Indeed, if the church is the Bride of Christ, we have treated the Black Church as ‘Mammy’.

We have refused to respect her and recognize her value. Her contributions have gone unappreciated. We have neglected her as we have climbed the ladder of prosperity laden with material acquisitions, designer labels, luxury automobiles, and fine dining. We have failed to continue giving at the same pace that out foreparents did during Reconstruction and the Great Depression despite the support of the Black Church to educate us, stand as refuge and arming stations during Civil Rights and Black Power movements. She prayed and toiled with us to gain equality in education and jobs and we neglect to give of our time, talent, and treasure. Oh, we extol her magnificent smile, and ceaseless rejoicing in song and uplifting sermon…yet, we do not return to her.

I am not equating the Black Church with God, He alone is our Priest, Provider, and Protector. However, we must have respect unto the vessel He chose to bring us through, to bring us over, and to help us up. We cannot and must not forget the Black Church and the ministries God used to reach us. Perhaps, if we return to the place we first believed we will recall how to apply the precepts and principles of God to our daily living. We will recognize that those same Godly lessons that edified, enabled, and empowered, our ancestors can help us today as we face oppressive issues with our economy, a society that prefers to incarcerate our youth than educate, children who live without healthcare, and too many of us who been lulled into apathy about our own situations.

Perhaps if we return to God and meet one another once again to worship, fellowship, study, pray, and serve we will stop throwing pity parties and begin to work towards improving our community and the global community. Of course, that requires each of us doing our part.

No more hollow hucksters in the pulpit perpetrating as leaders, when their priority is living off of our misery. No more politicians coming by to visit ‘Mammy’ just to get votes. We will have to learn to live within our means so that we can meaningful sow finances into the ministries of the Black Church. I am a believer…I believe in God and I believe every word of God…
Therefore, say to the people, `This is what the Lord Almighty says: Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord Almighty.' Zechariah 1:3 (NLT)

Power and peace are in Jesus!
Pastor Kelly Oglesby –

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Get In Shape Girl


I've always been a competitive person.  I started competing in gymnastics at the age of six. I had practice four times a week, every week. Once I entered middle/high school, that transitioned into cheerleading.  I also was active in track.  Unfortunately, many of the sports I grew up doing are not things that you can do into your adult life.  Unlike basketball, you can't just throw on a leotard and go bust some flips at a local gym with other people your age.  (My students always thought I was a cool teacher because I would flip for them when they had good behavior).  Even track isn't the same.  Distant runners have all the fun. There's a marathon every other weekend. How many hurdles have you seen lined up
on the street or how many adults recently have you heard yell, "Go! Stick!"? (I think I'm FloJo at Urban Active and do my own Olympic Trials for the 100).

I was able to perform again a couple of years ago when I danced for the Louisville Fire. That was a blast, I loved being in front of so many people, but I disliked the goofy appearances we were required to do.  So now in my 30s I wondered what else I could do to physically challenge myself.  My new boyfriend's name is Jim (aka the GYM) and you can find me there on a 
regular basis.  He's always been around, but recently we've started being more committed.  I love weight lifting, cardio, pilates and classes.  It's all a thrill.  Over the years, people have asked me when I was going to consider competing in a figure/fitness contest and I always brushed it off - until now!

Officially starting last week, I have started training for a figure competition.  My life like I knew it has permanently changed.  Meals consist of eggs, chicken, oatmeal, vegetables and protein shakes. My refrigerator has never looked so beautiful!  My workouts are more focused.  It will be interesting to see the changes that may occur and if I'll be ready for my first competition in a couple of weeks.  As I write right now, I've already endured my first injury (and it was painful) but like they say, "no pain, no gain".  

The Economic Stimulus Package: How it affects your life

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

Many Americans have heard about the new stimulus package signed by President Bush. The package is designed to do one thing: Get consumers to spend more so they can continue to strengthen the economy. Sounds good in theory, but in practice, it is simply asking us to keep spending, which is what got us into this economic mess in the first place. What is also true about all this is that much of our excessive consumer spending has been built on the economic backs of our children, as it has largely been financed by debt. Americans have had 16 straight years of increased consumer spending and the government doesn't want the party to end.

Here's some info on the stimulus package and how it will affect your life:

If you pay taxes and your income is below $75,000, you will get a check for $600. Couples who earn less than $150,000 per year will receive $1200.

There is a child tax credit of $300 per child. Add that to the $600 per person you receive above. Finally, producing children is considered a good thing.

If you are a worker who earned at least $3,000 per year, but your income was too low to require that you file a tax return, you will receive $300.

Those with big money (incomes above the max) will still be eligible for the tax rebates. The rebate you receive will be reduced by a nickel for every dollar you earn above the cap. So, an individual earning $85,000 per year would receive $100 ($600 - $10,000 x .05).

There are other details of the package, but the meat of the package lies in the rebates. My advice to you: save the money or invest it. Even if you don't spend, the recession is going to end soon anyway.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

People Think They Can Say Anything.

My co-host Michael Young and I seem to argue about this every week on our radio show. Someone says something stupid about black people. I get upset and wonder what the hell is going on. He says "they are stupid, ignore them and move on." I can certainly see his point. It would be nice if whenever someone said something stupid to just discard it. As a matter of fact I did just that on one of our previous shows about Kathy Griffin's comments about Jesus when she won an Emmy ( under Week 3). She got up there with her Emmy and made a disparaging remark about Jesus. I said she was being stupid and let's move on. Jesus takes no hit by one stupid remark.

In the later weeks, a number of people were saying things about black people. This ranged from fellow radio host John Gibson (Week 5.5) to Nobel Prize winners (Week 7) to TV personalities like Dog the Bounty Hunter (Weeks 9 and 10). And of course Imus. It seems as if every week someone is saying something bad about black people. Well it's a new week:

The Associated Press
February 1, 2008

A county judge was reprimanded for calling three black female lawyers "the Supremes" in court and advising the defendant to get "an experienced male attorney."

Washington County Circuit Judge W. Kennedy Boone has acknowledged that his comments suggested racial and sexual bias. In his written response to a complaint, Boone said he was trying to protect the three public defenders from representing a difficult defendant.

The Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities concluded the comments Boone made during a court hearing last April were "undignified and disparaging." The notice of reprimand was published Jan. 18 in the Maryland Register.

A stipulation by Boone and the Commission said that in June the judge offered to recuse himself from other cases the three attorneys handled.

Offering to recuse himself was the right thing to do, said Maryland Public Defender Nancy Forster, who filed the complaint in her official capacity.

Boone told the Herald-Mail of Hagerstown that he apologized to the three attorneys and that even though he offered to recuse himself, each has appeared in his court since the April case.

"I appreciate their acceptance of my apology," he told the newspaper Tuesday. He also said he had never before had a sanctionable complaint filed against him.

The defendant in the case pleaded guilty in June to assault and cocaine possession and was sentenced to eight years in prison.

It's just not every week either. People say bad stuff about black people everyday. That's obvious. But on NATIONAL TELEVISION?? On NATIONAL RADIO??? In the COURT ROOM?? From the JUDGE no less?

Yes, we know that TV and media outlets have always portrayed black people (among others) in negative ways. But all of that is a subconscious attack. Some people actually think that seeing tons of naked black women in videos surrounding one man has no affect on black women when it clearly is an attack. But at least in this case someone can argue the other side (Michael has done a good job at that.)

But now it's out of control. Just blatant attacks left and right. I had argued in week 5.5 of last year's show that whatever level of sensitivity there was to the disenfranchised in this country was certainly in decline. Michael as always provided a good reason as to why that might be good. I agreed with him to a point. But we are in dangerous territory.

We'll be talking about yet another idiot this Tuesday at 9pm on the show (it's webcasted from This time it's a judge and I will be angry and I'm sure Michael will be ready to move on. "Just another idiot," he will say. But I will ask him, "How many idiots will we need to say something before there is a problem?" I am looking forward to his answer.

People are very quick to say that the biggest difference between the hatred and racism of the past and today is that it's very subtle today.

No longer.

Peace and Love,

Aris Winger