With the NBA Playoffs in full swing, the relationship with hip-hop music and basketball are on full display. Whether you’re inside an NBA Arena, watching a game on television or playing an intense game of NBA 2K on XBOX or PlayStation, hip-hop artist and their music are as visible in each of these aspects as the players are. There has always been the saying that ballplayers want to be rappers and rappers want to be ball players. Over the years there have been many NBA players that have stepped into the booth, dropped bars and released albums. Dana Barros, Chris Webber, Allen Iverson and Cedric Ceballos to name a few have all recorded albums that were released during their careers. The relationship between hoops and hip-hop presented a unique company of two individuals from both sides. NBA Legend and basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal and hip-hop legend and executive mogul Percy Miller a.k.a Master P, a.k.a. The Ice Cream Man hold the distinction as being the only two people to have ever played in the NBA that have also had albums that have reached platinum status. The mid to late 1990s was a time when hip-hop began to become a bigger part of NBA entertainment. Hip-hop stars frequented NBA games and NBA players were commonly seen in music videos on BET, MTV, vh1 and The Box (do you remember the box) either lacing tracks or simply making cameos. The 1998 and 1999 NBA Preseason would see Master P have the opportunity to continue a hoop dream deferred ( Miller attended the University of Houston on a basketball scholarship) by attending training camp and playing NBA preseason games with the Charlotte Hornets in 1998 and the Toronto Raptors in 1999. Shaquille O’Neal, then a Los Angeles Laker, had by that time released four studio albums, his first being Shaq Diesel (released in 1993) which went on to reach platinum status. By the time Master P had touched an NBA floor in 1998 he had two platinum albums under his belt (three by 1999 when he was in a Raptors uniform) along with game to legitimize his quest for an NBA roster spot. O’Neal and Miller both had the success which so many musicians and athletes have sought for so long; the opportunity to not only pursue a career in both music or sports but to also be highly successful in that realm.
It was summer. 1993. I was 7 years old living in Hoover Alabama, a suburb of the most segregated city in America in 1963, “Bombingham” as it was called. My mother subscribed me to the Scholastic Book club when she realized I enjoyed going to the local public library. As I scanned for a book to read, she suggested that I get a book on the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I knew who he was. I knew there was a holiday observed in his honor. I knew he had a dream. In my hometown of Memphis Tennessee, I knew there was a museum built at the hotel that some white man shot and killed him. She told me that he helped change the world. I agreed with my mother’s suggestion. A Picture Book of Martin Luther King Jr. by David Adler arrived a few weeks later. As I had done previously with my other books, I ran back to the room I shared with my two brothers. While they were playing our Super Nintendo, I began reading about this young Baptist minister who engaged in protests during the times of when my parents were my age. I recall words I didn’t understand; civil disobedience, nonviolent resistance, Nobel Peace Prize, and then assassination. Although I had visited the National Civil Rights Museum two years earlier and now the place of my employment, it was the page towards the back of the book that I became numb and devastated. After sitting on my bed developing tears in my eyes, I ran into the kitchen where my parents were preparing dinner and wrapped my arms around my mother. As I dropped the book on the floor, I cried and continued to ask her “Why did that man shoot Dr. King? Why?” She sat me on her lap and told me “Ryan, Dr. King was a good man. He and others fought and gave their lives so America could be a better place for all of its people. But, there are some people who didn’t like Dr. King because of the color of his skin.” I understood but I didn’t. As I got older, living in the south and learning the true narrative of people of color, a narrative that has not always been taught in the most considerate and respectful way, it began to mold me into who I am today. One of my teachers in the 4th grade forced me and my other classmates to build a Southern plantation for a project and be tested on “Gone with the Wind”. The first impressions to an innocent mind can have an everlasting effect. These reflections I share with you on the commemoration of one of the greatest tragedies in our history is personal and a spiritual journey.
Once I realized I wasn’t going to be the next Stephen Curry or DJ Jazzy Jeff, I really began to become fascinated with Dr. King, his writings, his speeches, his personal life, and of course his mysterious assassination. From Montgomery to Selma, from Letter from a Birmingham Jail to when he publicly opposed the Vietnam War. It wasn’t until I took an upper division history course at the University of Tennessee-Martin in 2007 by one of my most influential professors and mentors Dr. David Barber, I learned that Dr. King was not the “I Have a Dream” man that we observe every third Monday in January. Reading the Fire Next Time, Soul On Ice, and The Souls of Black Folks all in one semester, I again began to evolve. I began to learn the differences between printed history and researched history. Fact vs. Myth. Dr. King indeed was a radical just as Malcolm, Stokely, Huey, and Fred Hampton had been. After Selma, his life would become exhausting, riddled with stress, and somewhat pressured by the new Black Power movement led by young and hungry Black militants who were no longer willing to use nonviolent resistance. The world was changing. David Ruffin and the Temptations took the process conks out of their hair and wore it natural. Muhammad Ali formed the seed that Colin Kaepernick would flourish from on Sunday mornings. Dr. King left the vitriol racism in the Jim Crow South and attempted to apply his tactics in the north such as Chicago. It was there he realized racial discrimination was not a southern thing, it was an American thing. He was bewildered at how the overwhelming amounts of poverty affected Americans across the country. He was perplexed at the reality of the United States government spending billions of dollars on military defense when the citizens of this country were well below the poverty line. As he had done for jobs and freedom during the March on Washington on August 28, 1963, he planned a Poor People’s Campaign for the nation’s capital as well. Only this time, he planned to have 500,000 Americans build tents and force the government to close tax loopholes and helps its citizens domestically. This, unfortunately, is what likely cost him his life. Dr. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference were in the middle of planning the Poor People’s Campaign, when two unsung men were killed in the back of a garbage truck on a rainy afternoon in the city I was born, on the banks of the Mississippi, the city in which the “Dream” would be killed.
A few weeks after I cried at the assassination photograph in my Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. children’s book, my father took my brother’s and me to Blockbuster Video. While my brothers each picked the video game of their choice and I chose Burt Reynolds Cop and a Half, my dad chose a documentary titled At the River I Stand. He suggested that I watch this film with him once we got home. This documentary told the story of why Dr. King came to Memphis and eventually lost his life at the Lorraine Motel. It was a specific yet grisly story that still horrifies me to this current day. Thursday, February 1, 1968. The day of the spark in which Dr. King would come to Memphis and senselessly lose his life two months later. In East Memphis, two men, Robert Walker Jr. and Echol Cole had been Memphis sanitation workers for a few months. That Thursday was a steady hard rain in Memphis. As the crew began to return to their dump headquarters on Shelby Drive, Walker and Cole got into the back of the truck to shelter themselves. After a malfunction in the wiring, the trash compactor triggered by accident. Mr. Cole was further in the truck than Robert Walker and stuck out his hand to be pulled out. Robert Walker likely could have escaped but both men locked hands with each other and Walker was pulled in and both were crushed to death. While the Memphis press all but ignored the tragic accident, it welcomed the birth of Elvis Presley’s daughter Lisa Marie into the world. Because of the men’s death, Memphis sanitation workers formally went on strike against the city. The Reverend James Lawson would invite Dr. King to give a speech on behalf of the strikers. He would come and receive a warm and open reception from Memphis on March 18, 1968. So much that he volunteered to return to Memphis ten days later to march. When he arrived back on the 28th, there was a restless crowd awaiting him to join the marchers at the front. When the march turned on Main Street, there was looting at the back of the march. As the violence got worse, Dr. King was forced to leave the march that he had not organized, but would later be blamed for. This was critical for him because he was due in Washington in the next few weeks for the Poor People’s Campaign. The national media asserted that Dr. King had lost his magic. That if he couldn’t be successful in Memphis Tennessee, then how would he thrive in Washington D.C.? An hour after the march, another unsung martyr would lose his life. Sixteen-year-old Larry Payne, a junior at Mitchell High School marched with Dr. King that morning. After returning home briefly, he and some of his other classmates were caught in the middle of the looting. Memphis Police officer Leslie Dean Jones found Larry hiding in the South Memphis housing projects Fowler Homes and demanded he come out. According to a dozen witnesses, Larry appeared with his hands above his head. L.D. Jones shoved his shotgun into Larry’s stomach and fired point blank range. Larry’s mother, Mrs. Lizzie Payne tried to approach her son lying in a pool of blood, only to be met by her son’s murderer. Jones stuck his shotgun into her stomach, telling her to “Get back, Nigger.” Larry died on the way to the hospital. Officer Jones stated that Larry ran at him with a knife, an accusation that the same dozen witnesses disagreed with. Nevertheless, L.D. Jones was not indicted or even arrested. The next day, Dr. King vowed to return to Memphis to assure that he could still lead a nonviolent campaign, as he had done in Montgomery, Birmingham, and Selma. He would return on April 3, 1968.
Since 2011, I’ve had the privilege of working at the National Civil Rights Museum, the site of Dr. King’s assassination. Working at this empowering institution has given me the humble opportunity to speak to all walks of life that our exhibitions interpret. While I’ve met some incredible activists, athletes, and other celebrities, the most challenging was when Dr. King’s youngest child, the Reverend Dr. Bernice King entered the museum. I always had a great admiration for her and her parents and how she has preserved her father’s legacy. But I questioned myself on telling her a history that she already knew… AT the place of her father’s tragic death. It was by far my most humbling experience of my life standing in the spot on the second floor of the balcony of the Lorraine Motel with her gazing across the street into the area a loud rifle shot was fired from. I felt grief, anger, and sorrow. I began to tell her of the moment Dr. King arrived back in Memphis on April 3, 1968 on flight 381 on Eastern Airlines. Before arriving however, there was a bomb threat that delayed him by an hour. After arriving in Memphis, he was transported to the Lorraine Motel, a black-owned and prestigious hotel that catered to legends such as Sam Cooke, Jackie Robinson, Aretha Franklin, and Lena Horne. The Lorraine was owned by power couple Walter and Loree Bailey, who renovated the hotel and motel several times during the peaking years of the Civil Rights Movement. For $13 a night, African-Americans could relax and feel safe at the Lorraine. Of course, Dr. King, on his three visits to the Lorraine, would never be charged for his stay. As he met with his staff and local Memphis leaders including a young Black Power splinter group The Invaders, King began to feel ill. He suffered from laryngitis and developed flu-like symptoms. There was also tornado warnings in the great Memphis area which he felt would affect the attendance at that night’s rally at the Mason Temple. He requested that Reverend Ralph Abernathy, later UN Ambassador Andrew Young and a young Reverend Jesse Jackson attend in his place. He would catch up on some rest. When the three men arrived, they were stunned to see 3,000 people standing up as they walked in. Then the ovation grew quiet as they noticed Dr. King was not with them. Abernathy leaned to Andrew Young and laughed “this is Martin’s crowd. We have to get him here immediately.” He rushed to the nearest phone and called room 306 at the Lorraine Motel and urged Dr. King to get to the Temple quick. “The news cameras are all here. This will be shown nationally.” Dr. King arrived in 25 minutes. Abernathy delivered an unusually long biography of his oldest friend before Dr. King reached the podium. He had no notes. In an ode to Hip Hop, he planned to “freestyle” his remarks for the next forty minutes. He spoke of the strike. He spoke his commitment of leading a nonviolent march in Memphis. He spoke of his determination to reach Washington. He then spoke of various events during his 12-year tenure in the Civil Rights Movement. The afternoon he was stabbed by a deranged woman in Harlem. The Sit-ins. Bull Connor and Birmingham. Bloody Sunday and Selma. And then it happened. As the shutters of the church were slamming because of the tornado winds, he gazed into his audience and said “I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land! And so I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man!
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!” He collapsed into the arms of his staff. The time was 10:30 PM. Dr. King had just delivered his final address to the world.
Every morning as I begin my day, I walk through the museum to remind myself that not only is this is my job. But this my life and purpose. The men, women, and children. Black and White. The courage and sacrifices. So that people like myself and others can keep this rich history alive. That the future generations know that we are not makers of history, but that we are made by history.
And as I approach the room that Dr. King was taken from us, I remember that he was one man. A son, father, husband, who was full of vulnerability like all of us. The day after he delivered the most emotional, yet inspiring speech in my life, Dr. King was in the most joyous mood that he had been in weeks. When Andrew Young returned from Federal court to have an injunction lifted, he threw him onto a bed in Room 202 of the Lorraine and began child-like pillow fight. After wrestling themselves into an appetite, Dr. King went upstairs around 5:30 PM to his room to get dressed for a soul food dinner at Memphis minister’s home Samuel “Billy” Kyles. Dr. King reappeared on the balcony at 5:55 PM. He spoke to Jesse Jackson, whom he scolded the weekend before at an SCLC meeting in Atlanta. He told Jesse he wanted him to come to dinner with him and that he needed to put on a necktie. Jesse called back up to say “Doc, a prerequisite for dinner is an appetite and I have that.” The men laughed. Jesse introduced Dr. King to Ben Branch, a saxophonist who was going to play that night after dinner. Dr. King knew him already. He personally requested Mr. Branch to play “Precious Lord”, his favorite spiritual. “Play it real pretty.” Dr. King’s chauffeur called up and told him to grab his topcoat. Before Dr. King could reply, he was lifted upward off the ground and thrown back violently to the floor on the balcony. Everyone who was in the courtyard thought it was a car backfiring. Then they looked and saw Dr. King’s shoes dangling on the balcony and rushed to his aide. There was a large and mortal wound in the right side of his lower jaw and neck. Ralph Abernathy thought Dr. King recognized him for a few seconds, but he never spoke a word. Almost immediately, the Memphis Police Department was running toward the Lorraine balcony. In that instant, South African photographer Joseph Louw took the photo of Dr. King’s aides pointing west in the direction of where they felt the shot came from. After being taken from the balcony to St. Joseph’s Hospital, now St. Jude, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was pronounced dead at 7:05 PM central standard time. His death wasn’t the only to haunt the Lorraine. Mrs. Loree Bailey, the co-owner of the motel began shaking when she saw Dr. King lying on the balcony. Hours later, a blood vessel popped in her brain and she would fall into a coma before dying five days later, the day Dr. King was eulogized in Atlanta.
Riots and urban uprisings burned across the United States. The apostle of nonviolence was gone. Who could have done such a thing? James Earl Ray, a petty criminal with a 2nd-grade education and at best a poor shot with a rifle, with a scope that still has never been sighted? From a window where no eyewitness picked him out of a lineup? Could James Earl Ray changed Dr. King’s room at the Lorraine Motel on April 3? Could he have ordered the Memphis Public Works have obscuring bushes and grass removed in the middle of the night after the assassination, where several eyewitnesses saw gun smoke and a man moving rather quickly when the shot was fired? Could Ray have successfully removed three African-American officers from their post at the Memphis Fire Station adjacent to the Lorraine Motel? Could James Earl Ray conveniently left his bundle with the alleged murder weapon just 300 feet from the scene of the crime and leave Memphis undetected and arrive in Atlanta, Toronto, and London, with 5 separate aliases of men that looked almost identical to him? 50 years later, these lingering questions still remain. 50 years later, we still don’t have concise answers. While I believe the extensive plot to kill Dr. King goes much further and complex than the likes of James Earl Ray, we must still consider the fear and threat Dr. King caused at the time of his death. Just two months later, Senator Robert F. Kennedy suffered the same fate. The very same principles that Dr. King stood for, men and women are still being ridiculed today. Racism. Poverty. Militarism. Those who hide their prejudiced ways for their patriotism and those who don’t have a decent living wage to take care of their families. Is that why he was murdered? Dr. King died the most hated man on the planet. Today, he is one of the most glorified. Did it take him to be shot down on a balcony of a hotel in Memphis so African-American sanitation workers could live better lives? Is that a dream or a nightmare?
By Anthony Prewitt (Alpha Phi Alpha | Beta Upsilon Lambda Chapter)
Dr. King and many others like him came up in a time where hate was rampant and many were scared to take action to combat social injustice. It was those who challenged the system and demanded equality and justice that have inspired me to keep their dreams and hopes alive. I’ve learned from Dr. King that those that commit to plant the “seeds” of change and reform rarely live to see the harvest. I’m ok with that. I know that through my work and commitment to the uplift of those that look like me; their success will be mine. When I was aspiring to be a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, I saw the caliber of men and their accomplishments and I’d only hoped to be counted in their midst. Dr. King has inspired me to fight the good fight…even if it may be your last. Rest assured, until the last breath of air leaves my body, I will continue to develop leaders, promote brotherhood and academic excellence while providing service and advocacy for our communities.
Dr. King stated, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” I’m not ready to die just yet!
• The Education of a Negro Cpl. | Roman Duckworth Jr. | Ryan Culver
• First List | FBI Agent Lee | AZ Productions
• Power Forward | Keith | JusBFilms
• Judicial Indiscretion | Hosea | Samaraha
• Disobedience | Coach Bradley | New York Film Academy
Buick Human Highlight Reel Commercial NCAA 2011 Sports
The college experience is the training ground and life teacher for many people as it is then they began to formulate the ideas and plans for success and future goals in life. Each college provides a unique experience to its students, but none hail in comparison to the ones experienced by those that choose to attend an HBCU. Historically Black Colleges and Universities were born out of necessity, as blacks in the United States of America had no options for education other than the ones which they created for themselves. The necessity and commitment to excellence and achievement with its students, HBCUs have produced a wealth of graduates that have excelled in many different areas of education, business, athletics and medicine to name a few. ESHE Magazine wants to recognize four highly successful individuals that have graduated from Historically Black Colleges across the country.
Travis King | Southern University Hometown: Memphis, TN (currently reside in Dallas, TX)
Major: Business Management
Bio: 20+ years in the Amateur and Professional Basketball Industry, Travis King has negotiated over $500 million in contracts with the NBA, FIBA, and Shoe Companies. Formerly as AAU’s National Boys’ Basketball Manager, Travis garnered key relationships on the grassroots level with Division 1 Coaches, major brands and shoe companies, as well as with NBA personnel and scouts.
As a certified NBPA player agent, Mr. King is the Basketball Divisions lead recruiter and point person for the Rookie Pre-Draft program.
Travis was a 3-year letterman for the Southern University Men’s basketball team in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Quote That Travis Lives By: “The more you learn, the more you earn!” – A.D. Middlebrook (my grandfather)
Thomas Williams Jr., PhD | Jackson State University Hometown: Memphis, TN
Major: Educational Administration with a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction
Dr. Thomas Williams grew up in Memphis Tennessee. From an early age he knew that he wanted to be an educator. After graduating high school he moved to Jackson Mississippi to pursue a degree in early childhood education. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree he began teaching with an urban school district in Mississippi. After teaching several years Dr. Williams realized that he wanted to explore opportunities in early childhood leadership and policy. This passion led him to obtain his Educational Specialist in psychometrics as well as his Master’s degree and Ph.D in educational administration from Jackson State University. Thomas Williams, PhD was also selected to participate with Harvard University Graduate School of Education Management and Leadership certificate program. Dr. Williams currently works in Washington DC as an early childhood leader. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and listening to music.
Quote That Thomas Lives By: “The biggest risk is not taking any risk…. In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” —Mark Zuckerberg
Sherice Janaye Nelson, PhD | Stillman College, University of the District of Columbia, Howard University Hometown: Oakland, California
Major: History & English, Public Management, Political Science
Bio: Sherice Janaye Nelson is a graduate of the illustrious Howard University. Here she received her Doctorate of Philosophy in Political Science specializing in International Relations, Black Politics, and American Government. She is a Hillary Clinton scholar as her dissertation discussed the leadership styles of Clinton and Dr. Madeleine Albright respectively. Her work has been published in the Journal of International Relations and Affairs Group, and she is currently working on research that shows how to properly support Historical Black Colleges and Universities. Dr. Nelson currently operates her own consulting firm Dr. Janaye Executes, which specializes in idea development, strategic planning, and project execution. She is a professor and most recently taught at St. Mary’s College and Las Positas College. She earned her Masters of Public Administration at the University of the District of Columbia and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a dual degree in History and English from Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Quote That Sherice Lives By: But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33 KJV
Jason Pruitt | Calhoun Community College/Clark Atlanta University/Nova Southeastern University Hometown: Muscle Shoals, Alabama
Major: Associates – Communications/ B.A. Mass Media Arts (TV Broadcasting)/Masters– Educational Technology
Bio: Currently the head women’s basketball coach at the University of La Verne, NCAA III.
Jason was most recently the coach at the University of Antelope Valley. While at UAV, Pruitt led the Pioneers to a 2016-2017 California Pacific Conference Championship, in the team’s inaugural season. Pruitt also led the Pioneers to a win over Pepperdine University at Firestone Fieldhouse. The Pioneers finished the 2016-2017 season with a 19-7 record (11-3 in the CalPac Conference) with one All-American, two First Team All-Conference players, one Second Team All-Conference player, one Honorable Mention player, and the Defensive Player of the Year. Coach Pruitt was also fortunate to be honored as the CalPac Conference’s Coach of the Year.
Prior to Antelope Valley, Pruitt spent three seasons as head coach of the Bethesda University Flames – out of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) – where he guided them to a record-breaking run during his tenure and a No. 8 ranking in the final NCCAA standings for the 2015-16 season.
While at Bethesda, Pruitt guided the Flames to consecutive NCCAA National Tournament appearances and was twice named NCCAA Western Region Coach of the Year. Pruitt’s players also excelled in the classroom, with five members earning NCCAA Scholar-Athlete accolades.
Prior to joining Bethesda, the Leighton, Ala., native was an assistant men’s basketball coach at NCAA Division III California Institute of Technology, where he helped recruit and secure one of the best recruiting classes in Caltech’s history. Before moving to Southern California, Pruitt was a coach at the University School of Nova Southeastern University where he and his team finished the 2011-2012 season as Class 4A District Champions with the best record in school history (25-4) and ranked No. 1 in the state of Florida for eight-consecutive weeks.
Pruitt is a decorated athlete from Northwest Alabama where he was a standout basketball player and track star at Colbert County High School in Leighton. After high school, Pruitt played junior college basketball at nationally-ranked John C. Calhoun Community College. During his sophomore campaign, the Warhawks were the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Alabama State Champs and went on to play in the in the NJCAA National Championship game. He later signed with Division I Mississippi Valley State University where he played one season before ending his collegiate basketball career at Kentucky State University.
Coach Pruitt holds an Associate’s degree from John C. Calhoun, a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Media Arts from Clark Atlanta University and a Master’s in Educational Technology from Nova Southeastern.
Before Pruitt professionally returned to the hardwood as a coach, he spent nearly a decade working in the media industry where he served as a manager, producer, editor and videographer at various CBS, NBC, and ABC television affiliates. Coach Pruitt has applied this experience in the classroom by teaching diverse courses on digital journalism, media technology, communication, and sports marketing at local high schools and colleges.
Quote That Jason Lives By: “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” ― Rob Siltanen
It has been 50 years since Martin Luther King Jr. Was gunned down. Fifty long years since King was blasted from life on a balcony outside of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN. The years have gone by in a blur for many. Forgetfulness has made King and the Civil Rights Movement a small blurb in history. One has to wonder if the African American community has not wasted King’s sacrifice?
King went to Memphis to help the sanitation workers in their quest for better conditions on the job. This was one of the many times King became the focal point to bring light to an issue. Sadly it was to be the last time King would walk the planet breathing. On April 4, 1968 King was assassinated and in many cases the dream he had died with him. Since that day African Americans have become more confused than any previous time in the USA since slavery.
When King died the masses of African American people went back to sleep. King’s death became a beacon/ warning to African Americans to follow the status quo while waiting for change. Many people stepped in to take charge of the leadership void King’s death left. From Jessie Jackson to Al Sharpton men tried to fill the shoes King left vacated. To see the results one only has to look at the news or go into the African American community to realize the level of failure.
In 2018 the African American community is still facing the same problems it faced in 1968. The biggest difference is without a King like leader people don’t have the leadership to get things changed. This is why you see the same time-worn strategies being used in 2018 from 1968. When King and others marched it was the final use for marches as a method of change. The culmination of the march was the big march on Washington where King electrified the world with his oratory. Every march since then has been in futility. Yet whenever there is a problem African Americans hold a march.
King was a master orator. People listen to his speeches in 2018 and get tears in their eyes. Every leader since has attempted to use his words to motivate the African American masses. All these King impersonators have done is create a ball of confusion in the African American community. The divide created from differing viewpoints has kept the chasm of disunity in the African American community growing. Oddly enough these so-called African American leaders have more fame than King could ever imagine. Al Sharpton is a fixture on television and Jessie Jackson ran for president. Yet the African American people still suffer.
King was the standard for ministers in the African American community. In 2018 many African American people still look to the minister to speak for them. All this has created is mega churches with very wealthy ministers. Three years ago Creflo Dollar was worth a cool 27 million. We’ll let that sink in. Do you think someone who is making this kind of money wants things to change in the USA? Is it possible that it is time for African Americans to look elsewhere for leadership than the pulpit?
King may have his detractors but he died for what he believed in. Was his non-violence concept foolish? Who knows? One thing is for certain; African Americans did not utilize the sacrifice King made to the maximum extent. The schools are filled with African American students who refuse to learn. African American people push drugs and kill one another at an alarming rate. African Americans are still begging for crumbs at every other races table.
There have been celebrations marking the 50th Anniversary of King’s Death. People of all cultures celebrate King’s death. Sadly the African American community continues to dishonor King’s life. I wonder how King would feel about the way the African American community has honored his sacrifice?
On March 8, 2018 a celebration of African Musicians was hosted by Grammy and Oscar-winning artists/actor Common in the Hollywood Hills. The “African Get Down” held at the Elyx House, was not only a celebration of great musical artists and DJs from Africa, but it was also a celebration of African culture and tradition. The event was produced by CSA principals Marc Le Chat, Brannan Phillips and Davin Phillips. Among the guests were Janeshia Adamsp-Ginyard, music producer Karl Rubin, film producer Shopan Entesari, Emmy Award winning stylist, Theresa Broadnax, jewelry designer, Monalisa Okojie, number one hip hop musical artist, South African DJ,King Kanja, DJ Heavy K, The Clemmons Twins, and Jo-Lo music producer Harmony Samuels.
The guests attending the event wore beautiful garments of traditional African culture, accentuating the beauty that has always derived from the Mother Land.
Women were clothed in Djellabas, habesha kemis, kangas, and gomesis. Adorned atop the heads of these beautiful women were various head scarfs. The men wore dashikis and kofias, symbolizing and continuing the greatness of African kings.
Host Common spoke to the united group about the importance of unity and standing for what one believes in. Speaking about his travels to the continent of Africa, Common shared his deep experiences with the people of Africa and how they also aimed to rectify the ills not only going on in their respective countries but in the United States as well. The event provided the opportunity for the attendees to experience African culture in a truly intimate setting while sharing life experiences within an atmosphere of love and brotherhood.
Today’s society is full of imagery that reinforces negative stereotypes and perpetuates false realities. One avenue which has been consistently used is the realm of television and film. Film director/producer Mary Moutry of Ca$h Out Production has flipped the script with her new film “Cash Out: Cost Of Beauty.” The film shows how important it is to love one’s self while also showing the negative consequences which can come about when there is a lack of self-worth. Moutry recently spoke with ESHE about the film, it’s message and her objective as a film producer.
ESHE Magazine: What inspired you to create this film?
Mary Moutry: Since this was my first time ever screenwriting I needed to tell a story I knew without having to use my imagination. I wanted to tell a cautionary tale as well as inspire others to love their natural self as I too was embarking on a new journey of self-love and realizing self-hatred that I was totally unaware of. I guess you can say I was going through an awakening.
ESHE Magazine: As a producer, what do you feel is your most important obligation to people that view your films?
Mary Moutry: I think more importantly than a producer as a filmmaker it is most important to make your viewer feel, doesn’t matter the feeling but that they feel and they feel deeply. I make the type of films that leave with you and linger in your mind.
ESHE Magazine: Self-love. “CashOut” depicts and reinforces the importance of self-love and how a lack of self-love can destroy a person both literally and figuratively. Today’s society creates so much imagery for people to hopelessly and pointlessly aim for; in what ways does your film reinforce the importance of self-love?
Mary Moutry: CashOut reinforces self-love with beautiful imagery and poetry to simultaneously stimulate you mentally.
ESHE Magazine: In your eyes, what is the deepest scene in the film?
Mary Moutry: The tap dance scene, in my opinion, is the deepest scene this scene was inspired by two things. One how I feel as a black woman in a metamorphic form. I feel like this is what black men want from us the fair skin, light eyes, European hair with the black woman’s physic.I feel like we are tap dancing to be noticed. I was also inspired by a famous grace jones photo shoot where her face was made up to look white but yet the rest of her was black.
ESHE Magazine: One adjective to describe this film.
A Celebration of Basketball. That’s what NBA All-Star Weekend has always been called. A celebration of the games greatest players, both past, and present coming together to celebrate everything great about the NBA. The 67th annual NBA All-Star game took place in Los Angeles, California, home of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers. As much as the weekend is about the events taking place on the court throughout, the essence of All-Star weekend lies in the history of the game. The great players which have graced the NBA courts that have elevated the game, the contributions of these players off the court and the natural ability of these individuals to be ambassadors of the league worldwide were on display for the entire weekend. Of the numerous legends present for NBA All-Star Weekend 2018, one great stood out head and shoulders amongst his Hall of Fame Peers; Isiah Lord Thomas III. Businessman, Top 50 NBA Player of All Time, Hall Of Famer, NCAA Champion, and two-time NBA Champion, Thomas left an indelible mark on All-Star Weekend 2018 with his success and knowledge as a businessman. The CEO and Chairman of Isiah Thomas International LLC, Thomas had the perfect platform to introduce his imported champagne, Cheurlin Champagne to the entire NBA family and its sponsors. Partnering with the National Basketball Retired Players Association, Cheurlin Champagne was the drink of choice for everybody that attended any of the Legends events during NBA All-Star Weekend. The NBRPA Legends Welcome Reception on Friday signified the official beginning of NBA All-Star Weekend with the presence of numerous NBA Legends and Hall of Famers. Held at the LA Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles, one could look in any direction in the ballroom and their vision would instantly be filled with excellence. From Elgin Baylor to Spencer Haywood, Bo Kimble, Dave Cowens, Jamaal Wilkes just to name a few, legends from all eras of NBA basketball were present in the room. Speaking during the reception, Thomas spoke of his life, his inspirations and how many of the legends present in the room, as well as those not present influenced and inspired him to achieve in all areas of his life. “Players Only” was the theme for the day and it was only fitting that the reception ended with a toast of his bottled perfection, Cheurlin. One of the priceless moments for a person being at the reception, whether an NBA Alum or not, was being able to witness the NBA brotherhood in its purest form. NBA Legends which were formidable adversaries at certain points in their careers showered love and praise upon each other throughout the entire evening. Speaking to each other with love, these legends also spoke with the same love and respect for their NBA brothers which are no longer here, (specifically JoJo White, who passed on January 16, 2018). A room full of NBA Legends and their families enjoying Cheurlin Champagne was the perfect start to an amazing weekend of love, and inspiration.
The ever-evolving relationship between the NBA and technology was the platform for Saturday’s event which took place at The London Hotel in West Hollywood. The NBPA, Base Ventures & Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown held court on the rooftop of The London Hotel with “Tech Hustle.” This event featured some of the brightest minds and innovators in the world of tech, music, media, and entertainment. Scheduled speakers included Troy Carter, Jaylen Brown, Erik Moore, Ethan Brown, Too Short, Isiah Thomas, Bozoma Saint John, Ghazi Shami, Dominique Wilkins, Ameer Hasan Loggins, Morgan Debaun and David Krane, each of whom had unique experiences that not only educated and enlightened everybody on how technology had influenced their lives, but also how technology will continue to be a major player in the world in all avenues. Musician, entrepreneur, and innovator Chamillionaire also spoke about how tech has played an instrumental part in his entrepreneurial endeavors and ventures. Chamillionaire (whose real name is Hakeen Seriki) has founded and invested in multiple startups over the years and in constantly seeking and creating new pathways for growth in the world of tech. Many notables were present for the duration of the event. 2016 NBA Slam Dunk Champion and Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon, Golden State Warriors forward JaVale McGee (2017 NBA Champion) were present. Angela Benton, Founder & CEO of NewME Accelerator was on hand as well as many entrepreneurs and innovators engaged and connected with each other. Speaking at this event, Thomas spoke about his different business endeavors over the years and how each entity played a role in where he is at today in with his portfolio in the world of business. As with his own court career, Isiah was the first to do many things off the court, most notably the streaming of professional sports via the world wide web. A visionary, his grasp of how the internet and sports could work together for the advancement of both is evident in all sports with many games, leagues, and events being streamed online in 2018. Speaking from his experiences as not only a businessman but as a black man, Isiah showed how the combination of hard work, vision and faith can spearhead one to success, no matter where one may start. Similar to a stutter step, through the legs crossover whooing the crowd, Isiah wowed the audience when he brought eight-time Grammy Award-winning artist Lauryn Hill on the stage to speak. Hill spoke about not only technology and it’s place in the world, but she also passionately spoke about how everybody of this worlds holds a key to changing this world for the better. Having traveled the world numerous times, Hill was able to speak from a place of great insight as to how people can ultimately be the change needed to not only make the world a better place but to end many of the problems which plague many places, most specifically poverty and homelessness. The words of Hill touched the audience similar to the way her lyrics in any of her songs did but on a different level of intimacy. The sparkling energy from all of those gathered at The London Hotel was matched by the sparkling Cheurlin which was freely flowing throughout “Tech Hustle.”
Thomas’s engagement with all guests and participants throughout the entire weekend signified the one thing that comes to define his life; being a leader and getting all to see the ultimate goal. As a basketball player, Thomas won numerous awards and championships on each level through the remnants of hard work, determination and unmatched leadership. Always a businessman, Thomas has used the same attributes that enabled him to excel and become an NBA Legend to propel him to the top in the world of business. Possessing an extremely vast and diverse portfolio, this weekend allowed Isiah to not only be an inspiration to those that have known him but also to those that may not have known about the successful business ventures which he has created, founded or been a part of through his life. ESHE Magazine raises its glass of Cheurlin and toasts to an NBA All-Star weekend of excellence, education, and inspiration. #YouEarnedIt