Archive for May, 2012

The Bridge: Gays, Fear & Ignorance

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Health & Fitness, Women's Interests with tags , , on May 29, 2012 by Gary Johnson

By Darryl James

Gays, just like any other group of people taunted by bigots, have always found a modicum of comfort and relative acceptance in the Black community.

While there are hateful people in the Black community, Blacks haven’t been running out to form angry mobs to chase down gay people and harm or kill them.

Even some of the most religious African Americans who are opposed to homosexuality as a lifestyle have gay friends.  And one has only to take a cursory look at the Black church to see that there is a strong gay presence, particularly in the choirs. There is a wink and a nod when the preacher speaks fire and brimstone against homosexuality, because there is rarely a hateful word against the homosexuals themselves as individuals.

When a Black person says “I don’t hate gay people, I have gay friends,” it’s not the same as a racist claiming the one token Black to deny his/her hatred of Blacks. Most African Americans actually do have gay friends and gay family members. And they would protect those loved ones with tooth and nail.

But that has little to do with gay politics, including the gay marriage movement.

While some African Americans are staunchly against gay marriage, many, like myself, simply don’t care.

I don’t care who marries whom.

But I do care that you pretend it is the same as slavery.

Damn you for that.

Blacks who oppose gay marriage are neither hateful nor ignorant and every time a gay person speaks such stupidity, such tactical hatred, there is far less tolerance and far less openness to gay politics.

I don’t know why the Gay Mafia (GLAAD) pretends not to understand this.

Their politics get so much blowback because they keep trying to force people to embrace politics and beliefs that are counter to the core beliefs of many African Americans, which is neither anti-gay, gay hatred nor ignorance. But if they keep up their gangster tactics, they will find more opposition to more of their positions.

For example, I was once friendly to gays and the gay rights movement, but now I’m angry. I am no longer friendly to their politics.

Do I hate gays?

No, but I hate people who claim that I do.

Do I condone violence against gays?

Hell no! But I want to beat the hell out of people who pretend that somehow, opposition to their politics is equivalent to hatred of the people.

I have loved ones who have lifestyles which could be defined as gay. But none of them has ever come up to me to tell me that they are gay or to discuss what they do as gay people. They simply live their lives as good, loving human beings, just as I do.

Honestly, for some, it’s not as simple as fear or ignorance.

For some, there is no opposition to or hatred of gay people.

And honestly, there is no real difficulty with gay rights.

The problem, which the Gay Mafia does not want to admit, is that some people are offended by the gangster politics of the movement and its supporters. We are told: “Support gay marriage or you hate gays. Support gay marriage or you are ignorant.”

How about this: Some of us just don’t care.

But when we see the gay marriage movement compared to slavery and when we see gays demand that Blacks support them (based on what?), and when we see that the gay community has no concern for the racism it seeps out, then we either say: “I don’t care, or I stand against your movement because your politics deeply offend me.”

I don’t hate gay people. I have no fear of gays or the gay lifestyle.

I am not anti-gay. I’m too busy being pro-me.

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles in 2001 and will become a feature film in 2012. View previous installments of this column at Reach James at


Posted in African Americans, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Ramey Commentaries with tags on May 29, 2012 by Gary Johnson

By Mike Ramey

The business of business is to make money.
Black folk–especially our youth–need to be aware of this basic point.
The mainstream media of this country is–above all–a business. The news media of the USA is–a business. The sports industry of America–is a business. Your local television and radio station, major newspaper or magazines and even your minority-owned newspapers and magazines are all businesses. Each of them have boardrooms, lawyers, advisors and accountants focused on one thing. That one thing: making money.
Pity the person who steps in between them and their profits. Even with the truth!
The arrogance of the entertainment/sports/media kabal (which is what I call them because the three are cash linked) is best explained by them. Thus, reading the occasional media sheets, web accounts and business briefs on them pays big dividends in understanding one’s adversary.
A few years back, 2010 I believe, the annual ‘take’ at the Hollywood box office was published at about 10 Billion dollars. Industry analysts called this ‘an economic loss’. In 2012, we’ve read about certain ‘blockbuster’ movies that have lost out at the box office–like it was the fault of the viewing public. I recall reading that Hollywood ‘hates’ G or PG themed movies, but ‘thrives’ on R rated material. In reality–if you are wise about how the entertainment industry functions–it is INDUSTRY knowledge that G and PG movies actually account for more than 75% of the box office receipts EACH year…and R-rated fare only brings in about ten percent of box office cash.
Seems to me that movies should be made that the public likes…but I digress.
If you think that the new normal is viewing or reading news stories depicting ONLY; a) Black men being arrested; b) Black women on welfare or on corners; c) oversexed young Black women fighting each other in the streets, or; d) young Black men locked into a sports-rap-hip-hop-gang slanging personna a generation after the Civil Rights movement concluded, you’ve been hoodwinked by the MSM…TOO!
The propaganda tactics of the MSM have become tragic of late. A few years ago, a few tell-all books and articles were released by industry insiders. Surprisingly, many stalwarts of the MSM admitted that they ‘intentionally put forth’ their liberal political/social/moral agendas through their programs–many of them depicting people of color negatively in far too many cases.
The real world does not ‘run’ on a sitcom or reality clock. It runs on faith in God, loyalty, respect for authority, and perseverance.
The Kabal INTENTIONALLY doesn’t get this. A lot of OUR young men and young women don’t ‘get’ it either. In our advanced technical age, African Americans are STILL the number one consumers of television. America still is the number one exporter of entertainment to the rest of the world. In fact, the American entertainment industry has been quietly marketing major motion pictures overseas–OUTSIDE of the USA–prior to domestic release–in order for them to ‘firm up’ their box office take. OUR images STILL have not improved, but our consumption INCREASES!
Television and the MSM are now ‘a vast white-land’…by deliberate design.
Doubt me? Next time you watch the local news or pick up the latest video game fare for your child or yourself, spot the number of racially stereotyped characters among the heroes, villains and supporting cast. History has repeated itself!
The same ‘lack of color’ on the tube which sparked the riots of the sixties is going on in our enlightened 21st century!
In my travels, I have covered, appeared before, or observed courts and judges. The FIRST rule of thumb? NEVER address a judge by their first name. This is considered a major no-no and could earn one a possible trip to jail. The SECOND rule of thumb? Dress for success. It shows respect for the judge, and for the system of law.
Why is it important for us to monitor what we watch? Why is it crucial that young people especially need to be able to separate fact from fiction or myth from reality?
Let’s start with the obvious–the subjects of marriage, sex outside of marriage, and OOW births. Young Black men MUST learn how to prepare themselves to become husbands–not rappers, thugs and baby machines. Young Black women MUST learn how to become wives–not video vixens and thuggettes. Children born outside of wedlock are not cute; they are bastards–as outlined in the Bible. Homes are built by families headed by husbands, supported by wives, and are populated by obedient children trained by their parents. The MSM hates what I have mentioned, because it robs them of revenue and viewership. God loves and blesses the nation and people who side with Him.
It’s your call–blessing or cursing in your own life. Guard your mind, protect your image and you WON’T be hypnotized by those who glorify the negative.
We don’t have to ‘buy in’ to the propaganda and images which appear before us. We can either put pressure on the holders to the keys of the MSM to better represent us, or, we can opt out of the brainwashing by restricting our consumption of their wares.
In plain terms: You can spend your money where our images are sunny!
Whether you call them the MSM, Hollywood, sports journalism or ‘the Kabal’, they are ALL businesses. Until we get tired of being ‘hoodwinked’ and understand that not everything that depicts us and our race–even from those of our race–is good for us, we will continue to be consumers, rather than producers. Not only that, but those of our own race–and you KNOW who they are–need to also be put on notice that we won’t be a part of their ‘plantation minstrel shows’ as well.
Either better images…or lower profits.
The images and minds we NEED to protect are oursnot theirs
RAMEY, a syndicated columnist and book reviewer, lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. THE RAMEY COMMENTARIES appears on fine websites and gracious blogs around the world. To correspond, email © 2012 Mike Ramey/Barnstorm Communications.

Brian Owens: The Voice of American Soul

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Links, Black Men, Music and Video Releases with tags , , on May 26, 2012 by Gary Johnson

Sitting across the table from Brian Owens, one might get the feeling of conversing with — as some say — an old soul. There is a calmness and self-assuredness that suggests he’s been here before, even though he is only on the verge of becoming the new voice of American soul. He doesn’t project the harried, fast-paced life of a national recording artist, but rather the soulful energy that dominates his music.

Raised in St. Louis, his music reflects a city infused with blues, soul, and folk, resulting in a style that is distinctly his own, yet reminiscent of artists like Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, Al Green, and, for those who know him, his father Thomas Owens who chose not to pursue a music career. “I want to be my own voice, but in a way that’s familiar to people,” Owens says. “So I welcome the comparisons because it means that people take comfort in my influences. People also say, ’You sing like your father,’ which is still a nod to good tradition. I’m glad to do that.”

As one of the lead singers of Sidewinder, the Air Force band that became a YouTube sensation with 2.5 million views, Brian has been featured with the band on The Ellen Degeneres Show, Entertainment Tonight, and Fox and Friends. And he is determined to balance the media attention with a level head. “I’m very excited about the exposure,” he says. “Positive exposure is always good, even when I’m not at the forefront. I believe it will come back to me in a good way.”

In the meantime, Owens is preparing for the launch of his first major release, Moods and Messages — a self-proclaimed soundtrack to his journey as a soul artist. With the backing of St. Louis-based Destin2B1 Records and distribution through New York-based RED, a division of Sony Music Entertainment, Owens says, “Moods and Messages is about balancing out how we feel and what we give out to the world in terms of messages. So moods and messages often conflict, but you have to choose what your life will say, despite how you feel … It’s about making choices.”

The album displays Brian’s personal choices — serving in the Air Force, becoming a husband and father, performing — as they constantly shape his music into messages that are encouraging, thought-provoking, and touching. From social awareness to loving tributes to family, Brian masters the art of effortless lyrics and melodies to deliver messages that are powerfully relevant.

In his first nationally distributed single, “I Just Want to Feel Alright,” Owens evokes some of the most universal experiences of pain and desperation, even tapping into the mood of a country recovering from war and economic recession. It is a cathartic, yet hopeful anthem for our times.

The upbeat track “Open (Lovely Day)”, is a light-hearted reminder to count the blessings life gives daily, and to see the possibilities in every moment.  “Oh I” is a soulful, love ballad that pays tribute to the perfect partner– her kiss, her touch, her smile. “Keep Movin On”, is a message of encouragement  that acknowledges some of the most common adversities of our time through song. From the lost job, to the sacrificial life of a soldier, to the sharp pain of loneliness. A break from the deep messages woven throughout the album, “Let’s Get Out” is a fun reminder that sometimes, a little escape is all you ever need.

Brian attributes much of his style of interpretation to the consistency of human nature. “I’ve found that there is nothing new to write about – just new ways to write about the traditional, but exciting cycles of life. Music that reaches and touches people is about human nature. That doesn’t change. What makes us vulnerable, what makes us scared, what makes us happy — it never changes.”

WEBSITE                    TWITTER                 FACEBOOK              @brianowenstv 

EPK Link





Brian Owens Promotional Reel

I Just Want to Feel Alright (LIVE)

Show Me St. Louis Profile

Great Day St. Louis Performance

Game 1 World Series Performance

What Black Men Think Hits The Documentary Channel

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Links, Black Men, Black Men In America, Movie and DVD News, Racism with tags , , , on May 22, 2012 by Gary Johnson

Our friend and a favorite filmmaker Janks Morton’s groundbreaking film “What Black Men Think” will be featured on the Documentary Channel.  Click here for more details.

The Bridge: In Honor of Malcolm X

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, The Bridge - Darryl James with tags , , on May 22, 2012 by Gary Johnson

 Malcolm X

By Darryl James 

May 19th is the birth date of El Haaj Malik El-Shabazz, known to us as Malcolm X.

Who was Malcolm X?

Malcolm X was a number of things to a number of people.

To white racists, he was the physical manifestation of the chickens coming home to roost—the sins of the father being visited upon the sons. He was committed to the respect and protection of the Black community and unwavering in the extent to which he was willing to go and to which he was willing to influence millions to go to oppose and stamp out oppression.

His mission? In his own words, it was “to bring about the complete independence of people of African descent here in the western hemisphere…and bring about the freedom of these people by any means necessary.”

Those means included violent retaliation, of course, but those means also included economic revolution. Malcolm X advocated Black self-reliance as a means to freedom.

“If you can’t do for yourself what the white man is doing for himself, don’t say you’re equal with the white man,” Malcolm chided.” If you can’t set up a factory like he sets up a factory, don’t talk that old equality talk.”

Brother Malcolm became the universal symbol for Black Manhood as he challenged white superiority and privilege in a way that frightened America and made conscious Black people proud.

He also challenged the foundation and purpose of the Civil Rights Movement, which did not make him an enemy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as many people today believe.

 It is ignorant to detract from one man to glorify the other. Brother Malcolm was as crucial and relevant as Brother Martin, but a fearful nation would not embrace him the same because he represented the fiery response to violence—a divergent option to Brother Martin, but certainly not an opposite option.

In a 2005 installment of his column for the New York Daily News, Stanley Crouch, a self-hating Negro, claimed that Malcolm X was a “heckler of the Civil Rights Movement” and a “minor figure,” calling the Nation of Islam a “cult,” and a “cartoon version of Islam.”

Boot-licking House Negro bitches like the “writer” Stanley Crouch can deride Malcolm X from the comfort of the twenty-first century, but in his weak little heart which pumps lemonade, Crouch knows damned well that he would never have had the testicular fortitude to be one tenth of what Malcolm X was to America—a proud Black man unafraid to tell the world what was wrong with this nation and unafraid to face it, sacrificing his life for the people he loved.

Crouch, a revisionist idiot, has no real concept of history, particularly where Black people are concerned. Malcolm and Martin had two different movements, which were moving closer to each other before they were assassinated. To call Malcolm a “heckler of the Civil Rights Movement,” is ignorant and demonstrates self-hatred.

Malcolm’s critical challenge of the foundation and purpose of the Civil Rights Movement is very different from being a “heckler,” which is someone who sits inactively on the sidelines tossing negativity.

Certainly, Martin was and is larger than Malcolm, but that has more to do with who he had following him and the times to come. Malcolm was about hate the way Martin was a racist—both false assumptions made only by idiots.

The reality is that Martin was safer than Malcolm—for whites and for scared Negroes who didn’t want anyone to make too much noise and piss off the white establishment they feared and revered.

But Martin also had detractors, many of whom hated him as they hated Malcolm. Some Negroes were afraid that Martin, too, would upset the apple cart and make it harder for them to kiss white people’s collective asses.

Malcolm X, much like Dr. King, was evolving from fighting a domestic fight on the home front for civil rights into waging a war on the world stage for human rights.

And they were both taking an economic revolution to the bottom of society.

At the end of the day, there is never a reason to choose and no one should be asked to.

But there is a reason to celebrate. To celebrate the birth of a beautiful, strong human being who changed the way Black men thought of themselves and frankly, the way the world thought of Black men.

The late Ossie Davis, who delivered the eulogy for Malcolm X in the Spike Lee film and in life at the funeral, said it best:  “Malcolm was our manhood. Our living Black manhood.”

(Malcolm was) “Our own Black shining prince who didn’t hesitate to die, because he loved us so.”

And those of us who understood him, love him as well.

Happy Birthday Brother Malcolm.

 Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles in 2001 and will become a feature film in 2012. View previous installments of this column at Reach James at

The Kirk Whalum Interview – Part I

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Links, Black Men, Black Men In America, Gary A. Johnson, Music and Video Releases with tags , , , , , on May 21, 2012 by Gary Johnson

Black Men In Exclusive Interview

By Gary A. Johnson

Most artists would be daunted at the thought of remaking a classic work of art made by legends, but not Grammy winner Kirk Whalum.  The multi-dimensional saxophonist adeptly steps into the role of John Coltrane and tapped his brother, vocalist Kevin Whalum, to fill the shoes of Johnny Hartman on an unabashedly romantic collection of duets originally recorded in 1963 by the seminal artists.  Romance Language, due to be released on Valentine’s Day by Rendezvous Music, consists of all six songs that comprise the Coltrane/Hartman recording along with a handful of modern ballads to complete the disc produced by Kirk Whalum and John Stoddart.

Romance Language is Kirk Whalum’s 19th album as a front man since his 1985 solo debut, Floppy Disk.  He topped the Billboard contemporary jazz album charts twice (And You Know That! and Cache) and amassed 11 Grammy nominations.  Whalum took home a coveted Grammy earlier this year for a duet with Lalah Hathaway that appeared on his The Gospel According to Jazz: Chapter III.  An ordained minister who earned a Master’s degree in the Art of Religion, Kirk Whalum has forged an unparalleled career path in both the secular and the non-secular music words, garnering hits, awards and accolades for his jazz, R&B and gospel recordings.  His soulfully expressive tenor sax voice is unique and has appeared on literally hundreds of recordings by Barbara Streisand, Quincy Jones, Whitney Houston, Luther Vandross, George Benson, Al Jarreau, Michael McDonald, Stanley Clarke, George Duke, and Larry Carlton as well as on collaborative albums with Bob James, Rick Braun and Norman Brown.  When not recording or performing, he educates and mentors the next generation of musicians in his role as president/CEO of the STAX Music Academy and the STAX Museum of American Soul Music. 

Earlier this month, Black Men In Founder & Publisher Gary Johnson conducted an exclusive interview with Kirk Whalum.  This is Part I of that interview.  Hey Kirk.  How are you doing?

Kirk Whalum:  Hey Gary I’m doing great Gary.  Thank you so much.  I’m really excited to talk to you, so let’s get right to it.  Let’s talk about your new CD “Romance Language.”

Kirk Whalum:  I want to talk about this.  This is unlike any project I’ve ever done.  For someone like me to take the music of the great John Coltrane and doing my own version of his music is kind of scary.  I’ve studied John Coltrane’s music and his life.  I wrote about him in my seminary final project.  I believe he would be happy with this effort because the spiritual focus of his life would dictate that his music be shared with new and expanding audiences.  That’s great.  Kirk, at what age did your musical journey begin?

Kirk Whalum:  That’s hard to say.  I can remember being about 3 or 4 years old and seeing my grandmother as the organist for a pretty high brow baptist church.  She played the pipe organ.  For me to be there and see her was a good experience.  You’ve played with a lot of people.  Who would you consider to be your musical influences?

Kirk Whalum:  We can start with Hank Crawford on saxophone.  He was my biggest influence.  There’s a guy who pastors in Chicago named Ossie Smith who plays the saxophone.  He is an amazingly well rounded musician.  He was the first one to pull me aside and begin to show me different things such as jazz theory and improvisation.  I owe a lot to him.  In terms of big names, there’s Arnett Cobb who is a famed saxophonist.  I wear a ring on my finger given to me by Arnett Cobb’s daughter.  I missed his funeral because I was in Japan.  When he was alive he was a very big part of my musical development.  Those were my biggest influences.  In terms of the people I played with, I’d have to say Bob James was the first big one.  He was the one who really discovered me.  I played and toured with him.  He got me signed to Columbia Records and produced my first three records.  You mentioned that you’ve been to Japan.  I know you speak more than one language.  What languages do you speak?

Kirk Whalum:  I speak Spanish and French.  Let me shift back to music.  What was it like playing with your brother and your Uncle who is affectionately known as “Peanut?”

Kirk Whalum:  I’ve recorded with both of them quite a few times.  I keep creating ways for us to collaborate.  These are two world class talents.  These are people who deserve to be heard.  I also work with my nephews and my son.  How long have you been married?

Kirk Whalum:  I have been married for 32 years in August 2012.  What is the secret to being married?

Kirk Whalum:  I trust God for that relationship.  I know that it’s his Grace that he saved my life.  Marriage is about forgiveness.  We have to constantly be in forgiveness mode and nurture the relationship.  What advice do you have to help young people who want a career in the music business?

Kirk Whalum:  One important thing for them to know is that they can control their destiny.  There’s so many aspects of the music industry that are out of their control, but the most important aspect of the business is within their control and that has to do with being diligent and pursuing your craft.  Is that you playing the saxophone solo on Whitney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You,” from the soundtrack of the movie “The Bodyguard?”

Kirk Whalum:  Yes sir.  What was it like working with Whitney Houston?

Kirk Whalum:  I played with Whitney for 7 years.  The movie “The Bodyguard” was completely unique.  I was touring with Whitney and I was living in Paris.  She had insisted to the Director that she wanted to sing that song live to the film.  They were against recording music live to the film because there are too many things that can go wrong.  Whitney gave the producers an ultimatum.  She put her foot down and insisted that she sing live with her band or she would not sing the song.  You’re President/CEO of the STAX Music Museum.  Is that correct?

Kirk Whalum:  Yes.  What’s going on with the legendary STAX?

Kirk Whalum:  If it’s a raw funky groove, chances are it’s not Motown, its STAX.  STAX was known for. Booker T & the M.G’s, Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, The Staples Singer, Albert King and Rufus Thomas.  STAX music was organic and raw.  In 1989, the building was torn down.  A few years later the building was erected and the STAX Music Academy is up and running.  The Academy has a charter school providing kids with a world class education, and music is a part of the curriculum.  The STAX Music Academy is an after school program of about 75-80 kids who come from different backgrounds.  The kids are talented and incredible.

For more information you can visit Kirk Whalum’s official web site at  Part II of our exclusive interview with Kirk Whalum will be posted next week.

Special thanks to Juanita Stephens for arranging this exclusive interview.

Gary A. Johnson is the Founder & Publisher of Black Men In a popular online magazine on the Internet and the Black Men In Blog.  Gary is also the author of the book “25 Things That Really Matter In Life.

The CEO Manny Halley

Posted in Black Men, Black Men In America, Music and Video Releases with tags , , on May 13, 2012 by Gary Johnson

In January 1999, Imani Entertainment Group began its journey in becoming one of the premier entertainment companies in the world. Created and nurtured by Founder, Manny Halley, IEG has become a major player in the entertainment world. With a bevy of companies under the IEG umbrella ranging from management to book publishing. This company has set its sights on all aspects of the entertainment world and with hard work, dedication, and a fresh outlook they are posed to take over.

Without a doubt, one of the most influential voices in the entertainment industry is mega successful entrepreneur and music mogul, Manny Halley.  The CEO, of Imani Entertainment Group is responsible for discovering the voice and talent of Grammy Award Nominated R&B singer/songwriter Keyshia Cole.  Born and raised in the inner city streets of Brooklyn, NY, Manny brings the hustle mentality and heart of the streets to the board room serving as the executive producer for Keyshia Cole’s, “The Way It Is” reality series which holds the #1 spot for the highest rated BET program in history and running the nation’s best-selling IHOP for the past 10 years.  With his family by his side, Manny has sought to create a leading empire that the entertainment industry has yet to see.

In 2003, a friend of Halley’s arranged a meeting for him to meet a rising songstress making noise out of Oakland, CA.  The sultry soprano was none other than Keyshia Cole who once she sang for Halley was signed on the spot to his growing entertainment company.  Within the year, Halley arranged a meeting for Cole to meet with Chairman of Geffen Records, Ron Fair, who would be responsible for signing and executive producing Keyshia’s debut and Grammy nominated sophomore albums, “The Way It Is” and “Just Like You.”

In 2006, in conjunction with BET, Halley developed and co-produced the hit reality television series, “The Way It Is”, an original program giving audiences the ultimate backstage pass into the life of Keyshia Cole.  On October 30, 2007, the second season aired following Cole’s new claim to fame and recording of her second album, “Just Like You” while dealing with the demons of her and her family’s past.  Halley’s role was highlighted in the series as viewers saw how flawlessly Halley handled Cole’s day-to-day affairs with press, studio time, artist collaborations and even her family.  The show premiered with outstanding ratings with the second season finale drawing in a reported 3 million viewers and 2 million households becoming BET’s largest returning series and original series in BET history.

A man of strength, faith and humility, Imani “Manny” Halley will not rest until the world knows who Imani Entertainment is. His commitment, dedication and loyalty to his artist and more importantly best interest are unsurpassed.  Halley has merged his many talents and keen sense of delivering what the public wants into his latest endeavors.  If his track record is any indication, the future looks might bright for the entertainment mogul.    Manny Halley (@mannytheceo) on Twitter

Republicans Should Be Gay

Posted in Black America, Black Links, Black Men with tags , , , on May 13, 2012 by Gary Johnson

By Raynard Jackson

Now that I have your attention, let’s talk.  Say what you will about the gay community, but this one thing is clear, “they are masters at communications!”

I make my living doing Public Relations, Crises Management, and Strategic Planning, so I know good public manipulation when I see it and the gay community, in this regards, should be emulated by the Republican Party.

Growing up in St. Louis, there was no such thing or word as being gay (yes, I am sure they existed, but they definitely were not known).  So, the gay community studied Blacks and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s and made a conscious decision to adopt—some would say hijack—the language of the Civil Rights community.

They went from gay rights to Civil Rights; from gay marriage to marriage equality.  Anyone that knows anything about PR, knows that marketing is all about language and communications.  Politics is the ultimate form of marketing.

You can ask a girl to have sex with you or you can ask her to make love to you.  Both ask the same thing; but the latter uses a more effective way to communicate your desires than the former.

Early on, gays knew that America was not going to support “gay” rights, but in light of the experience of the Black community; who could be against “Civil Rights” for gays?

But yet, gays never explained and the media never asked were their assertion of “rights” stemmed from.

A “right” indicates something you are entitled to—by birth, by God, by law, by social norms, etc.  Therefore, I would like my gay friends to explain to me the origin of their rights?  They have rights as an American citizen, but not because they are gay.  This is what you will not hear the gay community talk about because equal rights is not their real objective—that is a byproduct of their real goal.

Their real goal is to force society to “accept” their personal lifestyle choices—i.e., being gay, bisexual, transgendered, etc.  Civil Rights for Blacks was never about acceptance, but rather enforcement of the U.S. Constitution.  The Constitution had already guaranteed us the very rights we were fighting for—right to vote, right to live anywhere, right to due process, etc.  We were not seeking to create a special class of rights based on “choices” we volunteerarily made (we were born Black—we did not choose to be Black).  We did not choose to come to America nor did we choose to be slaves.

So, our Civil Rights movement was about enforcement of the rights we were already guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.  Therefore there can be no equating Blacks and Civil Rights with gays and special rights!

So, for Obama, Sharpton, the N.A.A.C.P, the Congressional Black Caucus to equate gay rights with Civil Rights should be an insult not only to the Black community; but to all who sacrificed for Blacks to gain the Civil Rights that Blacks were already due.

Former California U.S. Senator and linguist, S.I. Hayakawa once said, “meanings are in people, not in words.”  Republicans typically think simply because they are right on the issues, somehow the public will understand their positions.  They should learn to be more like the gay community—to understand how words can change the perception the public has on controversial issues.  Gays understood that Americans would not support gay marriage, but who can be against “marriage equality?”  What a brilliant PR move!

Republicans need to do a better job of educating the American people that they are not against gay people; they are against “special rights” for gays.

If Obama and the Democrats think gay rights is a Civil Right, then how can they at the same time say they will leave it up to the states to decide the issue?  Huh?  When are they going to introduce legislation in Congress that codifies gay rights as a Civil Right?

Everyone knows that the Democrats have no intention of introducing legislation because this is all an election year ploy!

Let me also help you with the media’s obsessive use of supposed polls that show that a majority of Americans “support” gay rights and gay marriage.  What the media and gays never tell you is that there are currently 35 states that define marriage as between one man and one woman in their state constitutions.  So, the polls are in direct contradiction to the facts on the ground.

This fact is a PR bonanza if the Republicans did a better job of communicating their positions to the public.  To my Republican friends, learn how the gays have used language to advance their cause—in other words, be gay!

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm.  He is also a contributing editor for Black Enterprise, ExcellStyle Magazine (, Freedom’s Journal Magazine (, and U.S. Africa Magazine (


Perfect Your Beach Physique: 10 Hottest Tips to Start *Today*

Posted in Black Interests, Health & Fitness with tags , , , on May 13, 2012 by Gary Johnson

By Cindy Prossessor

Whether you’re planning a tropical vacation to escape the winter blues, or are simply preparing for beach season, we’ve got some tips that will have you sporting a six-pack and an overall toned body in no time.

And, you can kiss all those excuses that are running through your head goodbye. There are ladies to impress. So, spend some time reading through our fitness tips below and you’ll be rockin’ those board shorts and rock-hard abs before you know it.

Learn bench press basics: If you’re using weight lifting as a method to prepare your body for the beach, there are several things to keep in mind to avoid injury while helping strengthen your muscles.

  • Lift straight up and down – When lifting heavy weights, it’s important to ensure that no part of your motion is wasted. Focus your mind on moving the bar and weight straight in the air. Letting in waiver from side to side (even just a little) will actually make it harder on your body.
  • Draw in your shoulders – Draw your shoulder blades toward one another to help reduce how far your arms travel. Even shedding off a few inches can make a difference in how it affects your muscles.
  • Squeeze the bar – When lifting, squeeze the bar tightly to help increase your strength. Studies have shown that increasing your grip on the bar can help you increase your bench press strength by up to 10 percent.
  • It’s not just about your arms – Bench pressing can help tone many parts of your body…not just your chest and arms. When lifting, try contracting your glutes to help strengthen your core muscles. Why? Because the power is then moved from your feet, through your torso, and up to the shoulders.
  • Position your elbow correctly – For optimum performance, be sure that your elbow is at 45 degrees in relation to your shoulder. Tucking in your elbow like this will help reduce the stress on your shoulders.

Don’t forget full-front squats. According to many fitness experts, squats are among one of the top exercises out there. Simply hold weights in your hands and continue with the normal squat exercise.  And, because of the position of the weights, you don’t need to hold as much as you normally would to gain strength.

When pushing, don’t forget to pull. Think about your training program and make sure you’re dedicating the same amount of time to pushing as you do pulling. Evening out the two will help you attain better muscle balance and avoid injuries.

Step away from crunches and try something new. There are many ways to strengthen your core and one of the most well known are crunches. But, that doesn’t mean they’re always the best. Try exercises that require you to rotate your core from side-to-side. Or, incorporate a medicine ball into your routine.

Challenge yourself, but don’t overdo it. One of the most common mistakes people make when jumping into an exercise regime is to overdo it from the get-go. Instead, decide upon a program and stick to it. Chances are, it has several rest days incorporated into it and those days are crucial to help your muscles rebuild and grow.

When combining workouts, start with weight lifting. If you decide to do cardio and weight lifting on the same day, be sure to start with weight lifting. Going for a run before lifting can leave your body fatigued which means you won’t have as much strength for lifting.

And there you have it, guys. Take these tips into consideration as you’re working on your rock solid beach physique and you’ll be ready to hit the sand in no time!

About the Author:

Cindy Prosser modeled swimwear in a past life… but now that she’s a part-time freelance writer and full-time mom she has embraced a new passion: helping you look great in board shorts for men from Bare Necessities. Like Bare Necessities on Facebook for HUGE sales and be sure to get the Bare Necessities coupon!

The Ramey Commentaries–On The Obama Same Sex Controversy

Posted in Barack Obama, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America with tags , , on May 10, 2012 by Gary Johnson

By Mike Ramey

Needless to say, just about everyone has heard about President Obama’s stand on Homosexual and Lesbian marriages (aka ‘same sex marriage’). Obama’s public declaration came on May 9th, 2012 about 3:10pm EST, courtesy of a clip from an ABC News interview that was released to the mainstream media–which included FOX News. I saw the clip. My wife heard the clip from our kitchen. FOX News anchor Sheppard Smith may have been happy with the Obama announcement. He could afford to be, because he was of the ‘lighter hue’ and was not up for election–or re-election.

Of course, being African American–and a voter–I couldn’t believe it. What made matters worse was the ‘tip off’ to his ‘decision’ was helped by his Vice President a few days before, and a member of the Obama cabinet at least 48 hours ahead of the broadcast.

The pundits will be flooding the Internet and the airwaves with their opinions right up to Election day in November.

There will be voices from the pro-gay marriage crowd citing their views. There will be voices from the anti-gay marriage crowd citing their views. This is fine. In a democratic republic with freedom of speech AND freedom of religion held to be sacred in our Constitution, this is only right and fair. However, President Obama has clearly drawn a line in the sand…a BIG line that those of us who claim to be Christian can not ignore, and MUST choose God’s side of the line!

In the end analysis, in between all the punditry and speaking, there is only one side that those who believe in Christ can afford to be on, if we are true to our faith–even if there is a price to be paid.

That being God’s side.

We knew this from the beginning–BEFORE this line was drawn.


A few years back, John Kozy, Jr., a retired professor of Philosophy and Logic wrote an outstanding piece entitled: “The United States of Entertainment”. In sum, Kozy noted how America was allowing entertainment–from sports to rappers to movies–to create a standard of mental living that did not emphasize hard work, education, thrift and a host of other items that used to be standards of our society. His last line in the piece was equally prophetic: “Although man may not live by bread alone, more bread and less play yield better lives than more play and less bread. America needs what is called “a paradigm shift.” Americans need to rethink their cultural values.” This piece first surfaced about 2008. Little did we know how much punch it would have four years later.


Same-sex marriage is one of those ‘shifting morality’ issues, which has been steadily creeping up the bedrock of the American moral foundation. No national or international power since the dawn of time has lasted very long by indulging in a national policy which caters to homosexuality, and/or any other ‘agenda item’ which goes against morality and good, common sense. Furthermore, attempts to link an ‘agenda item’ with the Civil Rights Movement is downright insulting. Nevertheless, the feminists, the environmentalists and the homosexual/lesbian lobbies have been so desperate to advance their OWN selfish objectives that they are quite willing to ‘hitch’ their wagon to a legitimate movement in order to ensnare people of color as pawns to become the poster children for immorality. Clubs, dogs, and bullets are not the same as paper or plastic, a ‘choice’ or ‘Adam and Steve; Mary and Sally’ getting a certificate at City Hall.

The deceived think that they are equal.

They are on their side of the big line in the sand.


Those of us who are firm members on the Ship of Zion KNOW that we are on the righteous side of the line in the sand, as we know that God calls sin, S-I-N! I agree with God, therefore I’m on His side. Yes, I do know that there will be those who ‘claim’ to be members of their respective ‘churches’ and will try to invoke their god to tell those of us who are of the faith that the Bible was wrong, and Jesus Christ was gay. Yes, I know that there are folks out there, swilling their ‘Hater-aide’, and will attempt to justify their sin by trying to talk, shout, or threaten their opposition into silence.

Well, I haven’t been silent on this issue before. Why should I be silent now?

Funny thing about this issue. Some of those who were the ‘first’ to have same-sex marriages have dropped their ‘spouses’ about 12-18 months after the ‘knot’ was tied. Still others are embroiled in nasty custody battles involving their ‘children’. This hardly seems like the ‘utopia’ that was promised in the ‘bill of sale’? But, we don’t get to hear about these stories…at least, not with as much fanfare as those who have showed up with their ‘indented’ in tow.

But, I digress.

Black folk have been in this country for nearly 400 years. I really doubt that God brought us through Indentured Servitude, Slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, Segregation, Redlining and Civil Rights JUST to allow ourselves and our churches to be ‘connected’ to a fraud such as same-sex marriage! NO intelligent Black man or Black woman would dare hoist such a fraud on their people, and expect US to ‘let it pass.’

It won’t pass with me. It won’t pass with a LOT of people!

America now has legalized liquor–thanks to the government– after the ridicule and eventual defeat of Prohibition. Even though liquor had been researched, studied and shown to be harmful, folk will drink and hang the consequences, even if God is trampled in the process. Abortion became legal, again–thanks to the government. 45-plus million legal abortions later, we wonder why the economy is in tatters, lives ruined and a large segment of our labor force and tax base is gone. Now, our President has just endorsed something that sent a chill throughout the land, and drew a big line in the sand, further showing the nation’s back towards the Living God. In the end, it’s going to cost him not only the election, but the respect of his fellow citizens.

Especially those of us who know how to pray…and to vote.

THE RAMEY COMMENTARIES appears on fine websites and gracious blogs around the world. To correspond, email © 2011, 2012 Mike Ramey/Barnstorm Communications.

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