Archive for December, 2012

TV One’s “Unsung” Starts New Season January 23rd

Posted in Black Men, Black Men In America, Feature Interviews, Music, Music and Video Releases with tags , , , , on December 29, 2012 by Gary Johnson

Isaac Hayes

TV One’s signature music biography series sheds much-deserved light on some of the most influential, talented and, somehow, forgotten R&B, soul, hip hop, funk and gospel artists of the last 30 years.

Before Barry White and Teddy Pendergrass, there was Isaac Hayes, whose music set the scene for romantic seduction on stage and off. But Isaac was more than a legendary ladies man. He was a creative genius, who rose from dire poverty to become one of the driving forces in popular music, co-writing classic hits likeHold On I’m Comin’ and ‘Soul Man’, while reinventing popular ballads like Walk On By with stunning emotional force.

By the early 70s he’d become known as ‘Black Moses’ a proud and positive-minded role model whose acts of public and private generosity were legend. But behind the gold chains and dark glasses was a sensitive and insecure figure whose compulsion to provide for others took its toll in unstable relationships, lost fortunes, and a tragically foreshortened career.

Now, those closest to Isaac, including family members, life-long friends and musical associates, tell the Unsung story of an American icon.

Unsung Logo

Check out Isaac Hayes, Eddie Kendricks, Lou Rawls, EPMD, Mint Condition, Johnny Gill and more on the new season of “Unsung” beginning January 23, 2013 at 10:00 pm ET.  Click here to watch full episodes of past broadcasts.

Celebrity Crime Files Logo

If you love “Unsung,” another best-kept secret on TV One is Celebrity Crime Files.”  This series delves into some of the most controversial crimes of our generation by exploring the rise and fall of the entertainment, sports and literary world’s most prominent and promising figures including Marvin Gaye, Jam Master Jay and Peter Tosh.

New Film Shows That “Soul Food” and Black Folks Aren’t Always a Healthy Match

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Links, Black Men, Gary A. Johnson, Health & Fitness, Women's Interests with tags , , , , , , , on December 28, 2012 by Gary Johnson

Soul Food2

By Gary A. Johnson

  • Fact:  Soul food and southern style cooking is high in saturated fat.
  • Fact:  Fat tastes good.
  • Fact:  Black people are twice as likely to die of stroke before age 75 than other population groups.  

“Soul Food Junkies,” is a new film by Byron Hurt which will air January 14, 2013 on PBS.  In the documentary Hurt explores the addiction that black people have with “soul food.”

Hurt also explores the health advantages and disadvantages of “soul food” and peers inside the unhealthy side of the food industry and the growing food justice movement.

Hurt interviewed a wide variety of people including chefs and health experts and concluded that black folks’ addiction to soul food is killing them.

I’m not sure that we needed a documentary to confirm that, but if a film helps to spread the word that people need to adopt healthier eating habits, then let’s get everyone we know to watch this film.

Growing up I was raised on fried and fatty foods.  My father would cook grits, bacon, pork sausage and fried eggs for breakfast and pour the grease from the pan on top of the grits for extra flavor.  That leftover grease would then be poured in a jar on the stove to be used for the next meal.

There was no thing as “turkey sausage” in my house.  I didn’t learn about “turkey sausage” until I was in my late twenties.  Turkey sausage is an insult to pigs everywhere.  There is no substitute for the taste of bacon.  If I was running the pork industry; I would move to legally prevent the turkey industry from using the term “bacon.”  At best, they should call it “turkey breakfast meat.”  I know that I have offended turkey lovers with those comments about turkey bacon.  What can I say?  I told you that I still struggle.

As I learned more about healthy cooking, I had to break some of my “cultural conditioning” when it came to food.  It was not an easy transition to rid myself of those unhealthy cooking habits.

Today, I still struggle.  I do the majority of the cooking and grocery shopping in my household.  I have an emotional connection with my food.  I struggle every day to eat healthy.  I win the battle most days and offset my weak days with regular exercise.  I don’t recycle cooking oil, I buy fresh vegetables, I bake much more than I fry and I get regular exercise.  Despite this effort, I still struggle with my weight and battle my predisposed genetics.

Thank goodness my children are healthy and health conscious.  “Soul food” can be healthy.  We have to make better choices in our cooking and eating habits.

Watch a preview of the documentary below.

Byron Hurt Byron Hurt is an anti-sexist activist who provides cutting-edge male leadership, expert analysis, keynote addresses, and workshop facilitation in the field of sexual and gender violence prevention and education.  You can learn more about him by visiting his web site at

Stop The Madness: We Don’t Need This Reality Show

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Fatherhood, Relationship Advice, Women's Interests with tags , , , , on December 28, 2012 by Gary Johnson

December 28, 2012

By Gary A. Johnson, Black Men In

Shawty Lo

We debated whether or not we should even publish this post about the Oxygen TV network reality show “All My Babies Mamas.”  We finally decided that we had to get the word out and let people decide for themselves.  As the Publisher of this online enterprise, I see no redeeming value in this show.  I see it being full of ignorance and exploitation.

For those who haven’t heard, the Oxygen television network is working on a new one-hour special, “All My Babies’ Mamas.”  The series, created by Liz Gateley and Tony DiSanto, will show the complicated lives (headaches and drama) of rapper Atlanta rapper Carlos “Shawty Lo” Walker, the ten mothers of his children and their 11 kids.  Did I mention that Shawty Lo has a new girlfriend who is the same age as his oldest daughter?

Talk about a family affair.

“Oxygen will give fans an intimate look at unconventional families with larger than life personalities and real emotional stakes,” says Cori Abraham, Senior Vice President of Development, Oxygen Media. “’All My Babies’ Mamas’ will be filled with outrageous and authentic over-the-top moments that our young, diverse female audience can tweet and gossip about.”

That description alone makes me think that this show is going to be a “WTF circus.”  It’s hard to believe that anything good can come from this.  “When you know better, you do better.”  Is that old saying still true?

Oxygen is not releasing a lot of information about the show so it’s hard to be objective in our criticism of the show.  However, based on what we saw in the trailer we don’t think we’re off base describing the show as dysfunctional and ignorant.  By the way, that official trailer is hard to find.  Hmmmmm.  A search of the Oxygen network site reflects that all references to the show have been removed.  The show does not come up on the search page on their web site.

If you find a link to the trailer and watch it we would love to know about your reaction.

Shawty Low

My concern is for the children.  Honestly, I really am concerned for the actual welfare and emotional stability of the children being raised in this environment by parents who appear “not to know what they don’t know.”  If you really stretch your thinking, and I mean stretch your thinking, the only potential good thing from a show like this is that Shawty Lo may earn enough money to pay his child support and provide any counseling these kids may need to grow up as an emotionally stable and productive citizen.

My good friend social activist and best-selling author Sabrina Lamb has organized a petition to boycott this show and make sure it never hits the airwaves.  You can review and sign the petition by clicking here.

Will you watch the show?  Will you sign the petition?  Do you have any problems with a show like this?

Tell us what you think.

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.” 

Mr. President, It Is Time

Posted in African Americans, Barack Obama, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Guest Columnists, Politics, President Barack Obama with tags , , , on December 24, 2012 by Gary Johnson


By Nicholas M. Young, Ph D.

Mr. President,

When you were elected in 2008, I immediately told a female friend that you would go down as the greatest President in the history of the United States.  I based my prediction primarily on what I saw of you when we played basketball together during my graduate school, and your faculty days at The University of Chicago (The U of C), I came to know you as a bright, tough, and kind guy that was a tough defender on the basketball court.  Outside the court, I saw you as concerned member of the Hyde Park and U of C communities that was a smooth and effective politician.  Although watching you assume the highest office in the land is still a bit surreal for me, watching you win the 2008 election showed others what we in the Hyde Park and U of C communities already knew about you: You are the type of guy that had the ability and courage to rise up to, and succeed at, any challenge.

To be sure, while you continue to use these skills to lead the United States out of a horrible recession and toward greater social and economic prosperity, the events of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre has provided you with a new challenge that the social and political skills that you sharpened during your Chicago days may not have prepared you for: Taking on the powerful U.S. gun lobby.

As I am sure you, and other Americans know, the gun lobby in this country bases it history, and basic existence on the presence of the Second Amendment–a Constitutional reality and relic that guarantees the right of every American to own a gun to protect her or himself and household.

However, I, for one, do not believe that the Second Amendment was conceived to allow a deranged, private, U.S. citizen to own a gun that has the ability to wipe out many innocent people.  From what I know about this part of the Constitution, the founders of this great document did not anticipate an episode like the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre occurring, and. if they did, I suspect that they would have included a checks and balance provision in the Constitution to address this possibility.  Two possible ways to prevent a Sandy Hook Elementary School—like massacre from ever occurring again is to ban the sale of assault weapons, and limit the sale of ammunition that gun purchasers need to power these weapons.  For instance, those buying these weapons can be limited to a small number of bullets.  They can even be asked to show what, who, when, and why they choose to use their guns.  While all Americans have the right to own a gun, their right to own the ammunition used to power these weapons of mass destruction is not guaranteed by the Constitution

So, Mr. President, if I was you, I would contact the leader of the American Gun Lobby and tell him the following: “Your days of supporting the sale of assault weapons to our citizens is coming to an end.  The Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre has shown the country the limits and danger of the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution. The Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre has also shown the limits and danger of organizations like yours in causing harm to the American public.”

Sir, it is time for you to cash in the political chips that we gave you to lead us.  It is time for us to not expect another massacre like the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy to ever again occur on our soil. I hope that you recognize that the time has come for you to be the leader that we envisioned when we elected you in 2008, and reelected you in 2012.  I hope that you recognize that the time has come for you to find a way to impose a permanent ban on assault weapons.

Nick Young Nicholas Maurice Young is a sociologist, writer, and independent researcher.  He is a former Fellow with the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity at Stanford University.   He holds a Ph. D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago.  Nick is currently writing a book about the network connections of the Underground Railroad.


Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Music with tags , , , , on December 24, 2012 by Gary Johnson

Charlie Wilson

Grammy-nominated RCA Records recording artist and R&B icon CHARLIE WILSON is preparing to celebrate his birthday with the release of his new, highly-anticipated album, Love, Charlie, on January 29, 2013The album will be available for pre-order at iTunes, and other leading retailers on December 11th. The first single, “My Love Is All I Have,” is already a top ten hit on the Billboard Urban Adult Contemporary Chart.  The accompanying video for the ballad can be viewed on

The selection of songs on Love, Charlie cover the various aspects of love that people experience – from the joy of discovering it on “I Think I’m In Love,” to one’s heart speaking to another’s on the lead single, “My Love is All I Have.”  For Wilson, the love of self and faith in God is represented on “If I Believe,” his most poignant song on the album.

“The first track on Love, Charlie’ sets the tone for this project,” stated Wilson.  “As everyone knows I have not only survived some of life’s challenges, I have been triumphant and ‘If I Believe’ is my testimony which I hope will inspire others.”

Wilson, whose career began with his brothers as the incomparable and funky GAP Band, has been enjoying an extraordinary solo career which includes two Grammy nominations for each of his last two albums, Uncle Charlie and Just Charlie.  The latter release spawned the chart-topping hit “You Are” which claimed the #1 spot Billboard’s Urban Adult Contemporary chart for 13 consecutive weeks!

In addition to his success as a solo artist, Wilson has collaborated with numerous chart-topping artists and producers including Snoop Dogg, R. Kelly, Kanye West, Jamie Foxx, Fantasia, T. Pain, Justin Timberlake and his recent performance on the 2012 Soul Train Awards with 2 Chainz.

With a repertoire of countless hit songs, Wilson continues to perform to sold-out audiences around the country including his critically acclaimed and heralded performance at the 2012 Essence Music Festival in New Orleans.  The following quote in the New Orleans Times Picayune says it all:  “…a performance that left the Dome crying ‘Uncle.’  There’s really no other way to put it – Charlie Wilson is a force of nature.”

Click here to watch Charlie’s new video My Love Is All I Have.”

Stay connected with Charlie Wilson:



Twitter: @imcharliewilson

For Information Contact:

Karen E. Lee /

Juanita Stephens /

Theola Borden /

Cornel West: ‘Coward’ Obama Doesn’t Care When ‘Black Folk’ Get Shot, Only When ‘Vanilla’ Children Do

Posted in African Americans, Barack Obama, Black America, Black Interests, Black Links, Black Men, Black Men In America, Politics, President Barack Obama, Racism with tags , , , , , on December 23, 2012 by Gary Johnson

Cornel West

By Black Men In Staff

Oh my.  Here we go again.  In wrestling parlance, it looks as if we have a “cage match,” between the team of “Terrible Tavis Smiley” and his partner “The Professor” Cornel West against President Barack Obama and his policies.

In this latest war of words, Professor West made his comments on Saturday, December 22, 2012, on the “Smiley and West” radio show.  These two guys have no quit in them.  I guess you can say they have the courage of their convictions when it comes to putting issues they believe of interest on the public table for discussion.

Following the shooting death  of 26 children and adults in Newtown, Connecticut, Saturday, West referred to President Obama and other (unnamed) politicians as “cowards” who only cares about “vanilla” children.  Smiley and West have been frequent critics of President Obama and they don’t seem to care what people say or think about them.

West, an open and frequent critic of Obama, referring to the soaring homicide rate in Chicago, said the president did not care when “black folk” get shot in his own state.


Click here to listen to Professor West’s comments as he is being interviewed by Tavis Smiley.

Juan de Marcos Gonzalez and the Afro Cuban All Stars 2013 U.S. Tour

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Links, Black Men, Latino Interests, Music with tags , , on December 23, 2012 by Gary Johnson

juan-de-marcos-gonzalez Afro-Cuban-all-stars

Juan De Marcos Gonzalez is a Cuban bandleader, the architect of the legendary Afro-Cuban All Stars, (the foundation for The Buena Vista Social Club) and the founder of another successful Cuban band, Sierra Maestra. To Juan de Marcos, music is religious medicine.  Finding spiritual solace playing the sacred rhythms of his ancestors; Juan De Marcos’ compositions often evoke healing memories in his audiences.

As a child in a musical household Juan de Marcos was trained at the feet of the Maestros.  From his father, Marcos Gonzalez; a singer for Arsenio Rodriguez’s Orchestra; to his Tio (Uncle), famed pianist of the Buena Vista Social Club; Ruben Gonzalez, Juan’s mission is the preservation of his rich musical inheritance.  He arranged, conducted, and produced The Buena Vista Social Club recordings to fulfill a dream; creating musical tributes that cured like a fountain of youth for those Cuban musicians whose era was thought long gone. Gonzalez became a bridge builder connecting the past and the future, the elders with the youth.

Juan De Marcos’ melodic story authenticates the blessing of his African ancestors.  Gonzalez has a special formula for each and every performance.   There is always a tremendous “fiesta” happening on stage, with an “All Star” cast of Cuba’s finest musicians to include his daughters and wife; culminating in an unforgettable show reminiscent of a night in La Habana of today, tomorrow and yester year.


2013 US Tour Includes New Album Release!

Washington, DC December 1, 2012- Cuban heat is coming to 25 American cities this winter when Juan de Marcos and the Afro-Cuban All Stars tour the US.  From Saturday, February 2nd in Anchorage, Alaska to Sunday March 24th, in Washington, DC; the Afro-Cuban All Stars make stops from west to east with extended performances in Seattle, San Francisco, and New York City.  See a complete tour schedule below.

The Afro-Cuban All Stars Orchestra is a creation of acclaimed Cuban producer, Juan de Marcos Gonzalez.  Deemed the “Quincy Jones” of Cuba, he built his orchestra using Cuba’s best musicians & vocalists.

Juan de Marcos is available for interviews via phone from December 5, 2012 to January 25, 2013 and in person during the tour in select locations.  Please contact Miriam Machado-Jones at 301-379-4935, Elva Mason at 434-825-5142, or Vernon Keith Jones 404-312-4188 to schedule an interview.

Click Here To See The 2013 Tour Schedule

Contact Information

Elva Mason 434.825.5142

Mimi Machado-Jones 301.379.4935 

V. Keith Jones 404.312.4188

For More Info & to listen go to


Tavis Smiley: Shrewd, Misguided and One of the Biggest Whiners In The Business

Posted in African Americans, Barack Obama, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Gary A. Johnson, Politics, President Barack Obama with tags , , , , , , on December 15, 2012 by Gary Johnson

TavisSmileyMo' Kelly

By Gary A. Johnson, Black Men In

One can be very smart and yet be terribly misguided.  That appears to be the case with media commentator, frequent Obama critic, “poverty tourist,” and longtime crybaby Tavis Smiley.

I’ve been saying for years, that Tavis is one of the biggest whiners and crybabies in media.  If you look at the body of Smiley’s work over the years, he has evolved into the “King of Smoke and Mirrors.”  Tavis gives the appearance that he’s in the trenches with you for a good cause.  Tavis can identify an issue and create a grand infrastructure that he believes is the solution to the problem.  That grand infrastructure always seems to benefit Smiley financially.

Over the years, Tavis Smiley has leveraged his platform into a media empire via The Smiley Group, Inc., (radio, television, publishing, philanthropy) and has been able to extract what he needs from corporate donors in exchange for steering people back to the stores, banks and institutions that support him.  This is not to say that he has not done good things in the community.  Smiley has done some good things to help those in need.  However, he’s also made millions off of his initiatives to help the poor and downtrodden.  Is that a crime?  No.  Do I think that he would prefer that people not know about that?  Yes.

Last month Tavis was a guest on the “Mo’ Kelly in the Morning,” radio show in Los Angeles.  Mo’ whose real name is Morris W. O’Kelly, in addition to being a radio host is a noted opinion blogger.  Mo’ has been just as critical of Tavis and Dr. Cornel West’s national anti-poverty campaign, as Tavis has been of President Obama and his administration’s policies.  Mo’ used to work for as a producer years ago for Smiley’s TV show.  Kelly claims to know Smiley very well both professionally and personally.

Kelly recently received a press release from the Smiley Group, Inc., advising him and the rest of the local media which received the release, that Smiley and Dr. Cornel West have scheduled another “poverty tour,” to begin in January 2013.  The name of this tour is the “Poverty Manifesto Lecture Series.” The purpose of this series, which is slated to occur on college campuses, is to press President Obama into convening a White House conference on the eradication of poverty in America.

After receiving this press release, Kelly invited Smiley to be a guest on his radio show to discuss the tour.

In an article article by columnist Betty Pleasant in the Los Angeles Wave newspaper Kelly was quoted saying, “I took issue with his process. We all have a moral imperative to reduce poverty and I accept that. But Tavis has no plan, no program, no would-be law that he’s pushing. His premise does not validate his process and that’s what I was arguing about.  “He’s just trying to trick people into believing he has a process; but he does not and I have the right to say so.”

Boom goes the dynamite!  Score one for Mo’.

During the interview which one could describe as “blistering,” Mo’ reminded Tavis that he has called President Obama ‘a Black corporate plutocrat’ and ‘a Republican Rockefeller in black face,’ among other things he and West have said about the president.”

Apparently Tavis didn’t like the interview.  Several days following the interview Kelly received a letter from Smiley’s lawyers advising him to cease and desist, or in other words, “stop talking bad about me,” on the radio, on your blog and on social media.  (If you listen carefully, you might be able to hear some sniffling).  The letter from the law office also reminded Kelly that he signed a confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement with Smiley when he left his employ in 2010, and if he did not stop, all manner of bad legal things will happen to him.

Mo’Kelly does not appear to be scared.  In fact, he says Smiley is “supersensitive.”

“He can’t stand to be criticized,” Mo’Kelly said. “He’s made some kind of stink about everything I’ve written or said about him.

Kelly’s official response to Smiley’s “lawyer letter” is: “I have a podcast available to everyone to hear and review. There was no privileged or proprietary information divulged and everything discussed on the air was factually accurate and readily available to the public.

Wow.  Smiley has made a very comfortable living criticizing and talking about people.  Now that people are “holding him accountable” and scrutinizing his work, he doesn’t seem to like it.

Game recognizes game.  This dude will be getting rich on the poverty tour.  Go figure.

Najee Ali, Director of Project Islamic HOPE and author of the critically acclaimed book “Raising Hell” has published an open letter to Tavis.  You can read his advice to Tavis by clicking on the link below:


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 new book “25 Things That Really Matter In Life.” 

To learn more about Gary click here.

Mildred Muhammad’s Message to Women Facing Domestic Abuse

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Women's Interests with tags , , , , , , on December 6, 2012 by Gary Johnson

mommie Book Cover

Mildred Muhammad appeared on the Katie Couric TV show today.  Mildred, the DC Sniper’s ex-wife, shared a message to those who are in an abusive relationship.  Click here to watch Mildred’s deliver her message or click on the following link:

After several years of silence, Mildred decided to speak openly about her day-to-day experiences as a survivor of domestic violence and how it affected her three children.  She’s also dedicated much of her life to helping others cope with domestic violence and abuse.

Click here to learn more about Mildred and her foundation “After The Trauma.”

Study: By Kindergarten 1 in 4 Black Boys Believes He Will Fail in School

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Guest Columnists with tags , , , , on December 6, 2012 by Gary Johnson

The statistics as they relate to black boys aren’t yet on par with excellence, but what seems most troubling now isn’t the circumstance which impact black boys, but what these boys believe about themselves.

A new report says, due to poverty and childhood trauma,  by kindergarten, 1 in 4 black boys believes he will fail in school. This sets the stage for a self-fulfilling prophecy, which includes high drop out rates and low test scores, according to a California  Assembly inquiry on the status of boys and men of color

The study also found that boys are increasingly adding to the economic budget crisis in California. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the conclusions were reached based on several community hearings, expert testimony and the input of hundreds of other stakeholders over 18 months.

The final report, set to be issued this week, will include a series of recommendations on how to address these issues.

Click here to read the entire article courtesy Your Black World Today.

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