Archive for July, 2014

Jody Watley Releases New Album: CD Sells Out In Less Than One Week

Posted in Black Interests, Music, Music and Video Releases, Women's Interests with tags , , , on July 28, 2014 by Gary Johnson

Jody Watley-Paradise

Los Angeles, CA – July 28, 2014: Established as one of the most prominent visionaries of her era, whose influence remains a key touchstone in contemporary pop music, Grammy Award winner, Jody Watley returns with her glamorous and funky new album, PARADISE. As executive producer at the helm of her own label, Avitone, Watley continues to convey her commitment as a savvy entrepreneur. Proving that quality rules over quantity, pre-orders for the 6 track album sold out in less than one week. PARDISE is available world-wide on iTunes, Amazon and other digital music outlets. A limited edition CD which was encouraged by her devoted fans, that includes the bonus track Everlasting, is available exclusively on Jody Watley’s online boutique (

The singer, songwriter, producer sighted the lack of attention spans in today’s society which prompted her to take a classic approach in recording PARADISE. She was reminded that many timeless albums were recorded in the 70’s and early 80’s that had as few as 7 songs on an album, and with Isaac Hayes’ ‘Hot Buttered Soul’ having only 4.

“It’s about quality, not quantity,” says Jody. “I think that albums with a lot of songs are out of touch with the times we live in and today’s record buyer – many artists and companies are holding on to outdated practices. Perhaps I’ll be the first to encourage other artists to make shorter albums, with better songs and a greater music impact.”


Inspired by her well documented roots in disco, soul, pop, dance and electronica music, Watley, who has mastered a career in keeping dance and R&B music relevant to today, continues her legacy on PARADISE. Jody continues to put genuine artistry and quality into everything she does, making each musical moment into a quality experience. The album incorporates live instruments meshed with the EDM direction she’s successfully delivered for more than a decade.

Former Prince NPG guitarist Levi Seacer plays on the thumper The Dawn, with live strings courtesy of the critically acclaimed Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and avant-garde dance jazz impresario, Mark DeClive-Lowe (The Dawn, Paradise, Tonight’s The Night). Other producers featured on PARADISE include Italy’s Luminodisco (Dancer), France’s Count de Money (Nightlife) and the U.K.’s hot producers, Soulpersona (Sanctuary).

Paradise Track Listing
The Dawn
Tonight’s The Night

*Everlasting – bonus track available exclusively on limited edition CD.

To Connect With Jody Watley

The Hit Single “NIGHTLIFE” – ‘It’s In The Music!”

Official Artist Site / Style Blog:

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BUSINESS EXCHANGE: Did Mississippi’s Blacks Get Paid?

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Politics, Racism with tags , , , , on July 19, 2014 by Gary Johnson

Thad Cochran

Are you one of those political yahoos claiming victory for your cause after Mississippi Black voters helped Sen. Thad Cochran survive an intense Republican primary runoff against insurgent conservative challenger Chris McDaniel? Before you count that “Magnolia State” chicanery as a political victory, pause and consider the words of Malcolm X: “Oh, I say it again, you’ve been had. You’ve been took. You’ve been hoodwinked. Bamboozled. Led astray. Run amok.”

Some got played in the Mississippi Republican primary runoff and some got paid. Cochran had a huge fundraising advantage so when the June 3 primary election was thrown into a runoff, the Cochran campaign began looking into ways to expand the electorate. That meant targeting and courting Mississippi’s overwhelmingly Democratic African-American population. The campaign deployed workers throughout the state’s Delta region, which has a concentrated Black population, and hired Black Democratic operatives to coordinate the ground game. The ploy worked: turnout in the Delta increased nearly 40 percent. Black voters helped Cochran win in the Republican Senate primary runoff by a 51 percent to 49 percent margin.

Mississippi Blacks got out of their lane due to a guy named “Barbour.” Not “Haley” Barbour, the legend among Republican voters. Haley Barbour is the former governor of Mississippi and former chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC). Instead, it was Haley’s nephew, Henry Barbour who helped the Thad Cochran campaign in the most divisive, hateful, and probably illegal GOP nomination campaigns in history.

Henry Barbour lives in Yazoo City and heads up the Capitol Resources lobbying operative in seven Southern states and Washington, D.C. Henry Barbour’s campaign tactics successfully smeared Chris McDaniel and the Tea Party. The Barbour-backed super PAC Mississippi Conservatives spent $2.23 million to support Cochran and attack McDaniel. It was Henry Barbour’s PAC that paid for phone calls that described candidate McDaniel as “a racist.” He solicited a number of Black Democrats to infiltrate the Republican Party primary runoff and save Cochran’s Senate seat. It’s widely reported that Henry Barbour handed out “walking around money” throughout heavily-Black Democratic precincts in Mississippi. His brand of “Black outreach” worked. Black voters helped Cochran raise his vote total by more than 38,000, from the 318,904 voters on June 3rd to the 375,000 voters on runoff day.

The daydream Black Mississippi voters created amounted to a mere 15 minutes of fame. However, that fame has quickly turned into infamy. The runoff, wrought with treachery, malfeasance and subterfuge should humiliate any clear-headed Democratic operative.

One of the keys to the Black turnout for Cochran turned out to be Atlanta-based political strategist, Mitzi Bickers. Bickers is pastor of Atlanta’s Emmanuel Baptist Church and a former president of the Atlanta school board. Organizations affiliated with Bickers, The Bickers Group and Pirouette Company, received $44,000 for get-out-the-vote “phone services.” Bishop Ronnie Crudup, Sr. was also instrumental in getting Black Democrats to vote in the Republican runoff. Senior pastor of Jackson’s New Horizon Church, Crudup’s All Citizens for Mississippi PAC spent “about $20,000” in media targeting Blacks. Alice Tisdale, publisher of the Jackson Advocate newspaper, said in a report that appeared in Richard Prince’s “Journal-isms” that the PAC spent $2,600 with her publication. The Advocate endorsed Cochran in the June 3 primary and again for the runoff. The Mississippi Link published an ad on behalf of Crudup’s PAC in late May.

Though the campaign provided the paradigm for successful outreach to Blacks, it proved to be deceptive. It now appears that thousands of Democratic voters cast ballots in both the Democratic primary and the Republican Senate runoff elections. Those votes are illegal. And they likely made the difference in the outcome of the election. Allegations of voter fraud abound and need to be investigated. All parties found to be involved in criminal conduct should be prosecuted.

While all this political trickery was taking place, Mississippi remains mired at the bottom of virtually every measure of economic well-being with the highest rate of poverty and the lowest median household income of all 50 states.

William ReedWilliam Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via the

Who Are Your Top 5 Live Musical Performers?

Posted in African Americans, Black Interests, Music with tags , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2014 by Gary Johnson

Concert Shot

Answer:  “James Brown was the greatest live performer I’ve ever seen, closely followed by Prince.  My next three are Earth, Wind & Fire, The Jackson 5 and Brian Culbertson — in that order.  Period, paragraph, end of sentence.”

Gary Johnson

Founder & Publisher, Black Men In


James Brown Knees

The Godfather of Soul


The One and Only Prince


Earth, Wind & Fire

jacksons 2

Michael Jackson reunites with his brothers, The Jackson 5 for the Motown 25 TV Special

Brian Culbertson2

Brian Culbertson

Honorable Mention – Lenny Williams

Lenny Williams2

With this song, Lenny Williams gives one of the most soulful performances ever.

Click here to watch other classic performances by Charlie Wilson, Chanté Moore, Larry Graham, Marcus Miller, etc.

Nothing Essential About Essence

Posted in African Americans, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Women's Interests with tags , on July 18, 2014 by Gary Johnson

Essence Logo

By Raynard Jackson
NNPA Columnist

I wrote a column three years ago titled, “Black Women No Longer Have Their Essence.” My point was that Essence, the pre-eminent magazine for Black women, had become irrelevant and an embarrassment to the Black community.  Unfortunately, Essence has continued its decent into irrelevancy.

For 20 years, Essence has sponsored an annual party during the July 4th holiday known as the Essence Music Festival (EMF). According to their website, the EMF, “known as the party with a purpose, is an annual music festival which started in 1995 as a one-time event to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Essence, a magazine aimed primarily towards African-American women. It is the largest event celebrating African-American culture and music in the United States.”

According to media accounts, “…In 2008, for the first time since its 1995 inception, the festival was not produced by the original producer team. Instead, Essence Communications, owner of the festival and the Essence magazine, contracted Rehage Entertainment Inc. A new main stage facelift was designed by production designer Stefan Beese.” Essence Communications and Essence Magazine are no longer Black-owned, they are owned by Time Inc.

Maybe this would explain why EMF contracted with Rehage Entertainment Inc. and Stefan Beese to produce the event and to build a new stage. They couldn’t find a Black firm capable of taking on these contracts? If they need some referrals, I would be glad to send them a list of Black people who could do the job, if they are truly interested in the “empowerment” of the Black community as they claim.

There was also no diversity in the programming. Of their 86 “empowerment” speakers during their various daytime panels, all were media personalities, journalist, or liberal politicians. There were maybe three people who one could argue were businessmen, but that’s a stretch. As far as I can tell, there were no Republicans invited to participate, as though Essence has no Black female Republican readers?

One panel was about the hair texture of Jay Z and Beyoncé’s baby. Yes, you heard me right; Essence had a whole panel to discuss a child’s nappy hair. One news account said, “Essence Magazine recently hosted an Empowerment Beauty of Confidence panel to comment on the backlash [over the child’s hair]. Essence asked Cynthia Bailey, Kim Kimble, Chenoa Maxwell, Tomiko Frasier Hines, Soledad O’Brien and Wendy Raquel Robinson to comment on the backlash.”

There were no empowerment panels on the women who work in the White House for Obama being paid less than their male counterparts; there were no empowerment panels on why Obama never interviewed a Black female lawyer for the two Supreme Court nominations he made to the Court; there were no empowerment panels on the number of Black kids languishing in the foster care system while Obama wants to throw billions of dollars to support children coming to this country illegally.

In essence, Essence’s continued march towards irrelevancy has nothing to do with them being White-owned. They were well down that road before they were sold. One could make the argument that the articles in Essence have become less substantive after Time Inc. assumed leadership, not that substance was ever their hallmark.

How can you talk about “empowerment” without talking about Lynn Hutchings, a State Representative in the Wyoming legislature? She is the first Black female Republican to serve in the state’s history. How can you talk about “empowerment” without talking about J’Tia Taylor, who has a Ph.D in nuclear engineering from the University of Illinois; she started college at the age of 15. How can you talk about “empowerment” without talking about Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins, the State Department’s Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs? Ambassador Jenkins has a Ph.D. in international relations from the University of Virginia, an LL.M. in international and comparative law from the Georgetown University Law Center, an M.P.A. from the State University of New York at Albany, a J.D. from Albany Law School; and a B.A. from Amherst College. She also attended The Hague Academy for International Law.

You have such accomplished women – Democrats and Republicans – yet Essence is talking about the texture of a child’s hair.
Raynard Jackson 2013 Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a Washington, D.C.-based public relations/government affairs firm. He can be reached through his Web site, You can also follow him on Twitter @raynard1223.


Posted in Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America with tags on July 18, 2014 by Gary Johnson


“Once a man understands his place in God, and how powerful a weapon prayer TRULY is; it makes it easier to stand against howling feminists, scowling sodomites, prowling criminals, ambushing reporters and feminized politicians. The God-fearing man KNOWS who he is, to whom he belongs, and his role as protector, provider, priest and king.”

The last great revival in American history took place because one man–Jeremiah C. Lamphier–believed the Bible, believed God, and started praying. Lamphier didn’t ask anyone’s permission; he wasn’t a preacher, or deacon in a local church. He was just a layman who–somewhere between 1857-58 looked at social conditions, did the work of an evangelist, and humbled himself before God.
He performed his Christian duty in reaching out to others in the name of Jesus Christ.

If any a man needed prayer, Mr. Lamphier did. He was a single, middle-aged businessman without wife or family. Yet, he was a committed Christian, ministering to others in New York City’s Hells Kitchen district–a rough part of the city even back in the 1850s. The time came when the work began to overwhelm him, and he sought to get a prayer room to refresh himself. He was granted a room at the North Reformed Dutch Church, located in the city’s financial district. History tells us that Mr. Lamphier took time out to strengthen his connection to God as he proclaimed Christ to others.

An interesting thing happened. As he prayed, others arrived to stretch their souls before the Lord. Sure, there was some trial and error. Soon, this man had six more men attend his first prayer meeting venture. From that initial Noon Day Prayer Meeting grew an awakening in America that lasted from just before the Civil War, well into the early years of the 1900s. It reached across the country, across color lines, across oceans and continents. Postcards, letters and telegrams soon came pouring in to the prayer meeting, asking for the prayers of the men (and later women) involved, giving praise reports of what soul-stirring events took place thanks to the prayers of many, and how the event had blessed people from one end of the earth to the next. Only eternity will reveal how many churches were awakened; preachers were revived, laymen did their jobs, and marriages and homes were restored.

Two great books–among others–covered this event in detail: “The New York City Noon Prayer Meeting.” By Talbot W. Chambers, and “The Power of Prayer: The New York Revival of 1858.” By Samuel Prime.
One man–on his knees before God–made a difference!

Right about now, I would expect a few men in the audience to start reaching for the smelling salts, because out ‘modern age’ has not done very much to honor men, let alone fathers. God created man FIRST, and woman SECOND. He had a firm plan in mind with his order of creation. Thus, my brother, once you get down to the bottom line, if you ARE a man, it’s because of providence…not because of an accident.
A few years back, I happened across a great piece on about the origin and history of Father’s Day in the USA. The observance was started by Sonora Smart Dodd. Mrs. Dodd was attending church in 1909 and heard a Mother’s Day sermon being preached. Thinking back upon her own upbringing, she reflected upon how her father, Henry Jackson Smart, raised her by himself following the death of her mother. Sonora remembered the sacrifices her father made, the love he showed her and she wanted to pay tribute to him. Since her father was born in June, Sonora managed to hold the first Father’s Day observance in Spokane, Washington on the third Sunday in June, 1910. A few years later, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day–nationally–in 1924.

IF we won’t pray for ourselves, or one another, who will?
Bringing together (a) the fact that the church has served in times past as the launching platform for honorable efforts to showcase men and manhood, coupled with (b) a man’s need for connection to His God by prayer, it seems only natural that the church be called upon again to usher in a renewed effort to bring men back to their rightful place at the forefront of the home and society with the launching of an International Day of Prayer for Men.

There is still a need for men to pray in our modern era. Not only to pray FOR one another, but to pray WITH one another. The challenge? Changing the mindset that men should and must keep silent about their spiritual needs, in the wake of a global culture that views men as little more than ‘breath and britches’.
Nothing could be further from the truth.

I am eternally grateful for my Pastor, Brian K. Shobe, and one of our Senior Deacons, Aaron McGriff, for their asking me to serve as Minister over one of our prayer bands for a season. It awakened in me a desire to ‘step up’ my OWN prayer life, and I bring some of these fruits of blessing to paper in this written work.

In the eastern, oriental culture, men are firmly at the helm of their homes, families, and communities with little question–but increasing challenge. In the western, industrialized (and feminized) culture, men are NOT regarded as being capable of these things, but rather women are held to be ‘more capable’ of replacing men in leadership positions across the board. Especially in the vein of religion. The western ‘view’ continues to ‘mission creep’ its way into eastern culture as a byproduct of expanding international markets, and increased infusions of western cash to make improvements to the infrastructures of foreign lands. Couple this with the expansion of social media and modern electronics, add to it the continuous exporting of western values via entertainment fare and you see an increasing disrespect for men in general, and men of color in particular.

Call me sentimental, but I still remember the effort of the Promise Keepers organization back in the 1990s here in the United States. I visited and covered a few of those events, got to hear REAL Christian men addressing crowds of men about the issues of life and eternal life through Jesus Christ, as well as hearing men singing praises to God, in some places 65,000 voices strong. This was a ‘touch’ of a spiritual awakening. However, it didn’t last long, as (a) the leadership of the organization bowed to external pressure to ‘include’ women into the mix, and (b) there was moral corruption at the top, thus ruining the impact of this international ministry. While the ministry may have been damaged, the ideal of uniting men to God is still in play.

Thank God we have another chance to develop this ‘men’s only’ mission…before the hands of God’s clock reaches midnight and signals the end of all things.

When men turn their backs upon God, the KJV Bible is full of examples of what God does in order to cause men to repent and seek Him out. In the Book of Joshua, for example, the infant nation of Israel was starting to move into the promised land. They had soundly defeated Jericho–but got their clocks cleaned at Ai. Why? Because a man by the name of Achan disobeyed God, saw the wealth of Jericho, and decided to ‘help himself’ to some of the material goods that were marked OFF LIMITS by God. Joshua, after the defeat at Ai, went to the Lord IN PRAYER to find out why the armies of the Lord were defeated. The answer came back: There was SIN in the CAMP.
The actions of ONE man managed to halt the progress of ONE nation.

Achan was given every opportunity to repent and confess his sin…but he chose to keep it hidden. Joshua revealed Achan’s theft of God’s property before the entire people. The end result? Achan, his wife, his children, and all of his livestock and property were taken to a designated place. ALL the people stoned them Achan and his family, piled the bodies and goods up and burned them with fire. The Book of Joshua records this tragic scene. There is ALWAYS a high cost associated with low living…and Achan found out that God said what He meant, and meant what He said.

I realize that there may be a few men that think this is all ‘Sunday School’ stuff and may not have ‘time’ for it. I also realize that there are other men who may be reading this who may think that it’s alright for their wives to supervise the church going in their households, and leave the breadwinning to them. Still other men may be behind prison walls, or in a substance abuse shelter, or on the street corner, thinking that they are disqualified because they have failed.

My friend, prayer WILL help turn your situation around, BUT YOU need to deal with the sin in YOUR OWN camp…before it takes you to the grave.

Many men around the world are leading defeated lives, attributable to either one or a host of sins that have not been dealt with in their lives. IF men are going to be all they can be for their homes and families, we NEED to take care of first things first and check our relationship with God. One may find that if they line up with God, there will be a HOST of blessings that He has had waiting for them. The best way for a man to find the strength to stand is directly proportionate to his ability to humble himself before God.

If I may be so bold, I make no apologies for being a Christian. I became one later in life, after having my fill of ‘doing it my way’. Sure, it cost me a few things. Yes, I’ve lost some stuff. Yes, there ARE people who don’t believe the changes in me. But I got back more than what I lost, because of the mercies of God.

And, it started by my seeking Him through prayer at an old church altar.

During World War II, a generation of Black men suffered a host of indignities in order to secure their place in military history, put the liars, catcallers and race-baters to shame and clear the way for a desegregated armed forces. In short, they ‘held the rope’ of courage and sacrifice in order for the next generation of Black men to cross the battlefield with their heads up, and their banners held high. One generation of men took the risks, suffered, sacrificed, and stood their ground–sometimes soaked with their own blood–so that the next generation of men could enter the leadership ranks and rise to the top.

Prayer–real prayer–gives a man a clear view of God’s purpose for his life, instills him with courage, fires his backbone, and gives him the strength to stand in the storms of criticism, protest, and hypocrisy. A man will find the strength he never knew he had to ‘hold the rope’ for not only the men in his family, but the men coming up behind him in his society.

I realize that there will be some who may ‘dismiss’ the need for a laying of a spiritual foundation in the men of our day. However, if men would start such a journey by reading the Word of God, they will see much of themselves within its covers.

Why has their been a ‘downplaying’ of men discovering the trueness of God BY prayer? Could it be that the fearful and double-dealing secretly know that they can’t stop a praying man? Prayer is that ‘rope’ that secures a proper connection to our Lord. And, once a man has it and nurtures the prayer habit, it is hard to stop his forward and upward progress, come what may.

To be honest, many of us are of the ‘smartphone’ mindset–assuming an ‘app’ need be pushed, and a problem will be instantly solved. That may work for getting a bank balance, a weather forecast, or a hotel reservation…but it has nothing to do with REAL prayer. To put it simply, if one wants something from God, they must be connected to Him through His son, Jesus Christ and strengthen that connection with prayer.
Let me provide an example. In the Book of Acts, Chapter 19, the Apostle Paul is ministering under the power of God. If you are familiar with Paul, he once was named Saul, and was the top enemy of the infant church on behalf of the Pharisees and the Sanhedrin Council. Saul was so good at his job, that he managed to scare the church world…but he didn’t scare Jesus Christ. Along the Damascus road, the crusader against the church was brought to his knees, accepted Christ, became a champion FOR the church, the agenda of God and a true prayer warrior. In Acts 19, Paul was ‘on the job’ for the cause of Christ, which involved healing the sick, and other special miracles that were wrought from his hands. As the passage goes, certain sons of a Jew named Sceva saw what Paul had accomplished and sought to duplicate what they had witnessed…without taking the time to secure themselves into Jesus Christ. These men tried to take on a demon-possessed man under the name of Christ, without being secured IN Christ. The end results were destructive, to say the least. The demon in the possessed man awakened, looked at the pretenders, and beat them bloody. For good measure, these seven men were sent packing, butt naked. Amen.
Here are some quick lessons on prayer:

1. Don’t pray to God IF you are not connected to God. As a car battery won’t start a car without being connected to the proper electronic devices, prayer without being connected to God will give one a good show for those around them…but there is always TRUE evil that knows who is for real, and who isn’t. Make your connection sure. The Gospel of John, Chapter 3 and the Book of Romans, Chapters 3 and 6-10 are great places to start to check your connection.

2. The ONLY connection to God is through Jesus Christ. I realize that there are men who will take me to task for this, but, as a Christian myself, I have to stand with the God I serve and the Bible He provided. The mark of a man is that when he puts his foot down regarding an issue, his foot does not move. My stance on the best version of the Bible is the KJV. My foot will not move. The only way to God is through the doorway marked Jesus Christ. On this, my foot will not move. We are living in an age where real men are needed. Real men can only be raised up by real prayer, and there is a FIRM need for ‘prayers’ and not ‘players’. Amen?

3. Be prepared to humble yourself before God in prayer. The Bible is God’s ‘Talking’ Book. If you want to see how a particular thing is done in the scriptures, you have to both READ and HEED its contents. The Bible will talk TO a man, in direct proportion as to how that man humbles himself before God.

A man who is connected to God by Jesus Christ will have three enemies who desperately attempt to keep him away from his prayer duty. The first enemy is our world system (better known as society-at-large). The second enemy is ourselves, the man-in-the-mirror, so to speak. The third enemy is Satan, otherwise known as the devil. Of the three, Satan is the most sinister, because he has blinded many in our day to doubt that he is real. His job description is a simple one: keep men from praying to God by any means necessary. Satan knows that IF he can keep man apart from God, man will never truly know the full love of God, nor the destiny and blessings He has in store for him on earth and in eternity. Keep a man from communicating with God through prayer, and you can push him into any evil desire available.
Prayer is more than a ‘spiritual exercise’. It is a hallowed means of direct communication with the throne of Grace. It is to the spiritual man what air is in the lungs of a physical man. One preacher held prayer to be so essential to living this life, that he developed the following stanza:

Little prayer; little power.
Much prayer; much power.
More prayer; more power!

I would have to honestly say that many men in my generation (I am over 50, thank you very much for asking) have missed out on God’s best–even IN the church–because of one tiny word: Sin. What IS Sin? It is the missing the mark of God, by God’s definition. What is a Sinner? A man who is without God, by God’s definition.

Whether by word, deed, action, non-action or interaction, we come up short. Instead of us confessing our sins, men have gotten ‘cute’ and have taken to ‘covering up’ their sins by changing their vocabulary, and relying upon God’s grace and mercy to ‘wink’ at their transgressions. It doesn’t fool Him…nor His true servants.

What do I mean by changing vocabulary? Simple. Once upon a time, ‘an affair’ was called what God called it: Adultery. One who likes to snort cocaine, shoot heroin or smoke marijuana is now called a ‘substance abuser’ instead of a ‘drug addict’. One who likes to watch an endless parade of sports on TV or in person is now called ‘a dedicated fan’ instead of an idol worshipper. I needn’t go any further. You catch my drift. Changing the name of what one would call being kicked by a mule does NOT change the fact that a kick DID take place. But wait, there’s more. Many men have gotten so sophisticated about their sin(s) that they have lobbied for changes in the law to help expedite the ‘healing’ of their sinful activities. ‘Sodomites’ in many places, are rapidly gaining the right to marry. ‘Pornographers’ are merely exercising their first amendment rights as they ‘ply’ their ‘wares’ with men, women, boys AND girls.

When one becomes a man, the biblical admonition is made clear by Paul. The time comes to put away childish things. No longer can men afford to be intoxicated by sports, or held to the sidelines by the whines of the social engineers, feminists and environmentalists. This doesn’t mean that the attacks will stop, nor will the temptations cease. This doesn’t mean that a firm connection to God won’t cost you your marriage, your home, or your children. Being secured in Christ and establishing a real prayer life does not guarantee that all will be sunshine and rosy days. It just means that more men will have to firm up their backbones and decide NOT to participate in activity that is detrimental to us. Prayer gives one clarity of vision to spot the dangerous. Furthermore, with the strengthening of attacks on ALL men, racism is going to have to be shown the door. There is going to have to be a renewal of supporting our fellow man and helping him to get to higher ground, regardless of his color, social position or economic level.

It starts with prayer; REAL prayer.

The first way in which we can mark an International Day of Prayer for Men is to have the appropriate Scripture verse: “We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work thou didst in their days, in the times of old (Psalm 44:1, KJV).” It sets the tone for the day, and gives men the courage to forsake their sins, to repent and seek the face of God.

He will draw near to us, when we draw near to Him.

Many men have heard of the triumphs and failures of David. Other men have heard about the trials of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego as they faced off against the wicked king Nebuchadnezzar, risking death rather than bowing to his pagan god. Still other men have heard of Jesus’ parables of the Prodigal Son or His miracles in feeding the 5,000. Such a day of prayer will give men an opportunity–perhaps the first one in years–to find their way back to God. As the old folks used to say: “God didn’t move away from us; we moved away from Him.”
What day would be good for such powerful prayer? To be truly thankful for such a day, the third Sunday in November would be an ideal ‘marking place’. It comes after Veteran’s Day, and just before Thanksgiving, here in the states. We–as men–need to be thankful for one another. November is the perfect month for the cultivation of such thankfulness.

Where should we meet? Well, there is no better place to meet than in God’s house–one’s local church. You see, many churches have been ‘programmed’ to see men either at Christmas time or Easter. Still other churches have been hoodwinked into believing that women can serve in the role of Pastor over them. A woman who dares to put on pastoral robes is a danger to the church and herself. Man did not get caught in the transgression; woman did! When a church allows a woman to take a role meant for a man, it makes a mockery of God and sets that church on a collision course with destruction.

The only way to clean God’s house is through obedience, prayer and consistency. The Bible holds: “Judgment MUST begin at the House of God.”

Man has his place; woman has her place. Let us not confuse the two. If I may use a sports phrase, men and women are on the same team in God’s house, but are called to different positions. The positions are determined ONLY by God through His Word.

God’s house IS above all things–a House of Prayer. Secret prayer at home, followed by public presence, worship and prayer at one’s church will do wonders for your life. (I’m sure that if you don’t have a church of your own, prayer can be made in advance of this date for the Lord’s leadership to an upright church!)

Why should men go to church? As one story goes, an old man continued to attend church, bring his Bible, and support his Pastor, rain or shine. The old man was hard-of-hearing, could barely see, and walked with the aid of a big cane. A young man watched this old man in his faithfulness, and asked him: “Old man, why do you continue to come to church, Sunday after Sunday, and support her?” Without batting an eye, the old man replied: “I want to let the Devil know who’s side I’m on!”

Brothers, whose side are YOU on? Surely, NOT the side of those oppressing men in our current day! IF you are on the wrong side, take heart! God does allow U-turns. If He can do it for others, He can take that limp or switch out your hip, and make you a MAN after His own heart!

As a part of this day, I would encourage that men should have a moment of silence for those men in their lives who have ‘cleared the way’ for them. The ‘rope holders’ of our past. Fathers, Grandfathers, Great-Grandfathers, Uncles, Coaches, Teachers…etc. A moment of silence to honor the passing of these men off the scene who have had great impact upon our lives. We didn’t get here by ourselves. Another man from our past helped to shape us into the men we are today…and this would be a great day to remember them…the third Sunday in November.

They held the rope for us. We need to do likewise for the men coming up.
This is our time to shine, and not to whine. Let us get together and storm the gates of heaven with our prayers. As the prayers go up; the blessings DO come down!

Here’s to an AWESOME first annual International Day of Prayer for Men! One man CAN STILL make a difference!

M. G. Ramey is a Minister, Columnist and Book Reviewer who lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is a contributor to and supporter of IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD MAGAZINE, as well as one of the behind-the-scene tacticians for the International Day of Prayer for Men! © 2014, M. G. Ramey/Barnstorm Communications. Use permitted to IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD MAGAZINE.

“If It Is to Be …”: A Winning Attitude

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Men with tags , , on July 18, 2014 by Gary Johnson


By William Reed

For more than 180 years Black publishers have been the most visible leaders and advocates for our communities. Often summarily dismissed in contemporary American culture, the Black Press has played a leading role in heralding Blacks’ history and fueling the momentum of our culture, economics and politics. The truth should be known that throughout history America’s Black Press has been critical to African-Americans’ education, information and progress. But, in reality few Black Millennials know the Black Press as their most creditable information medium. This generation of Blacks needs to recognize and honor Black newspaper publishers that have served as the pillars of enterprise and information in their communities.

Today’s Blacks only know the mainstream publications that have no interest in our race or its issues. The history of the Urban League, NAACP, and integration of the military and civil rights movement was made with Black newspapers being mediums for these topics. During the 20th century Black newspaper publishers distinguished themselves and their newspapers as the primary voices for, and about, African Americans. One such publisher and community leader was Calvin W. Rolark, founder of the Washington Informer newspaper in the nation’s capital and the United Black Fund Inc. (UBF). Rolark started the Washington Informer newspaper in October 1964 and used its power and reach to establish one of the nation’s largest Black charitable fundraising organizations. At its inception, UBF was the largest Black-oriented charity organization in the nation. At that time, UBF was a $17 million-a-year United Way operation providing for more than 150 inner-city Washington social service projects. In 1969, Rolark was named, “Citizen of the Year,” by the District of Columbia Federation of Civic Associations.

Throughout history, Black publishers have been partners with their communities’ progress. “If it is to be, it’s up to me” is the way Rolark started his presentations to the public. Rolark made this plea for “Black self-reliance” to help his community’s people develop the attitude of winners. Though he gained success as a publisher, it’s said that formation of the UBF was Rolark’s seminal lifetime achievement. Beginning in 1969, Rolark and his wife, Wilhelmina, “worked to help people help themselves” through UBF Inc. Their historic legal and civil battle to open doors to charity fundraising campaigns yielded their agencies a revenue stream to the tone of millions of dollars a year. UBF, whose motto is “meeting unmet needs” is a model of organized community-based efforts to improve the lives of Blacks. UBF works with more than 100 member agencies across the city. Under leadership from representatives directly from the community, UBF implements family focused initiatives that provide parents with tools for raising children that encourages neighborhood education and recreation activity to guide and direct youth, and promote community-based problem solving. Under Barry Lenoir, UBF continues work required for Black youth to succeed. And, for Black families to gather the resources required for living and not merely existing. In the 1980s and 90s, Rolark worked to end violence, as he promoted respect and cooperation among African-American Washingtonians.


As the Washington Informer celebrates its golden anniversary, executives in the publication say they continue Rolark’s mission “to highlight positive images of African Americans in the nation’s capital.” Marketing manager Ron Burke says, “we strive to educate, empower and inform,” through print, the web, weekly email newsletters, and TV shows. The Rolark Initiative “Washington Informer Charities” sponsors an annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Parade and Freedom Walk and the City-Wide Spelling Bee. In honor of African American History Month, Washington Informer Charities conducts a daylong African-American Heritage Tour.

Across the nation’s Black communities’ second-and-third generation Black publishers are “transitioning” to media products that “address issues affecting all races and nationalities.” Washington Informer Publisher Denise Rolark Barnes said, “we still focus on the Black community, but we’re not exclusive to that community.”

There are many miles to go and issues to address before America is a “fair and just society.” Toward that journey, the Black Press can be counted on “to voice our true plight.”

William Reed William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via the

Bryson Bernard: The Man Behind The “Cupid Shuffle” and CuRobiks

Posted in Black America, Black Men, Black Men In America, Music with tags , , on July 14, 2014 by Gary Johnson


In 2007, Bryson “Cupid” Bernard shuffled his way into the hearts of millions with the up-tempo party song “Cupid Shuffle,” which also inspired the popular dance craze of the same name. From appearances on nationally syndicated TV and radio talk shows such as Dr. Oz, Steve Harvey and Tom Joyner to breaking the Guinness Book of World Records in 2008 for the largest line dance assembled with over 17k people, Cupid has virtually reshaped dance music and created an entirely new genre.

Cupid Shuffle

When the Lafayette, LA native composed “Cupid Shuffle” he had no idea that the song or he would turn into a global entertainment phenomenon taking his talents to distant lands like Dubai and Germany. “It still amazes me that my music has resonated with so many different kinds of people,” says Cupid. “Music is truly a universal language because it unites individuals of different ages, cultures, backgrounds and beliefs with a single purpose of having a good time, at least that’s my goal. I want to lifts spirits and change the way people feel when they hear a Cupid record.” Given the culturally rich melting pot environment Cupid was raised in, his sound is Blues-influenced, Rock-influenced, Soul-influenced, Gospel-influenced and Hip-Hop-influenced. It’s no wonder his brand is able to effortlessly transcend racial and generational boundaries.

Cupid will launch into a new realm of fame with the release of “Go Head Baby,” his new single produced by Atlanta-based beat maker Mr. Collipark (Soulja Boy, Ying Yang Twins). The self-proclaimed “King of the Dance Party” delivers a masterful follow-up to “Cupid Shuffle” that also comes with its own choreography. “I wanted to make another line dance record but wanted to pay homage to my Louisiana roots. First of all, we say ‘baby’ completely different from everybody else. We also say ‘go head baby’ to encourage people, especially the ladies. So this is another feel good record that anybody can jam to and have a good time.”Cupid in Plaid

CuRobiks DVD

Cupid is also the driving force behind CuRobiks.  After being on the road supporting his music, Cupid gained a substantial amount of weight, which concerned him, especially being that his home state has one of the highest obesity rates in the country.  As a result, Cupid began using show rehearsal time to workout.  He did that by combining his line dancing routines with light aerobic activity, shedding over 40 pounds with his crew members experiencing similar results. That’s when he birthed the idea for CuRobiks.

CuRobiks is a mixture of calisthenics, aerobics and line dancing led and instructed by award winning – multi platinum recording artist, Cupid. This explosive and addicting fun filled exercise method allows for a great full body workout that incorporate aerobic dance with squats, jumping jacks and pushups. The moves get your heart pumping but are low impact, which makes the program ideal for kids and adults alike.  CuRobiks is offered in LIVE concert and on DVD allowing the experience to happen in the comfort of your own home.

Cupid has a new record out called “Wham Dance” featuring fellow Louisiana native Mystikal along with DJ RO. 

The CuRobiks Fitness Concert Experience is the first workout routine led by a multi-platinum recording artist bringing you high-energy, fun filled aerobic line dancing. This 3 hour event offers a family atmosphere where anyone young or old can dance away calorie after calorie while line-dancing to popular hit records that are suitable for ALL ages. Divided into 3 segments, you will have the opportunity to learn how to line dance, get a great workout, gain health awareness, and meet and greet national recording artist, Cupid.

The son of a preacher, Cupid grew up doing three things: singing, dancing and DJ’ing. He cut his artistic teeth belting out hymns and playing the piano in church even becoming the youth choir director at age 14. And being from central Louisiana, rhythmically moving to a beat was in his DNA. Given the culturally rich melting pot environment he was raised in, Cupid’s sound is Blues-influenced, Rock-influenced, Soul-influenced, Gospel-influenced and Hip-Hop-influenced. It’s no wonder his brand effortlessly transcends racial and generational boundaries.

Cupid attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette on a track scholarship. While he enjoyed competing as an athlete, music became his main focus subsequently leading him to join a 5-man R&B ensemble called Fifth Element. What started out as an attempt to woo the ladies resulted in performances at campus talent shows and local events throughout the state. Although the group disbanded after a short stint, it gave Cupid the confidence boost he needed to pursue a career in entertainment full-time.

The singer enjoyed radio airplay in 2001 with his high-powered first single, “Do Ya Thang,” which appeared on his independent debut album. His sophomore disc, 2005’s The King of Down South R&B gained airplay throughout the southeastern region. Cupid’s career skyrocketed in January 2007 with the release of his third LP, Time For a Change. Just days before dropping the album, he received a call to ink a major label deal with Atlantic Records. His first breakthrough single from that landmark debut, “Cupid Shuffle,” sparked a worldwide frenzy. In the United States alone, the song peaked at #66 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #21 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Since then the song has gone double platinum and gets roughly 6,500 new downloads each week. The success of Cupid’s music had him performing in front of sold out crowds and headlining shows with the likes of Frankie Beverly and Mays, the SOS Band, Stevie Wonder, Charlie Wilson, New Edition, Dougie Fresh, Big Daddy Kane, Zapp, the Whispers and the O’ Jays over a 6-year period. He became the face of McDonalds McCafe national ad campaign where he went on a nationwide tour alongside Eric Roberson and Musiq Soulchild teaching his legion of fans how to do the “McCafe Shuffle.” Cupid’s music can also be heard in the feature films Jumping the Broom, Step it up 2, P.S. I Love You and the Adventures of Nancy Drew, as well as the Dance Central 3 video game.

Realizing with success comes responsibility; Cupid has proven to be a powerful force through his foundation Positopia (Poz-itopia), a land where negativity doesn’t exist. Through his organization, he mentors youth in schools and churches, organizes a yearly toy drive and participates in breast cancer awareness campaigns. Cupid hopes the world continues to fall in love with his movement but more importantly he aims to captivate the heart.

If you’ve been living on another planet and have not heard the Cupid Shuffle click here to listen and download the song as well as other music.

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